Mid-America Center

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eomaha
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Mid-America Center

Postby eomaha » Sun Nov 14, 2004 11:06 am

I'd like to see both of these facilities have great success.  

Omaha World Herald wrote:Mid-America Center hopes to rival Qwest's draw

COUNCIL BLUFFS - When Cher sang "Believe" during two sold-out performances in the Mid-America Center 18 months ago, Council Bluffs leaders believed they had a winner.

That early success hasn't been matched since the Qwest Center Omaha opened, leaving many Bluffs officials singing the blues.

Now they hope to find money to help the MAC compete.

The Mid-America Center rang up $550,000 in operating losses in the fiscal year that ended June 30, raising total losses since the facility opened in October 2002 to $900,000.

The financial results at the MAC are worse than projected by SMG, the private company that manages the arena and convention center. SMG had forecast a $155,000 loss the first year and a $230,000 profit in the second.

By contrast, the Qwest Center generated a $1.1 million operating profit in its first 10 months after opening in September 2003, beating a projected loss in its first year.

The city-owned MAC got off to a fast start with Cher, Tom Petty, John Mellencamp and Pearl Jam. But that was before Qwest.

When the Qwest Center opened, it was expected to capture the large acts, with the MAC and Omaha's Civic Auditorium competing for those that might draw 4,000 to 8,000 people.

But the MAC has struggled to sign up even the smaller touring acts that might be a better fit for its 8,000-seat arena than for the 17,000-seat Qwest Center.

Bluffs city leaders and MAC officials want back in the competitive game and are requesting $1 million from the casino-funded Iowa West Foundation to finance incentives for concerts and conventions.

"We need these types of funds to keep us on an even playing field with Qwest," said Dick Wade, Council Bluffs city attorney. "We currently don't have those moneys available to us."

Such a fund, he said, could be used to guarantee profits to promoters or to lure conventions with financial incentives.

The Qwest Center, which has an annual subsidy of up to $2 million from the City of Omaha, has been aggressive in landing concerts, and not just mega-shows such as Shania Twain, Prince, Metallica, Simon and Garfunkel, Eric Clapton and Bette Midler.

But early on, even after both the MAC and Qwest had opened, Omaha was thought of as just an "OK market," said Roger Dixon, president of the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, which runs the Qwest Center.

Dixon recalled that when he took the job in Omaha, a prominent concert promoter "flat out told me, 'Have fun, but you won't see me up there.'"

That promoter changed his tune.

During the first half of 2004, 193,259 concert tickets were sold at the Qwest, placing the Omaha arena at No. 7 on Pollstar magazine's list of the top 50 arena venues worldwide. Pollstar is the authoritative concert industry magazine.

One regional promoter recently described the Qwest Center as a venue that "continues to have a great run."

Perhaps most important in changing that perception was a concert last November.

To lure the pop band Matchbox Twenty, expected to sell far fewer tickets than the Qwest Center's capacity, arena managers offered a financial incentive: The Qwest Center would assume all financial risks.

It was an appealing offer. Promoters negotiate the rent for arenas and assume all the costs of promotion, staging and artist guarantees. The Qwest Center was offering to pay any losses if the concert failed to attract enough fans.

For Matchbox Twenty, the arena's top bowl was curtained off, turning the hall into a snug 8,000-person venue. The Omaha stop by Matchbox Twenty proved "one of the few in that tour that made money," Dixon said.

By opening promoters' eyes to the flexibility of the Omaha arena, the event helped put the Qwest Center on their Palm Pilots.

The Qwest Center has continued to pitch a curtained arena for smaller acts - with success - but without offering financial guarantees. For Dolly Parton's Oct. 30 concert, the arena was curtained off to 5,200.

The MAC hasn't had the money to risk being its own promoter, for whom rewards and losses can add up to six figures.

MECA is responsible for booking both the old and new Omaha arenas. Acts that are expected to attract 8,000 or fewer are first offered the Civic, Dixon said, but there have been few takers.

Renting the Qwest Center arena can cost up to $15,000 more than the Civic or the MAC. But rents are negotiated, and the differential can be a minor cost of putting on a show.

The Qwest Center's rental rates are scaled back when a performer needs only half the seats.

"We want to be competitive," Dixon said, "but we don't want to give the place away."

Charlie Schilling, the MAC's general manager, wants a chance to compete.

MAC officials say they have several advantages, including free parking and easy access off Interstate 29.

"The area should be very proud that Omaha's on the map right now," Schilling said. "We just want to figure out how to reap some of that benefit."

A pot of money to help lure acts to the MAC is essential to compete, he said.

"There's no doubt that we want to maximize the venue and put (in) as many entertainment pieces that fit," he said. "This entertainment grant (application) is a big step for us in trying to do just that."

Rascal Flatts, which will play the Qwest Center Thursday, would have been a good fit for the MAC.

A performer might have a number of reasons for preferring the pricier Qwest Center. The most obvious is that if performers want the Omaha market, they prefer to be in Omaha, Dixon said.

The Qwest Center also is state-of-the-art in terms of being able to pull multiple semis in to unload staging and equipment quickly.

Optimistic artists know that if they sell more tickets than expected, the Qwest Center can easily expand seating, Dixon said. Promoters and artists also feel that just holding a concert in Omaha's new arena results in increased ticket sales.

The more concerts, regardless of size, the more potential profits. The arenas make most of their money from their share of the food and beverage sales - $3 to $8 per concertgoer. Ticket income goes to the promoter.

Verne Welch, chairman of the commission overseeing the MAC, said the Council Bluffs venue faces competition in a tight market not only from the Qwest Center but also from other new and expanded regional arenas in Des Moines and Sioux City, Iowa.

"Everybody in the business is really struggling," Welch said. "Omaha was successful because they're new, and they did have the funding."

-----

Comparison
For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004:

Mid-America Center, Council Bluffs
Revenue $4.4 million
Expenses $4.9 million
Operating loss $550,000

Qwest Center Omaha
Revenue $9.613 million
Expenses $8.498 million
Operating profit $1.115 million
Sources: Mid-America Center, Qwest Center


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Postby Swift » Sun Nov 14, 2004 11:42 am

The incentive they should give should be a better arena. Sheesh, just cause it's small doesn't mean it can't be modern and gorgeous. What were they thinking?

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Postby DMRyan » Sun Nov 14, 2004 12:03 pm

Of all the VisionIowa projects that have been awarded, the MAC is the most unnecessary lame duck of them all. At this point, I hope for its success, but am left wondering how that will happen. Maybe the BassPro Shops will help things out. Instead of concerts, maybe they should find their niche like attracting outdoor/RV type-trade shows. It'll always be hard to compete with the Cadillac across the river when you're essentially working with a Ford Taurus.
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Postby projectman » Sun Nov 14, 2004 8:37 pm

I hope the MAC makes it and does find it's niche somewhere. It's an important venue for the for metro entertainment scene. I'm sure it can find ways to attract the smaller acts and home shows, etc.

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Postby omahaopinions.com » Sun Nov 14, 2004 9:11 pm

I honestly don't think it will be successful at all with the Qwest Center just over the river. Too many arenas in such a close proximity.
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Postby eomaha » Sun Nov 14, 2004 10:15 pm

It has nothing to do with proximity... and everything to do with events. I believe Omaha and the surrounding metro is more than large enough to support concurrent events at both of these facilities (along WITH the Civic).

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Postby DTO Luv » Mon Nov 15, 2004 7:19 pm

I remeber when the MAC first opened. It was like what the Q is now. It was the top grossing arena its size. ( It even made more money than Radio City Music Hall in NYC. WHich is someting to be said for the Omaha area.) I don't think the Mac will do well against the Q, but it seems to be doing a heck of alot better than the Civic. I can't remeber anything coming there since the Q opened.
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Postby omahaopinions.com » Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:28 pm

I highly doubt it Jeff.
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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:26 pm

I think it's ridiculous that the MAC people are even TALKING about competing with the Qwest Center. Hello! You're less than HALF the size of Qwest.

They need to be talking about competing with the Civic...while it's still around.

Speaking of that, has there even been ANY events at the Civic lately. You don't even hear anything about it since Qwest opened.
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Postby eomaha » Mon Nov 15, 2004 10:07 pm

Well one could argue that the Qwest is underachieving booking some of these acts which draw significantly less than 10,000.

There is certainly reason to think the MAC shouldn't be able to compete with these events... especially if they're going to tap the gambling revenue pool for incentive funds.

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Postby Ingersoll1978 » Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:11 am

When they compete with Des Moines and Sioux City, I think they are more or less talking about state events and meetings.

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Postby guy4omaha » Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:35 pm

I agree with all of your hopes, Jeff, expressed in the above posts. I would like to think that Omaha can or will soon be able to support both facilities.

If we can, it will say a lot about how far we have come and where we are going as a major urban center. A center that can and does support multiple events. A place that has a lot going on at any one moment. A place that is attractive enough to keep people here, bring new people in and a place that is recognized as such across the nation.

Go Omaha. (the whole friggin metro that is)
My son got a 27 on his ACT. No this score is not as high as what Jeff's son achieved. But one has to remember the paternal gene-pool my son has to overcome. On a PGPAB [Paternal Gene-Pool Adjusted Basis], my son's score is a 37 and Jeff's son's PGPAB ACT score is 19.

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Postby icejammer » Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:19 pm

Looks like things are headed in the right direction at the MAC, now if they could just get more people at Lancer games and get utility costs down:

Mid-America Center cuts losses, tops expectations for fiscal year 2006

The $434,000 deficit is an improvement of $71,569 over last year's losses of $505,487. Facilities like the Mid-America Center often lose money, but are considered a community asset because of the income they attract to surrounding businesses, such as restaurants and hotels.


The best news may be the growing concert business. In the MAC's first four years the arena hosted 44 concerts for an average of 11 per year, a level of activity Schilling called "exceptional."

That pales in comparison to what's now in the works. Since July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, the facility has hosted or announced 10 concerts for the remainder of the calendar year. Schilling said six more shows are confirmed but can't be announced.


In Schilling's breakdown of the MAC's financial statements, he points to $63,000 of the facility's deficit that can be attributed to the arena and $371,000 that can be put on the convention center.


City Attorney Dick Wade said it cost the city about $200,000 when the contract with the Lancers was renegotiated following the team's sale, but that also kept the team in the building.

The financial report suggests that if the Lancers were on their previous contract and if utility costs hadn't jump so much, the building would have turned a slight profit.
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Postby Brad » Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:53 pm

6 more concerts that aren't anounced :lol: :!: :lol: :!: :lol: :!:
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Postby eomaha » Wed Aug 02, 2006 6:05 pm

I trust those are happy laughs... rather than mocking laughs.

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Postby icejammer » Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:25 pm

6 more concerts that aren't announced


Here's 2 of the 6:

MERCYME
with Audio Adrenaline and Phil Wickham


Dashboard Confessional
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Postby icejammer » Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:47 am

Add 2 more, just 2 more to be announced:

Michael W. Smith

and

Panic! At The Disco
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Postby Omaha Cowboy » Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:56 am

Thosr are some great concert 'gets' for the Mid America Center..

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Postby Brad » Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:07 am

Must be marketing towards the Christian bands

Michael W. Smith and MERCYME
with Audio Adrenaline and Phil Wickham
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Postby joeglow » Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:13 am

icejammer wrote:Add 2 more, just 2 more to be announced:

Michael W. Smith

and

Panic! At The Disco


-Wow. I am old. I have NEVER heard of either one of them. I did, however, go to Sesame Street Live. I guess it is probably just a product of watching Noggin and not MTV.

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Postby Uffda » Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:22 am

Michael W. Smith will perform at the Mid-America Center Sunday, December 3 at 7:30 p.m. Smith’s Christmastime tour will feature The Omaha Symphony. Tickets for the show go on sale Saturday, September 30 at 10 a.m.

Michael W. Smith has found success in Christian Contemporary as well as mainstream music.


Joe I have heard of Michael W. Smith. As for Panic at the Disco -- i thought that is when they made last call for beer back in the mid 70s --- darn am I old.

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Postby Swift » Wed Sep 13, 2006 12:51 pm

Panic! At the Disco is a new band that's awesomely terrible. I believe they're from Las Vegas.

They recently got booed and lots of things thrown at them at the Reading Festival in the UK.

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Postby guy4omaha » Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:23 pm

joeglow wrote:
icejammer wrote:Add 2 more, just 2 more to be announced:

Michael W. Smith

and

Panic! At The Disco


-Wow. I am old. I have NEVER heard of either one of them. I did, however, go to Sesame Street Live. I guess it is probably just a product of watching Noggin and not MTV.



Joe, I am older than you and I have heard of Michael W Smith. His career spans more than 20 years. He must have been under your radar. Actually I bet you have heard some of his songs but just didn't know who they were by. The song "Friends" is one of his older ones that has seen play in a lot of different genres. I bet you've heard it.

As far as Panic at the Disco goes though, man I must be old too. I will say that I am old enough to have lived through disco. It was not a good time. An even worse memory. Yikes.
My son got a 27 on his ACT. No this score is not as high as what Jeff's son achieved. But one has to remember the paternal gene-pool my son has to overcome. On a PGPAB [Paternal Gene-Pool Adjusted Basis], my son's score is a 37 and Jeff's son's PGPAB ACT score is 19.

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Postby Coyote » Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:25 pm

Anyone who hasn't heard Friends is either dead or deaf.
Maybe that is just me - who has played and sang it 4 Trillion times.
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Postby icejammer » Fri Sep 29, 2006 3:18 pm

"Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."

--William Jennings Bryan

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Postby DTO Luv » Fri Sep 29, 2006 3:38 pm

I don't know what my grandma was thinking but she got me a Cable Gy shirt that says Right to bare arms. Of course it's sleveless.
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Postby icejammer » Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:56 pm

Looks like things are looking up at the MAC this year...

Mid-America Center business heats up

Schilling said the MAC is tracking more than $213,500 ahead of last year when the venue's operating deficit came in at $434,000, well below the $698,436 that had been budgeted.

"We're projecting ahead of budget," he said. "There's been nice steady growth on both sides of the building."

[/i]
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Postby Brad » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:29 am

Harrah's owner may run Bluffs arena

http://www.omaha.com/article/20111207/N ... uffs-arena

Andrew J. Nelson
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER wrote:
COUNCIL BLUFFS — The company that owns Harrah's Casino may be the next to run the Mid-America Center.

Caesars Entertainment Corp., owner of Harrah's, has submitted a proposal to manage the nine-year-old Council Bluffs arena and convention center beginning July 1, City Attorney Richard Wade told The World-Herald on Tuesday night.

Caesars is one of two companies that submitted a proposal. A task force looking at the future of Mid-America management will ask the Bluffs City Council to vote Monday night to direct city staff to enter into negotiations with Caesars.
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Postby Brad » Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:36 am

Hanafan seeks to minimize losses

http://www.omaha.com/article/20111208/N ... ize-losses

Andrew J. Nelson
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER wrote:
COUNCIL BLUFFS — The convention center and arena in Council Bluffs may be losing money, but, according to general manager Charles Schilling, so are many in his business.

His company projects losses of about $900,000 for fiscal year 2012, Schilling said. But he says the Mid-America Center should be seen as a taxpayer investment that improves the community's quality of life.

"It's like parks and libraries and pools," he said Wednesday. "As a public asset, we provide benefit to the entire community."
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Postby Brad » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:36 pm

Caesars to manage Bluffs arena

http://www.omaha.com/article/20111213/N ... uffs-arena

Tim Rohwer
WORLD-HERALD NEWS SERVICE wrote:
The Council Bluffs City Council followed the recommendation of a five-person committee and on Monday unanimously named Caesars Entertainment Corp. as the new manager for the city's Mid-America Center.

"We're excited," said Caesars spokeswoman Missy Hardersen. "We have a lot of buying power, a lot of contacts to bring in more events."
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Postby Omaha_Gabe » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:16 am

Changes at Mid-America could go over $7M



New carpeting in the Mid-America Center Convention Center and Arena, an upgrade in computer uses and new outdoor signage and logo are just a few improvements recommended at the MAC next year by the Council Bluffs Arena and Convention Center.




Over the course of the next five years, other improvements would include resurfacing the parking lot, the installation of an electronic “ribbon board” in the arena’s interior and an exterior public address system.

The estimated cost for all recommended projects is $7,453,914.


Another improvement in the five-year plan is a new exterior video board.



http://www.nonpareilonline.com/news/loc ... 13c1d.html

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Postby Brad » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:21 am

Much needed improvements.  The MAC is a year older the the Clink so I am sure the new video boards are a must and it never had ribbon boards.

The parking lot was originally done in asphalt and has been in bad shape for a while now.
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Re:

Postby Omaha_Gabe » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:38 pm

Omaha_Gabe wrote:Changes at Mid-America could go over $7M



New carpeting in the Mid-America Center Convention Center and Arena, an upgrade in computer uses and new outdoor signage and logo are just a few improvements recommended at the MAC next year by the Council Bluffs Arena and Convention Center.




Over the course of the next five years, other improvements would include resurfacing the parking lot, the installation of an electronic “ribbon board” in the arena’s interior and an exterior public address system.

The estimated cost for all recommended projects is $7,453,914.


Another improvement in the five-year plan is a new exterior video board.



Approved

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Re: Mid-America Center

Postby Brad » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:32 am

That darn "Great Wall of China" separating CB and Omaha again... :roll:

Wayne pushed for renting Council Bluffs’ Mid America-Center, which can seat 8,000. Board member Yolanda Williams said she didn’t like the out-of-state choice.


http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/after-o ... b2370.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Its ONE year.... You would rather keep your money "In State" and tell kids their families can't see them graduate? That's about the dumbest thing I have ever heard of...

Typical...


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Re: Mid-America Center

Postby skinzfan23 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:43 am

I read that story yesterday and was thinking the same thing. Going forward its going to be held at UNO's new arena, but for the price and size, the Mid America Center is clearly the only option this year. I think they need to realize that some of the money spent is going to remain in the metro.

Trust me, I complained about paying tax dollars to the state of Iowa when I lived there and how Des Moines always seems to be using funds to revamp their interstate and it's pedestrian overpasses over I-235, while the interstate in so many other cities is in desperate need of repair. However, this is not the way to think. I understand wanting to keep the tax dollars local, but like Brad mentioned, this is a one year deal.

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Re: Mid-America Center

Postby Brad » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:57 am

skinzfan23 wrote:However, this is not the way to think.  I understand wanting to keep the tax dollars local, but like Brad mentioned, this is a one year deal.


One year for kids that spent 13 years working towards that special day....
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Re: Mid-America Center

Postby Coyote » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:05 am

4 tickets per family? That is ridiculous.
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Re: Mid-America Center

Postby skinzfan23 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:24 am

Coyote wrote:4 tickets per family? That is ridiculous.

Sorry grandma and grandpa....you can't attend.

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Re: Mid-America Center

Postby Coyote » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:30 am

I wonder what those tickets could pull in a secondary market? $250 a pair?
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