The Fort Smith Advertising and Promotion (A&P) Commission approved the 2013 budget and announced the return of country music legend Willie Nelson to the Fort Smith Convention Center (FSCC) on Tuesday (Oct. 23).
Budget estimates, revealed at the group's monthly meeting, show that the A&P could operate with total revenues of $800,789 next year, the vast majority of which is derived from the city's 3% hospitality tax. Estimates on the expense side totaled $794,299.
Itemized expenses consist of $335,120 in personnel, $161,235 in operating, $125,044 in total media advertising and $172,900 in special projects and event support.
Accompanying Tuesday's budget approval, the A&P also confirmed that Willie Nelson would play the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center in the Fort Smith Convention Center. The official date, according to Nelson's website, will be Nov. 29.
As for September event revenues, 2012 obliterated the same 30-day period last year. The FSCC posted $51,164 against $13,564 in September 2011 (a $37,600 increase).
The highest grossing events included the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS)-Blue Man Group event on Sept. 14 ($23,938); the Hispanic Catholic Charismatic event on Sept. 16 ($9,912); the Central Arkansas Nursing event on Sept. 18 ($5,613); the Fort Smith Symphony event on Sept. 29 ($3,116); a First National Bank event on Sept. 18 ($2,560); and a Sebastian County Drug Task Force event on Sept. 22 ($2,370).
Compared to the third quarter 2011, the FSCC has held 22 more events with 64 more event days, Fort Smith A&P Executive Director Claude Legris.
The Fort Smith Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) showed $59,007 in August revenues, a reduction of $789 compared to the same month last year. The slow report did not dampen year-to-date numbers, however, which show $513,210, an overall increase of $31,075 from 2011.
On the expense side, the CVB posted $69,403 for August and $469,756 YTD.
The FSCC continues to perform well increasing revenues, though expenses still far outweigh what the facility is generating on its own. Through the first nine months of 2012, the Convention Center has brought in $470,192, a 44.6% increase compared to the same period in 2011.
Expenses rose to $963,686 YTD from $914,590 last year.
On a positive note, total revenue for the FSCC is at $504,433 through September, eclipsing the entire 2011 performance of $482,373 by $22,060.