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posted: 2/27/2018 5:28 AM

Hoffman Estates looks to extend Sears Centre's management contract

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  • The Hoffman Estates village board Monday unanimously recommended a contract extension allowing Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum to continue managing the Sears Centre Arena through at least 2025.

    The Hoffman Estates village board Monday unanimously recommended a contract extension allowing Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum to continue managing the Sears Centre Arena through at least 2025.
    Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer, 2016

 
 

Hoffman Estates officials Monday unanimously recommended another five-year contract extension for the management company largely credited with the profitability of the Sears Centre Arena, which had previously been in danger of shutting down altogether as a primarily private enterprise.

The extension means Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum will continue operating the arena on behalf of the village through at least 2025, with an option for three more years after that.

Under the new agreement, the company is also investing $90,000 in the Sears Centre that the village can spend on capital improvements there.

The village board first hired Global Spectrum in late 2009, soon after taking over ownership of the Sears Centre barely three years after it opened.

Since then bookings have been solid and consistent, with the arena's profile raised by becoming the home of the Chicago Bulls' G League team, the Windy City Bulls, in the autumn of 2016.

Not only was last month the best January the Sears Centre has ever had, but last week saw the Windy City Bulls' first sold-out game via a children's event, arena General Manager Ben Gibbs said.

But he said that in fairness to the development partnership that first built and operated the facility, the early years of any such venture can be the most challenging.

"With all things you have to find your market, and that does take time," Gibbs said.

Even apart from the improved success in bookings, Global Spectrum is also credited with keeping expenses nearly flat despite the increase of maintenance costs at the nearly 12-year-old arena, said Mark Koplin, the village's director of development services.

Though the current contract expires in 2020, officials felt the increased stability of the extension would help keep Global Spectrum's focus on operations, he said. While the village wasn't very comfortable during the early days of its ownership role, the partnership between it and Global Spectrum has built confidence, Koplin said.

Village Trustee Gary Pilafas, chairman of the finance committee, said it isn't unusual for venues of such a size to be owned by local governments -- even though that wasn't the original plan for the Sears Centre. But he added the village was fortunate to find not only Global Spectrum but Gibbs' own combination of management and marketing skills.

The board will vote to make the extension official March 5.