New Lincoln arena lost money in first 6 months

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - New numbers show Lincoln’s new Pinnacle Bank Arena isn’t breaking even.

The arena was nearly $172,000 in the red at the end of January, just more than five months after opening, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (http://bit.ly/1jmNpPs ) Saturday.

City leaders are hopeful they can make up the loss, noting that revenues were limited during three months in which the arena was monopolized by Nebraska men’s and women’s basketball games. Those games bring in much less money than big-ticket concert events, because ticket sales for basketball games go back to the University of Nebraska, and NU pays little in rent.

Officials also blame higher-than-expected utility costs and delays in opening a pedestrian bridge for the operating loss.

“It is a new building, and we are learning what it takes to run it,” said Steve Hubka, city finance director.

The city still expects to break even by the end of the year, Hubka said.

Even if arena operations don’t break even this year, revenue from all sources is enough to cover operations without jeopardizing repayments for the $378 million in bonds used to build the arena, arena manager Tom Lorenz said.

The nearly $172,000 loss represents a little more than 1 percent of the city’s $15 million annual budget for arena operations.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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