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Spectra To Manage Prescott Valley Arena

Thursday, November 16, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tiffany Kelham

by Noelle Riley | Venues Today

Scott Norton named GM of the 6,200-seat Prescott Valley Event Center in Arizona

The Prescott Valley Event Center in Northern Arizona is under new ownership and management, which means capital improvements, more content and bigger audiences are expected at the venue.

Spectra by Comcast recently signed a five-year agreement to operate and manage the venue, a partnership that started Oct. 27.  Scott Norton, an 11-year Spectra employee, is the new general manager of the venue, and he anticipates that business will increase by more than 30 percent in the next year.  He’s been helping the arena in a consulting role for several months before the partnership started late last month.

It has not been a smooth ride for the 6,200-seat venue that cost $35 million to build in 2006, and now — after helping the event center avoid Chapter 7 bankruptcy — a newly-formed governmental corporation called the Prescott Valley Entertainment Center Community Facilities District (PVECCFD) owns the building.

Originally, Global Entertainment owned the venue in a joint partnership with Fain Signature Group.

After Global Entertainment, along with the Central Hockey League, filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2014, Fain Signature Group took full ownership and operation of the venue; however that company failed to revive the arena, said Prescott Valley Town Manager Larry Tarkowski.

“(Global Entertainment) left the other partner operating for three years, and they told us they were going to go into Chapter 7 bankruptcy,” Tarkowski said. “So the town stepped in and worked with them.”

When the venue originally was built, Allstate Insurance purchased 85 percent of the arena’s bonds. In the new arrangement, Lapis Advisors purchased Allstate’s distressed bonds and then began working with the town.

The PVECCFD then bought out Lapis’ interest in $16 million worth of bonds, giving the governmental group full ownership of the building.

“The PVECCFD was created to own the building and (find an operator) for the building,” Tarkowski said.

Prescott Valley is a “rapidly growing” community, and to have such a huge venue in the center of town with plywood on the windows was unacceptable to town council and community members, Tarkowski said.

“It’s a part of the identity of the community,” he said, highlighting that the arena has hosted a number of high school wrestling and basketball competitions, along with high school and college graduations.

The venue also is home to the Northern Arizona Suns of the National Basketball Association G-League.

“What we were doing is bringing in a whole lot of people throughout the state of Arizona. They fill our hotels… they fill our restaurants,” he said.

Although the town isn’t operating the arena, it’s putting roughly $2 million in capital funds into the venue, which includes roof repair, redoing the parking lot, spiffing up the interior and investing in IT and electronic upgrades.

“We’re also buying a basketball floor that has NBA-quality baskets,” Tarkowski said.
In 2016, the venue had 65 event days. Norton expects the final number for 2017 to jump to 92 event days. He’s also hopeful that the venue will host 100-plus days of events annually, not including public skating and other community events.

“This size building, this size market is definitely in our wheelhouse,” he said of Spectra. “We’re going to bring the venue into a better financial picture. The venue had been operating on a skeleton crew.”

Norton plans to hire three full-time employees, bringing full-time staff to eight, and a few part-time employees.

“For me, it’s pretty much a blank slate up here. We think we have a great opportunity to revive the facility. We feel the market here has been a little bit underserved. We look forward to adding content and getting the venue back on the map from a concert and entertainment standpoint,” he said.

A fully-owned division of Comcast NBCUniversal, Spectra also provides management services to the Budweiser Event Center, Loveland, Colo., The Santa Ana Star Center, Rio Rancho, N.M., and the Casper (Wyo.) Event Center; similar venues in size and locale.