Kino Sports Complex expected to have best year yet for profits - Tucson News Now

Kino Sports Complex expected to have best year yet for profits

(Source: Kino Sports Complex) (Source: Kino Sports Complex)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Kino Sports Stadium will likely generate more money in 2017 than it has in its 20-year history.

When major league baseball held spring training at the $38 million complex, Pima County generated about $1 million a year in profits, once all debts were paid.

In 2016, the profits were $1.3 million and is expected to exceed that this year, nearing $1.5 million.

The turnaround has been nothing short of spectacular because the year after the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox pulled up stakes for Phoenix, the stadium produced about $100,000.

A big part of the reason for the turnaround is the complex has been converted from a baseball spring training facility, to a community complex that hosts a variety of events.

In the past year, the complex was booked for 271 days out of a possible 303 days.

It's not possible to schedule it every day because of repair and clean up time following some events like outdoor concerts and other large events, as it may take a day or two to clean up the complex and ready it for the next event.

However, 2018 may be busier than ever according to the complex director, Reenie Ochoa, who took the job a year and a half ago after 30 years with the city of Tucson.

"2018, our calendar is filled up pretty much," she said. "Of the 52 weekends, I'd say we're at capacity for 30 of those weekends right now."

While the community has stepped  up to use the complex, the Gem Show has grown on the site, more concerts are using it as an outdoor venue and out of state sports events have discovered the stadium and its quality conditioning.

"We've got a lot of tournaments that come from out of state, which helps with hotel rooms, rental cars and everything we need for the economic impact of the city," said Ochoa. "But anything is possible."

While the county has engineered a comeback from spring training abandoning the city, not everyone has been able to do the same.

The Ajo Cafe, just down the street from the complex, has seen a steep drop off since the baseball teams left.

"It's dropped off," said Lupita Portillo, a co-owner of the small breakfast and lunch cafe. "It's no longer like it used to be."

Pictures hang on the wall of Diamondback players who used to frequent the cafe. 

"They were regulars here," she said. "they used to come a lot when they were here."

The cafe still depends on local traffic from the nearby industrial complex and some of the people who have been coming in for years.

It's been open since 1952 and still does a brisk business, but Portillo wishes there was something the county could do to help with the drop off. 

"Let them know we're here and we're open, and such as hours, things like that would help," she said. 

The Gem show helps. "It's one of our busiest times now," said Portillo. 

Some customers said the home style cooking, menu and great service keep them coming back. But something has been lost.

"It's just now like it was before, when baseball players were here," she said.

But for Pima County, it's likely better than before and is encouraging local events to scout the location.

"The community in general obviously with that increase in income and revenue, is using the facility just that much more," said Ochoa. "We are still alive and well."

Kino Sports Complex and Stadium District Financial Revenue Performance by Tucson News Now on Scribd

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