By R.J. DeLuke
The latest economic impact study regarding Cool Insuring Arena in downtown Glens Falls shows revenue numbers are increasing and effort by its owners—the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition—continue to be successful for keeping the facility in the black.
At a news conference in November, Camoin Associates, a research group based in Saratoga Springs, unveiled its latest study that showed that revenue and attendance continue to grow.
In 2016, Camoin Associates was commissioned by the Coalition to conduct an economic and fiscal impact analysis of the arena through July 2016. The new report is an update to that study and analyzes the impacts of the arena for the two subsequent years: August 2016 to July 2017, and August 2017 to July 2018.
The arena is home to the Adirondack Thunder hockey team, but hosts other events like concerts, sporting events and more that bring in revenue.
Direct and indirect spending from events rose roughly $2.6 million from $10.6 million to $13.2 million the past three years, the study said.
“The better we do, the better it is for our community and region,” said Jeff Mead arena general manager.
“You know, we work all over the country with many different communities. And what’s very clear is that some communities have special assets. They have good brands, they have something that’s exciting about the community and people want to live there. This is one of the reasons that makes Glens Falls unique,” said Michael N’Dolo, vice president of Camoin Associates.
The arena is one of those assets, he noted.
The study shows the arena provides about $943,00 in annual tax revenue, up from $780,000 in 2015-2016 and $850,000 in 2016-2017. Annual earnings are now at $4.3 million, up from $3.6 million in 2015-2016.
The study said the arena supports 155 jobs and contributes to an increased quality of life in the region. Visitors coming to the area spend an estimated $9.2 million in the local economy. Some 72 percent of all visitors are attending Thunder games, which have seen attendance increase to 208,000 for the last season, compared to 150,000 in 2015-2016.
“In addition, there have been significant one-time impacts on the regional economy through spending to upgrade and enhance the facility” the study said. “Specifically, the Coalition has received nearly $2.8 million in grant funding, of which nearly $1.7 was spent on contractors and laborers in the community to make physical improvements to the facility. In the future, as often as possible, the Coalition intends to continue investing funds into upgrading the arena and keeping those dollars in the local economy by hiring local workers and utilizing local materials.”
The Coalition has completed various improvement projects throughout the arena over the last year, including installation of an outdoor video board and LED video screens for advertising and promotion of events, a new, 9-screen videoboard used for sporting events, installation of LED arena lights and updated audio system, painting of girders, locker room and food and beverage stand renovations, installation of arena-wide Wi-Fi, and upgrades to building equipment. Such improvements have garnered significant investment, totaling nearly $2.7 million.
The study says that when an Adirondack Thunder Hockey game is played, “there is not only spending from visitors, there is also spending by the visiting team members, coaches, and staff. Therefore, we have accounted for the total amount of accommodation spending for the visiting team. “
According to information provided by the Coalition, during the 2015-2016 season, an estimated 488 rooms were booked throughout the hockey season for competing teams.
“Similarly, we can assume there were an additional 488 rooms booked through the 2016-2017 season,” the study says.
With an increase in number of games for the 2017-2018 season, the Coalition provided data showing a total of 692 rooms booked during the most recent hockey season. The average rate for hotel rooms in the Glens Falls area is estimated at $130.
“Therefore, over the past two years, throughout both seasons, competing teams bring $153,400 of revenue directly to local hotels. The competitors also spend money on food and beverages, as well as transportation before and after the game. Estimates of this additional spending are unavailable, however, all additional spending occurring in the region with have a notable and positive impact on the surrounding economy in terms of increased dollars spent in the region and jobs supported,” says the study.
The over $9.1 million in visitor spending associated with the arena over the one-year study period supported 115 direct jobs and nearly $2.8 million in direct earnings in the region. As for indirect impacts, the arena is estimated to support a total of $13.2 million in economic activity, 155 jobs, and $4.3 million in earnings.
Total local sales tax revenue collected by the region’s taxing jurisdictions is estimated at $248,700 from the 2016- 2017 season, and $280,500 from the 2017-2018 season.