The Convention Center and Kevin Kane

December 4, 2013

The Convention Center

I have been out of town visiting my daughter, son in law and grandson in San Francisco. It is a lovely town but not much fun getting there and returning by air from Memphis. I picked up a recent morning paper and found that the flights from Salt Lake to Memphis and back were being cut further. In past years there were nonstop flights from Memphis to San Francisco but now we have to fly to Timbuktu to get there and the price is out of sight.


I spent the first day back visiting with Kevin Kane, President and CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was a pleasant visit and he is very knowledgeable about the Convention Center and visiting Memphis in general.


What I was after was the annual financial statements of the Cook Convention Center. I had tried to get these statements directly from the Convention Center office but either they were never in or they refused to answer calls. I had the June 30, 2007 financial statement but none later. The 2007 statement showed a loss of $3.5 million dollars.


After discussions with Kevin he promised me that he would get the 2008 through 2012 statements to me and that since 2007 the losses have been cut at the convention center. He sent the statements later and the 2012 loss at the Cook Convention Center was cut to $2.8 million dollars. We discussed the future of convention centers in general and the new costly one in Nashville and the old Cook Convention Center and the possibility of a new one for Memphis. He said that all convention centers lose money but the purpose is to develop tourism for the city and make money on tourism generated sales taxes and hotel, motel and car rental taxes. I speculated that internet advertising and electronic face to face meetings might eventually diminish convention trade but he contended that face to face meeting were still important.


We digressed onto downtown development and I will write and speak further on this in the future. I have attached financial statements for the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and Subsidiary from June 30, 2008 through June 30, 2012. Also I have attached the 2008 through 2012 Cook Convention Center financial statements. It is very interesting to read a note in the 2012 Cook Convention Center Statement.


On August 22, 2011, the City of Memphis and Shelby County reached an agreement where the county sold its interest in the convention center for the sum of $71,490,000. The county made its final operating contribution of $1,000,000 for fiscal 2012. The county has no further obligations financial or otherwise. If hotel lodging taxes are insufficient to fund the Center’s operational deficit for any given year then the city will fund the entire operational deficit through its general fund. The Center received $1,000,000 from the City of Memphis general fund along with the final $1,000,000 from the Shelby County general fund to fund the operational deficit, and $112,166 from a tourist development zone capital fund for non designated capital expenditures. Funding totaled $2,112,116 for the 2012 fiscal year.


The City has budgeted $2,000,000 for fiscal 2013 from its general fund.

June 30, 2008 Memphis Cook Convention Center

June 30, 2009 Memphis Cook Convention Center

June 30, 2010 Memphis Cook Convention Center

June 30, 2011 Memphis Cook Convention Center

June 30, 2012 Memphis Cook Convention Center

June 30, 2008 Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau

June 30, 2009 Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau

June 30, 2010 Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau

June 30, 2011 Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau

June 30, 2012 Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau

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