Albany Convention Center Authority

Albany,

Arena, Performing Arts Center, And Convention Centers Management Assessment, And Operator Rfp Development And Selection Assistance

In 2013 the Albany Convention Center Authority retained B&D to conduct an independent assessment of the authority’s governance structure and to deliver strategic recommendations to optimize financial performance for four state- and county-owned public assembly venues. These facilities included a 17,500-seat arena (Times Union Center); a 1,500-seat performing arts center (The Egg); the Empire State Plaza Convention Center; and a new 80,000 SF convention center complex. We were tasked with analyzing the management structures currently in place and identifying possible alternatives for the state of New York to consider. The state’s goal was to maximize the benefit of the venues’ close proximity to each other through enhanced booking potential, facility sharing, sharing operational costs, and capturing lost business. One example concerned the Egg: our analysis entailed a thorough review of the facility’s mission statement, existing governance model, event mix, and financial performance. Understanding that the Egg’s stated purpose is to develop cultural and performing arts programs that benefit the citizens of New York, we found that the facility annually produced an event schedule that was responsive to the facility’s stated mission while also providing broad appeal to community interests. Furthermore, analysis of the Egg’s financial outcomes revealed that the non-profit management team had managed to recover nearly 80% of cost expenditures on operation—a recovery significantly better than those of performing arts centers of similar scale and purpose. Ultimately, while the Egg’s management team was responding to its stated mission and was delivering strong financial performance, we recommended that the Egg implement a facility fee and a development director position to further strengthen financial outcomes. We were retained the following year to assist during the facility operator solicitation process.