The Baltimore Arena , which was $1.183 million in the red before the city turned over its operations to Centre Management in 1988, earned a $14,070 profit last year, city and arena officials announced today.
The financial turnaround was the result of "professional management" which was able to cut costs and boost revenues at the arena, said Abe Pollin, chairman of the board of the Centre Group, the parent company of Centre Management.
"We told the city at the time that we took over that we would eliminate the operating deficit in five years," Pollin said. "We did it in two."
Pollin said that Centre Management was able to use its experience in the facilities management business to draw big name stars and events to the Baltimore Arena.
The firm also was able to generate significant revenue where there was little previously. For instance, the arena last year earned $370,000 from advertisers who placed signs in and around the facility. When Centre Management assumed control of the facility two years ago, it generated only $15,000 to $20,000 in ad revenue.
"This may serve as a model of other privatization projects we look into," said Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who took heat from City Council members when he gave the no-bid pact to Centre Management in 1988. "I really did believe this was going to work. That's why I was willing in my first year to be so insistent about it."