Coliseum Leaders Working to Secure New Football Owner

Published 08/26 2014 10:01PM

Updated 08/26 2014 10:24PM

BLOOMINGTON - Bloomington is searching for a new indoor football team owner. An agreement between the city and coliseum guarantees there will be football this season, and next.

But with uncertainty surrounding its basketball team, some council members are wondering how the arena will remain profitable.

"Now, it was over-promised to begin with. When people were promising the proponents of it 12 years ago, that it was going to make money, that was fiction,” said Tari Renner, mayor of Bloomington.

According to its year-end report, the Coliseum brought in more than 300,000 guests in fiscal year 2014, with nine sold out shows, but still, that resulted in a $183,000 net operating loss for the year.

"We want to do what we can. We've got the Coliseum, to make it as profitable as possible and to bring as many events downtown as possible,” said Renner.

Now, Coliseum officials say they're looking for a new football owner before play resumes in the winter.

"They're spending money, they're coming downtown, and in terms of bottom line for the Coliseum, it may only be a few hundred thousand dollars, but that is still real dollars,” said Renner.

An agreement between the city and the Coliseum ensures football will be played this coming season.

"That doesn't fulfill all of the terms of the contract and I think we want to see the Coliseum have events as many nights as possible,” said Karen Schmidt, Bloomington city council member.

The Thunder hockey team switched leagues for the upcoming season, and signed an extension with the Coliseum. They could opt out of in 2017, if attendance is less than 2,000 per night, and with the Flex looking for a new league too, some council members say the negotiations are especially important.

It's also why Mayor Renner is continuing to push council members to consider the possibilities of a hotel to draw even more guests to the Coliseum.

"I think we have a lot of components to make, to take this up to the next level, and I understand why a hotel might be a good addition to that,” said Schmidt.

The coliseum cost more than $30 million to build. Its year-end report says it has generated more than $117 million for the community since it opened in 2006.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.