Rocky Mount Event Center

People walk into the Rocky Mount Event Center on Oct. 26 during the Grand Opening Celebration.

The Rocky Mount Event Center took in slightly more than $1.3 million the first 12 months while in operation, while the expenses totaled slightly more than $2.5 million for the same period.

The figures are based on an email received Tuesday afternoon from the municipal Communications and Marketing Department and Florida-based Sports Facilities Management, which oversees the operations of the event center.

The facility, which opened in October 2018 at a cost of $48 million, is not anticipated to turn a profit for the first few years of operation.

The email response on Tuesday said the event center took in $1,300,695 the first 12 months and expenses totaled $2,522,078 for the same time period. That amounted to a $1,221,383 gap.

The email response is in part an answer to weeks-long requests by the Telegram seeking financial information and statistical data about the event center.

The email response also comes after the event center on Dec. 18 issued a glowing press release about the facility. One of the details in that press release proclaimed the facility produced $7.1 million in new spending compared to a first-year objective of $4.2 million and also brought 185 jobs to the community.

The press release made clear there will be a need for subsidies for the first three years of the event center’s operation, with an operational surplus projected for the fourth through the 10th years.

In the meantime, the email received Tuesday by the Telegram is in accounting and parks and recreation lingo in places, but there are pieces of information providing good news about the facility.

One of the questions the Telegram sought a response to was how many people have used the event center since the facility opened. The email said the total estimate is 69,964 for the first 12 months.

Another question the Telegram sought a response to was how many major events have been held at the event center since the facility opened.

A chart, as part of the email response, provided data in the category of sport travel. Generally, sport travel is tourism-related products and services for those participating in competitive, fitness, leisure or recreational activities and events.

The chart showed in the first 12 months there were 17 basketball events, three volleyball events and three cheerleading, dancing or gymnastics events. The total of 23 events exceeded a first-year projection of 11 — and the chart said 39 such events are booked for this year.

Additionally, the chart provided data in the category of banquets. The chart showed in the first 12 months there were 38 large-scale events, 41 medium-scale events and 23 small-scale events.

The chart specified large-scale events as drawing more than 200 people, medium-scale events as drawing between 75 and 200 people and small-scale events as drawing less than 75 people.

The total of 102 events exceeded a first-year projection of 97 — and the chart said 99 such events are booked for this year.

The Telegram also wanted to know how many games have been played on the courts. The email response said there were 1,576 sport travel tournament games.

The Telegram also wanted to know how many birthday parties and similar events have been held at the event center. The email response said there were 196 birthday parties and 77 non-birthday parties.

The Telegram sought data from the municipal government in an email on Oct. 25 in connection with the first-ever Downtown Rocky Mount Food Truck Invasion. The event was held the next day in an area adjacent to the event center. The event offered a wide variety of foods and an area for people wanting to sample craft beer on tap.

The Telegram, in an email on Nov. 21 to interim city chief spokeswoman Dorothy Brown Smith, asked for the event center’s financial statements by 5 p.m. on Nov. 27. The request included profit and loss reports and any other associated revenue and expense paperwork, as related to the municipal government and Sports Facilities Management.

The Telegram has not yet received a response to that specific request.

However, the city of Rocky Mount’s website includes postings of municipal comprehensive annual financial reports. Such documents are prepared to provide a thorough presentation of the city’s financial condition.

The report for the fiscal year from the end of June 2018 to the end of June 2019 is 191 pages long and provides — here and there — specifics about the event center.

On page 102 of the report, the data showed the municipal government estimated $933,500 in revenue at the event center and the actual amount ended up at $1,018,056. That amounted to $84,556 on the positive side of the ledger.

On page 111 of the report, the data showed the event center’s expenses were budgeted at $2,147,863 and the actual amount ended up being $2,134,567. That amounted to $13,296 on the positive side of the ledger.