Finley Stadium, a constant money loser in its initial years, had a profit of $276,416 from July 2018-June 2019. “We did well,” Executive Director Chris Thomas told the board of directors on Tuesday. Facility rental income of the pavilion including the kitchen, the stadium, stadium club and skyboxes totaled $471,718. Parking is increasingly contributing to income growth. A total profit of $336,469 was derived from parking. In the past year, more income came from permit parking, $209,713, than came from event parking.
As the area around the stadium is developed and new businesses and apartments open, more people are using the stadium’s lots and there are monthly permits as well as 35-40 office workers who use it daily, he said.
The sale of beer, wine and spirits accounted for $233,502 of the total food and beverage profits of $550,190. At some CFC games alcohol sales were a primary revenue source making up 70-80 percent of the total food and beverage sales for certain events. Beer sales at UTC events were 35 percent of food and beverage sales.
The profit of $276,416 last fiscal year shows positive growth income, said Mr. Thomas, but it all goes back into an aging facility. We are investing every dollar to make it as squeaky clean and robust as possible for all partners, he said, and it will be impossible to continue to spend at this pace. “I want Finley Stadium to look new every time people come,” said Chairman of the Board Mike Davis. He said that there will need to be a new stream of revenue to keep the shine on “the jewel of the Southside.” Projections show that $150,000 is needed for operations in the next six months, said Mr. Thomas.
Repairs that are already in the works include replacement of the turf that will be done in mid-December. Astroturf has sent a team to inspect, groom and repair the existing field and has tested the field and determined it is safe for use this fall. The HVAC in the locker room is also being replaced. A new unit should be installed this week in time to cool the room for UTC’s opening game against Eastern Illinois on Aug. 29.
A change this year will be a new tenant for the kitchen at the pavilion. Reef Kitchen, a new concept that will supply mobile food trucks, will be renting the space. They will pay the Stadium Corporation a premium monthly rental rate in order to have a one-year lease.
Special events are as important to the stadium as primary events, said Mr. Thomas. Last weekend the Hamilton County High School Jamboree was held at Finley Stadium over a two-day period. More money was made from parking during that time than for any other single event. "There was a fabulous turnout," he said.
Not only will there be six home games for UTC football this year, but there will also be six CFC home games which have not been held in previous years. CFC has just joined a professional soccer league. It was always the plan but instead of creating a new league, said board member Tim Kelly, the team has joined NISA, the National Independent Soccer Association. The league plays in the spring, takes a break in mid-summer and resumes matches in the fall. This is good news for Finley, he said.
There are at least three special events scheduled each week at the facility from now through November and Thanksgiving. Heavy use of the stadium facilities will resume in early February. During the lull, paperwork for recurring events from last year will be issued.
Food and Beverage Manager Sarah Hooper said that this year there are several skyboxes being renovated and there are several that are available to be rented on a game by game basis. She also caters large events on behalf of the stadium that are off-site. In September she said that she will be feeding 2,500-3,000 athletes participating in the Ironman competition.
At the next meeting on Oct. 22, the board will see the audited financial reports.