Jeff Esposito, new General Manager of the Owensboro Convention Center, said the venue broke records in Fiscal Year 2021 and for the first time finished the year in the black.
Esposito said that the Convention Center outperformed the budget by $357,210 and had an operating net profit of $35,000. The success also translated to the SportsCenter, which performed $128,684 over budget.
“This beat last year’s operating subsidy by $966,212. The pre-pandemic Fiscal Year 2019 had been the best on record. This past fiscal year outperformed (2019) by $18,591,” Esposito said.
Esposito said it was all due to the events the Convention Center held over the year as they “roared back.” The various conventions drew more than 8,000 attendees with a net event income of $493,264.
The Convention Center also opted to add sports flooring in January 2022; Esposito said since the addition, they have brought in over 6,000 attendees with a net income of $36,000.
Going forward, Esposito said they plan double the amount of youth sports events — with an expected 10 to 12 planned already — and there are 13 conventions already set in the calendar.
“A total of $1.2 million is already on the books going into the start of the fiscal year … and that’s an increase of $250,000 compared to this year,” he said. “These are good numbers and I’m happy to be here today with some really good news.”
Visit Owensboro President/CEO Mark Calitri also echoed the success of the visitor’s agency and the city.
He said 2022 set an all-time record for the number of room nights produced, which doubled any of the previous years since the Owensboro Convention Center opened.
Visit Owensboro is also hosting the world’s largest geocaching event leading up to Memorial Day, and they are already seeing registrants from all 50 states and 15 different countries.
City Manager Nate Pagan said that through the combined efforts of Visit Owensboro and the Convention Center, the 2021 fiscal year marked the first time the operation of the Convention Center was in the black since it’s been built.