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Officials project less revenue at center

Despite losses, the Liacouras Center still upped its contribution to the university.

The popular arena has experienced an uptick in non-Temple related events recently. ( SAM LEVINE / TTN )

The popular arena has experienced an uptick in non-Temple related events recently. ( SAM LEVINE / TTN )

In recent years, the Liacouras Center has seen a rise in revenues, something credited to an increase in non-Temple events held at the arena. But officials said revenues could drop this fiscal year.

“We’re hoping that it has a positive impact…in the area,” Richard Rumer, associate vice president for Business Services, said. “We have seen an increase in the number and type of events.”

The arena has a capacity of approximately 10,200, in comparison with the now-demolished Spectrum in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, which held more than 18,000.

Aside from being the home of Temple athletics, the Liacouras Center has a place in North Philadelphia arts and entertainment. Past events include gospel concerts, comedy tours and Cirque du Soleil. The arena had 274 total events in 2011 and 2012 combined.

Rumer said that hosting non-Temple events year-round, especially during the summer, improves revenue when the neighborhood experiences a decrease in activity.

“We think it will have a tremendous impact…if you get people to come to the area if they’ve never been,” Rumer said.

According to Ken Kaiser, senior vice president of the Office of Management and Budget, the Liacouras Center’s total revenue in 2012 was $3,225,000, compared to $3,143,846 in 2011. In an email, Kaiser referred to a 2013 budget from Rumer, which predicts $2,650,000 for the upcoming fiscal year.

From those earnings, the Liacouras Center saw “about $2,470,000” in revenue just from outside events and “about $2,560,000” in 2012, Rumer said via email.

“We’re not aiming quite as high this year,” Rumer said.

The building’s net income decreased, to $571,279 in 2012 compared with $631,590 in 2011, said Eric Clein, director of finance for the Liacouras Center.

However, the Liacouras Center’s annual contribution to Temple has risen, from $82,106 in 2011, to $161,230 in 2012. Kaiser said the budgeted contribution for 2013 is $188,630.

Both businesses and law enforcement are aware of larger crowds for events at the arena on North Broad Street. For Charlie Leone, deputy director of Campus Safety Services, the Liacouras Center events require outside cooperation.

“We’ll come up with a couple different traffic patterns, try to have the garage empty…we’ll work with the Philadelphia Police [Department] if there’s a large event,” Leone said. “Even with a commencement, we have Philly [police] helping us with traffic outside.”

When concerts or other performances come to the Liacouras Center, Leone said CSS “has learned to do some research on the concert, look for past incidents and look at some previous venues.” The Liacouras Center now implements bag checks and body pat-downs at the door, in addition to bringing in specialized security for large or special events.

“We do a post-mortem of the concert,” Leone said.

Leone said that while CSS “doesn’t want to get police too involved,” the office maintains a steady number of officers for outside events.

“We don’t have to hire more people,” Leone said. “We’ll bring in people to work overtime.”

The Liacouras Center pays CSS for extra patrol, allowing more officers to stay on Main Campus, he said. Although, Leone said the number of officers has remained the same for past two summers. “There’s somewhat less activity [compared to the school year]…we get a lot more activity in the summer than we used to.”

Around the corner, managers of the Draught Horse, a bar and restaurant, use similar tactics to prepare for outside events. Dining Room Manager and Events Coordinator Michelle Ziegenfuss said the restaurant refers to past events to judge what popular menu items and how many staff should be available.

“We definitely do prepare for staffing,” Ziegenfuss said. “It’s more imperative to have enough people.”

Ziegenfuss said the restaurant had not recently seen serious security problems during Liacouras Center events.

“When they had the gospel comedy series, and the Bassnectar concert, we got lots of crazy overflow…It really depends on the crowd,” she said.

Outside events also mean increased revenue for the Draught Horse in the summer, when most students are away from Main Campus. The Liacouras Center does not always formally notify local businesses of a large event, but Ziegenfuss said the restaurant is usually prepared in any case.

“Since we are a kind of staple of the community…we kind of hear about things through the grapevine,” she said.

Amelia Brust can be reached at abrust@temple.edu.

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