Civic Center agrees to cover $73K in Rush’s financial losses
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Rushmore Plaza Civic Center will pay $73,500 for the Rush’s financial losses during the month of October.
The legality of the payment was discussed Tuesday during a civic center board executive session, then the addendum was approved in open session. The funds go to the Rapid City Professional Hockey, L.L.C. Team’s ownership cash calls and financial losses for October.
The addendum states that both the civic center and team “continue to negotiate in good faith a potential further amendment to the Facility License Agreement,” which was agreed upon in September 2015.
In May, the civic center and the Rush announced a three-year agreement where the civic center would offer financial support in exchange for greater influence in managing the team’s business. That agreement also meant the civic center would assume some of the team’s financial risk. Tuesday’s payment is part of that agreement, which has a cap of $350,000.
When the May agreement was signed, Civic Center Executive Director Craig Baltzer was hopeful that their support would help the team reach financial stability.
It’s not new that the Rush has had a harder time filling seats recently than in years past. Average attendance last year was just over 2,000 per game. That amounts to less than half of what the arena can hold.
The May agreement was a move to get the civic center, Rapid City and the Rush to work together to fill more seats. They hope to turn it around this year and avoid hitting the cap.
“We had one of our better crowds in a few years, certainly over last year this past Saturday night,” Baltzer said after Tuesday’s addendum was approved. “We’re seeing some changes and adjustment that seem to be helping in the right direction. It’s a little early in the season to make a call on that yet, but I like what I’m seeing right now.”
Donna Winkler, a chairwoman on the civic center’s board of directors, says, “The Rush is a huge asset for our community, and we need to do everything we can to maintain that relationship.”