Finley Stadium Income Up Despite Fewer Events; Parking Revenue Increases As Venues Open Nearby

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - by Gail Perry

The financial and management reports for the first six months of fiscal year 2017-2918 were presented by Executive Director Chris Thomas on Tuesday morning at the bi-monthly Finley Board of Directors meeting. “I’m very well pleased with where we are right now,” said Board Member Mike Davis.


Highlights include the status of contributions and public support, which is currently $26,257 below what was budgeted, but which is still above the amount given in 2016 by almost $38,000.


Money is being used for capital improvements, Mr. Thomas told the board, and he is trying to make sure the money is spent wisely and carefully in making these repairs and upgrades to the facility. It is expected to be a “constant battle” since the stadium is turning 20 years old this year.


The profit/loss statement is mostly in the black, said the executive director, with the net profit substantially up.   There were fewer events booked this year but the difference was made up with external events that profited the stadium and by the effort to reduce expenses, such as the cost for utilities that was down by 16.4 percent. The financial report shows that net income for the facility from July through December 2017 is $81,200 - up $119,600 from the year before.


Progress on the addition of premium stadium seating is on track. Preparation work is in progress and the seats have been ordered and should be delivered by the end of April. They are scheduled for installation by the first of May and should be ready for the first Chattanooga Football Club matches and UTC spring football game.


Another upgrade for the stadium in the future is a video board. The board of directors is hoping to find a new partnership to help fund the cost, which is expected to be between $500,000 and $600,000. Chairman Gordon Davenport Jr. said that may happen by this time next year.


Despite winterizing the stadium campus, a number of leaks and frozen pipes have occurred, and there have been more problems at the First Tennessee Pavilion. Most of the repairs have been made in-house, said Mr. Thomas, so there were no substantial expenses associated with them.


“Parking is becoming a bigger and bigger deal,” said Chairman Davenport. Total facility parking income in the first six months of 2017 was $117,193, which is $24,225 above income generated from parking in 2016.


“We will be fair,” said Mr. Davenport “and a good community citizen, but the days of free parking are dwindling,” he said. For-profit events should now pay for parking, added Board Member Ryan Crimmins. As surrounding apartment buildings begin opening, some of the stadium’s lots will be used for paid night-time parking. The Signal, a new concert venue on Chestnut Street across from the stadium, will be opening soon and paid parking for events held there will be available in the Finley Stadium lots. Also, Naked River Brewing will be opening in June in the brick building next door to the pavilion. Mr. Crimmins said that a “fair and tight precedent” should be set from the beginning.


The chairman told the board for the record that he wanted to acknowledge and applaud the CFC as their season starts. He is pleased with the stadium’s relationship with the soccer club, which he said was a phenomenon that has become a big deal in Chattanooga. They have a very loyal fan base, he said, and they do things differently than traditional sports, such as season ticket holders using jerseys instead of tickets to get into the games. This will be the 10th anniversary season of the relationship between the CFC and Finley Stadium. The board approved a new contract with the soccer club for the upcoming year.


Mr. Davenport said that his vision for the stadium is to include the partners at board meetings in the future, who would join in the discussions about the “big picture.” This would involve representatives from the CFC, UTC and the Chattanooga Market. It is the partners who drive the experiences of people using the facilities, he said.


The next board meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 3 at 11:30 a.m.


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