Don't believe everything you read on social media. The Downtown Facility and Field House is not abandoning concerts, it's actually quite the opposite as they focus on finding new sources of revenue.
The DFFH budget was presented to city councillors this week and Ted Schaeffer, Acting CEO as well as Director of Parks and Recreation, explained that they are taking a more strategic approach to how they handle bowl events, as they're called, such as concerts or on stage entertainment.
"There certainly isn't any intention of moving away from hosting concerts. That's one of the major purposes of the facility and we don't want to move away from that." explained Schaeffer who was a little confused by the rumours in the community.
"On a lot of the recent ones, we've gone to a rental model as opposed to a co-promotion or self promotion model and that's just to manage the risk to the facility itself."
A simplified explanation of a rental model means that a promoter or performer would actually rent the arena for their event and then keep all of revenue from ticket sales but would also accept any risk of the event not turning a profit. No matter what happens, Mosaic Place would receive the agreed upon rental amount. In a co-promotion or self promotion scenario, the DFFH could suffer a financial loss if the event doesn't turn a profit by selling enough tickets but stands to make significantly more if the event is a sellout.
The 2018 DFFH budget request is $691,370 or $55,000 less than the request for 2017. Schaeffer says they were able to find some efficiencies between the two facilities and are hopefully on a track to recovery. A new General Manager is part of that and Tuesday, Graham Edge was announced to that position.
"We were looking to get the right person in there that can do the right things to continue on the trend that we've started over the last little bit in terms of taking a close look at how the facility is managed and how the subsidy can be consistent on a year to year basis."
Schaeffer says creating more revenue generating opportunities, such as concerts, is a key part of that plan.
For capital projects, Schaeffer says they plan on spending $40,000 to purchase a barrier for bowl events that separates the seating area from the stage itself. He explained to councillors that Mosaic Place currently borrows or rents the barrier but if they run into a situation where it's not available, they'd be forced to cancel an event. Schaeffer pointed out that the purchase of the barrier is another indicator that they are not getting out of the concert business.
Other upgrades included in the proposed budget are some renovations to Yara Centre to move the front desk closer to the actually field area so staff can keep a better watch over the facility. Right now there is no direct line of sight from the desk to the main use area.
Over at Mosaic Place, upgrades are planned to try and limit access to certain areas of the building, such as the Club Level during events that don't need the upper section. Elevator lock outs and doors are being looked at as Schaeffer explained that guests from events in the lower bowl are getting into other areas and causing damage to the building, or have even stolen items.