ELMIRA, N.Y (WETM) – As the Elmira River Sharks look to improve their 3-2 record this Saturday against the Danbury Hat Tricks, we’re getting a first look at the finances of the First Arena. At a meeting of the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency, Chairman Mark Margeson said the Legislature’s Budget Committee approved a $500,000 transfer to the IDA from federal Covid-19 ‘American Rescue Plan’ funds. The transfer needs final approval from the full legislature on Monday.

“What we will do moving forward is any infrastructure and or equipment purchases, we will then document that and get receipts for that,” said Chairman Margeson, who is also the Chair of the Chemung County Legislature. “It’s going to be a very well documented, the legislative group has asked for documentation to make sure that we’re doing the right thing.”

“With the $500,000 transfer from the legislature, Mark and I both had inquiries from some legislators wanting to learn more about IDA and our function,” said IDA Board Member Marty Chalk, who is also a County Legislator representing the City of Elmira.

“I’m glad you brought that up,” said Margeson. “At the budget meeting, a new legislator brought up that they are not totally aware of what the IDA actually does, the mission statement, what they actually do. We can sit down and talk about it, but I think it would be appropriate if you (IDA Executive Director Joe Roman) came up and gave a simplistic summary of what the IDA does.” Mr. Roman said he would deliver a presentation to the legislature in December.

The treasurer of the Chemung County IDA, Chad Keenan, then updated the board on the agency’s monthly finances.

“Total income for the month of October, around $73,000. Total expense, 256-257,000. 210-ish of that is Arena related, for an operating loss of $184,000.” said Kennan. Aside from the arena, obviously, this would have turned a slight profit. So, the Arena continues to be a main focus for the team in terms of keeping that spending in control as much as possible.”

“On the balance sheet side for the IDA, we have current assets of around $3.4 million, including $2.4 million in checking and savings. Total assets, including property and equipment, around $13.6 million. Obviously, liability and equity is 13.6 as well,” said Keenan.

IDA Executive Director Joe Roman said the arena turned a $29,000 dollar profit. However, that’s after a one-time $100,000 dollar payment from Ticketmaster.

“From what’s happening right now, things are pretty good. Total income, 188,000, which is nice,”
said Roman. “Uncategorized income is sponsorships that are coming in, actually that was a ticket sponsorship. That came in, that really helped us there.”

“That was Ticketmaster,” said Margeson. “We took on their system and Ticketmaster gave us, after negotiations by two additional parties, gave us 100,000 dollars to utilize their system.”

“Ticketmaster is great, but it was a one-timer for the month,” said Keenan. “Next month we’re going to have a problem if those legacy partner sales don’t increase.”

In addition to sponsorships, Margeson says the IDA is working on leasing vacant suites for parties and other events. So far, the IDA says more fans are showing up at games than expected.

“Mark and I have been at every game,” said Roman. “So far, attendance is exceeding what we conservatively projected for attendance, so that’s a good thing. We’re continuing to make tweaks on some things to try to boost that attendance.”

Margeson says more revenue will start flowing in after the new turf field opens where the secondary practice rink used to be.

“I think that’s going to be a game changer because we have received an enormous amount of calls, both for youth, and strangely enough for professional,” Margeson said. He added that he expects the turf to be completed within 30 days.

You can watch the IDA’s full discussion about the Arena’s finances below: