City of Rochester wants new operator for Blue Cross Arena

Jun 29, 2018

Credit Emily Hunt / for WXXI News

The city of Rochester is looking for a new operator for the Blue Cross Arena.

The city has notified longtime operator of the arena, SMG, that it is looking to terminate their contract in the near future. The city’s corporation counsel, Tim Curtin, says that SMG has performed below expectations in terms of generating enough revenue so that taxpayers are not on the hook to provide subsidies to keep the facility running.

“It’s not acceptable that the taxpayers continue to provide the subsidies, so we need to find a way to provide that this facility become self-sustaining. So, we may not figure it out in the short term, but we’ve got to figure it out in order to keep this facility open; we’ve got to figure out a way that it can pay its own way.”

Curtin says in the most recent budget year, it cost the city about $800,000 to help run the facility because of the revenue shortfalls.

Curtin says the city would like to find a new operator by the fall.

SMG, a large facility management company based in Philadelphia, has managed the Blue Cross Arena since 2000. SMG officials were not immediately available for comment.