Empty Arena: Hockey

By:  Diane Benjamin

The picture below is from October 20th – Flying Aces Hockey.  The person who posted this to Facebook was playing a game, the beer won.

The team has to pay $5,000 to the arena just to play there.  Grossinger Motors Arena management makes money regardless of how many people show up.  The event report for this game is not on-line yet.  The report from October 12th is:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=20208

It shows a profit of $2901.01 with 314 people attending.

Event labor for the October 12th game was almost $3,000.

Utilities are never included in profit numbers.  How much does it cost to keep the ice cold and the lights on?

The Council will not have the guts to shut it down.  Last night they didn’t end pension spiking, they don’t have any guts.

More on that next.











26 thoughts on “Empty Arena: Hockey

      1. You are correct. Being an old school Democrat politico, all of this, both national and local, deeply saddens me.

  1. Wow! So, if you don’t include the bond payment, utilities, insurance, venue advertising, Zomboni machine, and other ancillary expenses it makes a sizeable profit. Enron would be proud. How many people have a budget without factoring in mortgage payment and utilities? Like the numbers on economic benefit from the Route 66 Museum, the Small Business Development Center at IWU, CIRA, BCPA, and other government-polluted organizations they’re completely arbitrary and don’t reflect reality. The people that vote in local elections typically do so to get something from government. No way, the arena is shut down. Why? Well, there’s probably a 100 or so reliable voters for big government that Tari and the Council count on who are tied to the arena and surrounding businesses, not to mention it would run counter to their narrative that government spurs economic development.

  2. With this kind of attendance they will fold. A new lottery could be held to estimate the date. But seriously did you read the comments by Executive on event report. The kids got to touch African beetles….well hell that alone justifies the cost of admission.

  3. But, but, HOCKEY was one the BIG selling points – people LOVE Hockey and they will flock to the games when their team has actual “Home Ice” or so I was told by people supporting the Judydome way back when they were pushing it on us. I told them then that it was NEVER going to be a huge draw, this is Bloomington, not Chicago, and certainly not anywhere in Canada there are but a handful of die hard “Hockey fans” around here despite what that handful may think.

  4. When the arena first opened, going to the hockey games was fun. The crowds were sometimes close to 2000. They had a few good concerts too. The last event that I went to in the arena about 2 years ago was a Steve Miller concert. It didn’t even look like there were 3000 people there. A few days before my wife and I moved to Indiana, we saw that whore bag mayor Judy at the restaurant that where we were having a meal with some friends. I wanted to go over and tell her good job on the arena and it’s amazing how it is paying for it’s self and not costing tax payers anything. My wife told me that I should stay seated and not say anything to the whore bag mayor Judy.

    1. I just checked back here because I was going to add that yes for a while it did ok with the hockey and some of the concerts – the element that seems to be missing now is the “joy” in doing anything around here that is “city connected” and I don’t think that is just a feeling that I have, I think it is fairly wide-spread. It’s like that old song “but the feelings gone and I just can’t get it back”.

  5. I have a question – out of pure ignorance – so please be patient with me. What is stopping the folks running the arena from getting bigger musical acts for concerts? I’m sure that its not that easy and I am sure there is a lot that goes into booking a great musical act, so that’s why I’m asking because I literally do not know. Can someone explain it to me? Do people not want to play there because its small? Or can we not afford to pay for the acts to come here? It just seems to me that concerts generate a good amount of revenue…but only if you get popular artists obviously…

    1. the size is an issue because not enough people fit in to draw big names. The City may have told them they aren’t allowed to “buy” shows without permission. That means they can only book shows with no or little upfront money. It limits the choices and also keeps them from making big bucks. Of course it limits the risk too.

    2. Promoters also play a role in booking. Major entertainers sometimes prefer to play at large festivals but then are not booked in a venue in the same geographic location. There is also much local competition between venues for performances—ISU, Peoria, Champaign/Urbana—even Joliet.

  6. Thousands of people with their decent insurance company incomes can afford to attend events at the Grossinger Motors Arena and at the old Scottish Rite temple; however, as evidenced by the blog post above, they choose not to do so. State Farm employees are pressured to attend internal State Farm sponsored activities and corporate events after work. That doesn’t leave free time to do much of anything that happens to be offered to the general public.

    Skip the hockey and indoor football teams. Why can’t Bloomington/Normal just focus on strengthening the youth hockey program? Youth hockey is the Peoria Park district’s most profitable offering. The Bloomington park district management should take note.

    Peoria, for all of its warts, has the much larger Civic Center only 40 miles away. The Civic Center was in existence decades before Bloomington decided to build the ice arena. The Peoria Zoo is also larger and superior to the Bloomington Zoo. Bloomington should shut down their zoo and tell the residents to head to Peoria if they want to look at animals. At minimum, they could convert the Bloomington Zoo into a modest children’s farm park. Why do Bloomington/Normal residents have such an aversion to driving to the Peoria area for anything?

    1. The powers that be want dollars spent locally on entertainment. They also want to attract (compete with) visitors from the surrounding area to spend dollars here. That is the “economic impact” philosophy—spend $10M to attract $5M from visitors.

  7. This truly saddens me to see. My son plays for a Bloomington Youth Hockey travel team. We travel all over mostly to the Chicago Area for games. It is very sad to see such low numbers in attendance for these Flying Aces games. The kids on the Aces come from all over the world to play for this team, and are 16-17 year old kids, Many of which are drafted to the NHL. I feel if people would attend some of their games they would see how talented these young players are!! Even if you are not a fan of hockey I really encourage you to come out and support this team you will really be impressed. We are close enough to one of the great hockey franchises in the NHL that we should have a much bigger draw. This is a inexpensive and fun way to spend a night!! Support the Teams and also your community all at once!! These kids and this town deserve it!

    1. Here’s the problem: parents can easily spend two decades attending their own kids sports all year round if they play more.than one sport. The last thing on their minds is watching kids they don’t know.

  8. Hello all,
    As the author of the original article it was meant as a joke to my Facebook friends. In reflecting back I am very sad there are not more people in the stands. My son has been in the youth hockey league for 10 years. Joe is an amazing coach and program manager for the youth hockey. How he keeps all of the kids and parents in his memory bank is a miracle in itself. I am challenging the community to get out and support youth hockey AND the Flying Aces. As far the outrage of the building being built in the first place, the milk is spilled, the toothpaste is out of the tube and the plane has landed. Here is a thought. Everyone grab a friend, wife, husband, partner, child, parent etc. put your phone down, get off social media and go watch some local hockey. If enough people do this it might actually get some steam and heaven for bid turn a profit. I am not saying the naysayers are the problem. But we could ALL be part of the solution. Please count 10 before bashing. I hope to see YOU at the rink.

      1. Did this guy tell you exactly what he was wanting??? When groups are already getting deals on tickets, and then want deals on food and beverage too, how would you expect the arena to make money. The number of people brought in means nothing, if EVERYTHING is discounted!

  9. Used to go to rivermen games. Last few I went to were not overly impressed with attendance. Then they talked about building here and I thought has anyone been to peoria? Yes first year football and hockey were huge but it was more about the social setting with who is who in town and in the bar behind the reserved seats. Went away soon after along with the corporations owning suites ( company I worked for had one for couple years)

    1. @WARD:

      I like how these central Illinois towns compete against each other using the same lame ideas.

      If attendance was already low for the existing hockey and baseball games in Peoria, then both Bloomington and Normal should spend tens of millions of dollars to build their own sports stadiums. Yeah, that should increase attendance! Brilliant!

  10. just remember this picture when the SPORTS ARENA issue is regurgitated! Just remember this picture when King Tari and his jesters tell all that the arena will be packed and have millions of visitors!

  11. Ironic, isn’t it? The taxpayers got stuck by Judy Markowitz for this black hole, money sucking albatross so her hockey loving little boy Scottie would come home to Mommy.

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