Renovated in 1993, the Greensboro Coliseum can accommodate audiences as large as 23,500 or as small as 7,500. Unique, innovative, multi-capacity stage configurations are outfitted with superior acoustics, lighting, and state-of-the-art rigging capabilities, allowing our Arena to accommodate any major concert or special event. New locker rooms, "Star Quality" dressing rooms and media headquarters are immediately adjacent to the Arena.
The CoIiseum was host to the NCAA East Regionals, ACC, MEAC, and Southern Conference Tournaments. Concerts, conventions, meetings, ballet, Disney on Ice, Harlem Globetrotters and the Circus are just a few of the events enjoyed in this totally flexible, progressive entertainment and business center.
Fayetteville probable step for Whalers
By GREG GARBER
This story ran in The Courant May 3, 1997 The Whalers are on target for a Monday press conference in Raleigh, N.C.
That was the cautious sentiment of Whalers general manager Jim Rutherford Friday as he visited Fayetteville, N.C.
Rutherford spent the day negotiating with officials of the Cumberland County Crown Coliseum, located 59 miles from Raleigh and scheduled to open in October after a $51 million renovation -- in time for the Whalers to begin the 1997-98 season. The arena will seat 13,500 for concerts and basketball but is limited to 10,100 for hockey. The Hartford Civic Center seats 15,635 for hockey.
Rutherford told The Associated Press the Crown could work as a temporary site for the Whalers if the team targeted corporations. The average ticket price would be $50-$60; the average price of a Whalers ticket last season was $36.70.
"Obviously, this ticket price will be high here, but as long as we can sell out the building we can make this building work," Rutherford said.
Kendall Wall, GM of the Crown, told the Raleigh News & Observer that $1 million to $2 million in improvements would be needed to meet NHL specifications, an expense the team would have to bear.
With a new arena in Raleigh two years away, the Whalers would have preferred a lease with the Greensboro Coliseum as a temporary site, but talks broke down Thursday.
In Hartford Friday, Gov. John G. Rowland reiterated his belief that the Connecticut Development Authority should ratify the $20.5 million exit agreement he negotiated with owner Peter Karmanos.
"I have no plans of raising the exit fee," Rowland said. "The bottom line is if you raise the exit fee and force them to stay here -- if they stay here, the state only gets $5 million.
"Frankly, let's look at the IHL and the AHL," Rowland said. "I think they're going to have a better economic impact by having a less expensive hockey team in the city."
Staff Writer Maxine Bernstein contributed to this story.
Coliseum deal with NHL may finally erase deficit
By SCOTT MICHAUX AND KELLY SIMMONS, Staff Writer
The National Hockey League may help the Greensboro Coliseum achieve something that has eluded it for nearly a decade: a balanced budget.
The agreement between the coliseum and the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes -- formerly the Hartford Whalers -- calls for the team to pay the coliseum $2.4 million annually for the two years it will play in Greensboro. That is projected to help reduce the coliseum's 1997-98 operating deficit by about $1.25 million after expenses.
The highlights of what the Greensboro Coliseum will receive from its two-year agreement with the NHL Carolina Hurricanes:
Guaranteed annual payment of $2.4 million
50 percent of game-day parking revenues, an estimated $300,000 a year
100 percent of revenue generated from any new parking facilities
Revenue from existing advertising signage, an estimated $275,000 a year
Base income from existing luxury suites, $480,000 a year
Base income from six new luxury suites, $180,000 a year
Site of annual Hurricanes training camp for at least seven years
Site of at least one Hurricanes preseason game every year
An AHL franchise affiliated with Hurricanes after NHL team leaves for Raleigh in 19
The lease payment could enable the coliseum to break even or even make money the following year.
"Obviously, our goal is to do no less than break even," said Matt Brown, the managing director of the coliseum. "We hope that the opportunity to host this (NHL) team for two years will not only have an immediate impact but will leave us with something that can keep us at that level ..."
The coliseum's deal encompassed everything but a swift resolution regarding the future of the AHL Carolina Monarchs, the coliseum's primary tenant that is being forced out of the arena. The Monarchs are entitled to "reasonable" compensation, but they have been unable to negotiate a deal with Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called for a meeting Tuesday afternoon at the league's headquarters in New York. Bettman, AHL Commissioner Dave Andrews, Florida Panthers President Bill Torrey and officials from the Monarchs and Hurricanes will sit down and try to hash out an agreement.
"It's something everybody wants to get done," said Jim Rutherford, the general manager of the NHL team. "It will certainly be beneficial."
Howard Williams, part-owner of the Monarchs who is leading the negotiations on behalf of the team, would not confirm that a meeting was set up for next week. He did say, however, that he had not talked with Hurricanes officials in several days.
The agreement with the Hurricanes is expected to get the coliseum closer to its promised goal of making money. Coliseum officials had projected a $1.57 million operating deficit for 1997-98, but the estimated reduction from the NHL agreement would bring that down to about $320,000.
The estimated operating deficit reduction for 1998-99 is $1.55 million.
"It starts to look good from an economic picture," said Robbie Perkins, a Greensboro City Council member.
This fiscal year, which ends June 30, the coliseum deficit is expected to reach $1.68 million. It is the seventh year in a row that the coliseum has run an operating deficit. The facility has not turned a profit since 1989 -- a year before it was renovated and expanded.
City officials at that time predicted that the coliseum would run a deficit during the years the building was under construction but that once it was fully operating it would begin making money. That has yet to happen.
The deficit hit its peak during the last two fiscal years, reaching $2.3 million each year.
"The coliseum has been a consistent source of public discussion ever since they built it," said Perkins, who attended Friday's news conference at the coliseum's Special Events Center. "We've been working with a deficit on a year-to-year basis, and this (deal) certainly is a huge step."
Brown negotiated a lease agreement with Karmanos that differs from the coliseum's more traditional contracts, which include percentages of parking and concessions. The coliseum will receive $2.4 million annually in rent from the team and 50 percent of revenues from existing parking.
"You can't diminish the attractiveness of Mr. Karmanos' offer of guaranteed annual payments," said Brown, who claimed a $120,000 net negative impact after a second-straight season of disappointing attendance by the Monarchs. "It took a while for us to appreciate what that would mean to us."
The coliseum also retains any revenue from existing advertising signage and the current base income from luxury suites. The coliseum also will get the revenue from six new luxury suites that will be constructed before next season and any newly constructed parking facilities.
The net difference for the next fiscal year amounts to about $1.35 million more than the revenue generated last year by the Monarchs.
But Brown stressed the long-term economic benefits that will continue after the Hurricanes move to Raleigh in 1999.
The deal includes the guaranteed return in 1999 of an AHL franchise that would be affiliated with the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes will also hold their annual training camps in Greensboro for at least the next seven years and will play at least one preseason game a year at the coliseum.
Other physical improvements should also provide lasting financial benefits, Brown said.
For example, the additional luxury suites could be rented to businesses and corporations after the NHL franchise leaves Greensboro.
"After the Hurricanes go to Raleigh, we're going to have 21 suites to sell," Brown said. "By selling those to AHL games, we've raised the potential income stream from that."
Building additional parking spaces would benefit the city in the long run as well as immediately. The contract allows the city to keep 100 percent of the proceeds from any new parking built at the coliseum.
"If the city can find a source of funds to expand the parking, we're going to reap the benefits from that," he said. "We ought to take advantage of that -- we can justify paying for parking now because of the benefit."
In previous years, City Council members have considered building additional parking on city-owned land near the coliseum but have not had the money to do so.
In addition to the proposed improvements required for NHL play, Brown has suggested spending $1.3 million over two years on amenities that would make the arena more attractive to fans. In the first year, those would include:
An additional elevator for disabled fans. Cost: $150,000.
An improved sound system for the arena. Cost: $100,000.
A video scoreboard. Cost: $400,000. Brown plans to get advertisers to help pay for this feature, and he hopes to have it before the ACC tournament in March.
Second-year additions would be:
Thermal ice decking. Cost: $250,000.
A Coliseum Club where club seat members can congregate before and after coliseum events. Club members pay $2,500 a year for cushioned seats at center court on the first two rows of the upper level. The club area would be built in unused space on the second level of the concourse. Cost: $400,000.
Funds to pay for these improvements would come from the revenue generated by the Hurricanes over two years. Brown said it was possible that some of the added features could qualify for hotel-motel tax money, but not all of them.
Image of Greensboro Coliseum
Courtesy ESA, whom we thank
Image of the Greensboro Coliseum
Courtesy ESA, whom we thank
$60 MILLION IN UPGRADES PROPOSED FOR GREENSBORO ARENA
January 19, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures
Greensboro, N.C. - Director Matt Brown has proposed $60 million worth of upgrades to the Greensboro Coliseum complex, half of which would be funded with hotel-motel taxes designated for the entertainment venue, the Greensboro News & Record reported.
Next week the City Council will consider the biggest item on the list, a new $36 million performing arts center to replace the aging War Memorial Auditorium.
That project would require voter approval. Similar ideas have failed twice before. The coliseum complex carries more than $36 million in debt that dates back 20 years. Brown proposes more bathrooms and better concession stands to the upper concourse. Some of the things on the wish list are long overdue, like the replacement of 20-year-old seats. Others are fixes to newer problems, like widening the concourse of the Greensboro Aquatic Center. Since it opened in late summer, coliseum officials have found the hallway is too narrow to accommodate the crowds it has drawn.
By far, the most expensive item is the proposed performing arts center. The coliseum staff is working on plans for the building, which Brown said would seat more than 3,000 people.
Many of the coliseum projects could be paid for using hotel-motel taxes. The hotel-motel taxes could cover $6 million worth of the proposed performing arts center. But the bulk of that effort would have to be paid for with bonds that require voter approval.
About $15 million worth of those projects could begin as soon as this year, with the council's approval, Interim City Manager Denise Turner said.
Council members will debate whether to begin the referendum process. If they proceed with the idea, the issue would come before voters in November.