(7/15/19) The Democratic nominees for Rochester City Council, Northwest District, and Monroe County Legislator, 21st District, have serious questions about the management of Blue Cross Arena. This city-owned facility is subsidized by city and county taxpayers.
The Democrat and Chronicle has reported the loss or potential loss of major events at the arena, including Jehova’s Witnesses convention, Disney on Ice, Monster Jam and Sesame Street Live. We have also heard from local organizations struggling to book events. All have cited dramatic increases in fees to use the facility.
The arena is an important facility to the residents of the City of Rochester and Monroe County. The loss of these events necessitates a review of the operations.
“This is a community-owned asset and it should be available for events enjoyed by the community,” said Rachel Barnhart, Democratic nominee for the 21st District.
“The community deserves answers about what is going on. Why was SMG able to book the same events without any issues?” said Joe Peo, Democratic nominee for the Northwest District.
We need to know whether Pegula Sports Entertainment is in violation of its management contract for the facility and whether the firm is engaged in self-dealing. PSE has interests in Buffalo that could conflict with its desire to attract events to Rochester.
We also need to compare year-to-year attendance, event-booking and revenue.
We have filed Freedom of Information requests for the PSE contract with the city, event-booking data and any investments PSE has made in the arena. Barnhart has previously noted an unexplained $1.1 million payment from the city to PSE.