EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - It’s simple economics. This season’s record crowds at the Ford Center is helping the city’s budget.
Whether you cheer for the Purple Aces squad or not, you’re probably liking what its big attendance numbers are doing.
It’s shrinking the arena’s deficit, and city officials say they’re not going to owe as much money as they have in years past.
Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said higher attendance means less money out of your pocket to pay to run the arena.
“The higher level of enthusiasm, the more people that want to come, the more they spend on concessions and that helps the city.”
Mayor Winnecke said in 2018, the city earned roughly $800,000 in event revenue.
The arena requires over $1 million in operation costs, Winnecke said.
The Ford Center’s Executive Director, Scott Schoenike, told us utility costs alone are massive. Utility bills cost $700,000 annually.
“The end of the year--that will obviously benefit the city of Evansville and the overall bottom line of the Ford Center,” Mayor Winnecke said. “If you spend 10 minutes at a game this year, the level of enthusiasm is considerably higher than it has been in previous years," said Winnecke, who is a UE graduate. “Coach McCarty is the driving force behind that.”
Univeristy of Evansville officials say men’s basketball home games are averaging over 5,000 people every home game.
It’s one of the top three largest in the Missouri Valley Conference.