Study: $100M XL Center Renovation Would Slash Annual Losses
A new study shows that a $100M renovation to XL Center would "dramatically cut annual operating losses at the 16,000-seat venue but not boost revenues enough to attract private investors to the project," according to a front-page piece by Kenneth Gosselin of the HARTFORD COURANT. The report by Texas-based Conventions, Sports & Leisure Int'l said that the renovation would "likely cut annual losses" of $2-3M to about $500,000. Those losses, "covered by state funds, have been a major sticking point for years in the debate over the future of the 45-year-old arena and whether the state should invest in a major, taxpayer-supported renovation." The study also showed that an "online survey that drew 2,500 responses found that 67% were 'very positive' about funding a renovation." The study also recommended the "addition of 750 'event level' club seats and 250 concourse clubs seats for a total of 1,000; 52 'loge' club seats, 30 small group boxes, each with four seats; and 12 luxury seats." That new seating would be "incorporated into the lower half of the arena." CSL projects revenue from the "more expensive 'premium' seating could outpace by 2.5 times" -- or $3.6M in gross revenue -- "what is now generated by suites and club membership fees." The CSL report comes as Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has proposed the state borrow $27.5M in "both the current fiscal year and the fiscal year beginning July 1 to upgrade the arena" (HARTFORD COURANT, 2/21).