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Coliseum, Sports Arena Income Plunges 50% : Sports: Officials blame renovation, recession and fears of riots for estimated $1.45-million profit for fiscal year. Extensive remodeling of stadium is unaffected.

June 04, 1993|KENNETH REICH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Net operating income at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena complex has fallen sharply from $3.2 million in the 1991-92 fiscal year to a projected $1.45 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, according to a report by the facilities' managers.

On Thursday, officials of the Spectacor partnership attributed about half of the decline to the Coliseum being closed for eight months for a renovation project, but they said the other half of the smaller income resulted from a weak economy and security concerns about the Coliseum area.

The decline is resulting in the smallest income by the Coliseum Commission, the facilities' public governing body, since it retained Spectacor as a private manager in 1988. But commission President N. Matthew Grossman emphasized that this will have no effect on the $15-million Coliseum renovation that is under way and due for completion in August.

The renovation is being financed entirely with funds won by the commission several years ago in a lawsuit against the National Football League for impeding the move of the Raiders football team from Oakland to the Coliseum in the early 1980s.

Indeed, far from curtailing the renovation, the commission announced plans this week to rebuild and expand the ground level restroom facilities at the Coliseum in addition to lowering the field and installing new seating. Women's restroom capacity will be increased from 92 to 420 stalls and men's stalls will be increased from 200 to 368.

Peter Luucko, chief operating officer of Spectacor and former general manager of the Coliseum complex, said that having the stadium closed since January has meant a loss of about $200,000 less income for motocross, $500,000 less for Coliseum concerts and other outdoor events exclusive of games, and about $200,000 less for soccer.

But in addition to that, Luucko said, income from concerts and other indoor events at the Sports Arena, which remains open, is down about $600,000 this fiscal year from last year and income from sports events, including concessions and admissions at both stadiums, is off about $300,000.

Luucko and another Spectacor official and former Coliseum manager, Joel Ralph, said that stadium income has been off nationwide during the recession, but Ralph said that fears of another riot were a special problem for the Coliseum complex.

Ralph told a meeting of the Coliseum Commission on Wednesday that national circus receipts are down 39% in the last year, and he said that the Ice Capades and the Harlem Globetrotters have been forced into bankruptcy proceedings. He said these were factors in overall revenue declines in stadiums throughout the country.

"In the past, when a recession came, people stayed at home and local events held up pretty well. It was Las Vegas and other destinations that were down," Ralph said. "This time, the recession has struck closer to home."

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