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updated: 10/26/2010 12:55 PM

Hoffman Estates trustees get update on Sears Centre outlook

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Now that Hoffman Estates has dissolved its ad hoc arena committee, the trustees will receive financial report on the Sears Centre every month during village board meetings.

The first of those such reports were presented on Monday night. Albeit, the reports won't present anything trustees didn't have access to before, but they will be presented to the entire board at once.

Ben Gibbs, the arena's general manager, put a positive spin on the numbers. While the building, which opened in 2006, still isn't on track to make a profit; loss projections are $672,088 better than the predictions at the start of the year.

"We're doing far better than we anticipated at the beginning of the year," Gibbs said.

Global Spectrum, the branch of Comcast which took over arena operations in December 2009, projected the building to lose $781,000 in 2010.

The village took ownership of the 11,000-seat arena in December. They're also on the hook to repay the construction loan, which the previous owners, the Ryan Cos., left for the village. The loan was financed through $55 million in village-back bonds, and could cost up to $88.4 million with interest over the next two decades.

The arena plans 16 events in the next six months, Gibbs added. Besides more events, Gibbs said the arena has saved on items including water and powering down lights. The arena planned on hosting 87 events for 2010, That number, as of August was 63, and 12 more were projected for the rest of the year. That brings the number of events to 75. It's unlikely more will be added by the end of the year.

The ad hoc committee met during the early morning hours and consisted of community business leaders, Assistant Village Manager Mark Koplin and trustees Raymond Kincaid and Gary Pilafas. That business will now be discussed during regularly scheduled Monday meetings.

Trustee Cary Collins suggested more wrestling and mixed-martial arts events, which draw well. Last year, MMA's Strikeforce held a successful event at the Sears Centre. Despite communities like Bartlett, which have nixed plans for promoters to bring MMA events to their village, Hoffman Estates officials support bringing MMA to the village. Gibbs said Strikeforce is looking to return to the Sears Centre.

Also the Lingerie Football League, which has a scheduled a Nov. 13 game at the Sears Centre is selling well.

"Bliss football is tracking, so we're hoping Bliss football will save the day," Gibbs said.