EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) Attendance Trend through 2013

The Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) operates the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, the Spokane Convention Center and the Spokane INB Performing Arts Center.

Attendance (usage) trend through end of 2013 for all PFD facilities, combined:


Based on the following trend line,  the INB will close in 2025 when it is no longer in use:


Convention Center attendance less than 2001

The third expansion project is nearly done – considering attendance is less than 2001, a year-over-year increase should not be difficult to achieve in 2014 or 2015.


Spokane Arena Saw a 10% increase Y-o-Y

Without the Arena, the PFD’s total attendance would have sunk further in 2013. The two spikes are the years that the U.S. Figure Skating Championships were held in Spokane. The PFD produced and released economic studies based on exactly those two years and forecast future economic benefits to Spokane would be identical to those atypical years.

Even with gains in 2013, attendance in 2013 remains less than in 1999.


The Spokane Chiefs and the Spokane Shock accounted for more than half of total Arena attendance in 2012. The new 2014 WSU-GU basketball game may help the Arena see better usage.

The above attendance trend charts have never appeared in Spokane media. The attendance charts do not appear on the PFD’s web sites. (Similarly, Spokane Airports has a nice redesign of their web site – but it appears they have removed their passenger usage information. The data is available, with a bit of work, from the FAA and BTS.)

The long term trends illustrate a root cause problem for all of Spokane – the lack of accountability and the failure to hold management (not just a problem at the PFD but at other organizations’ too) accountable for obvious measures of project success or failure.

With the abysmal performance and track record shown in the charts, why do we still have a CEO for life of the PFD? Or CEOs for life at other local organizations that fail to meet milestones and objectives?

Update: That question can now be answered: Because the Spokesman-Review’s owners own a big section of downtown Spokane and the newspaper has launched an all out propaganda war, running repeated stories about how wonderful the Convention Center expansion is for Spokane. The paper has made a mockery of itself with over the top propaganda to benefit the PFD and the downtown business cartel.


All data came from EWU Community Indicators of Spokane and Spokane PFD web site documents. 

Data sources and Alternate Data Confirmation follows.

Just Plain Weird

The Spokane PFD web site prominently features “SPFD Becomes Mobility Model – Read the Article Here”. Uh, that is a Cisco promotional piece from 2009! Spokane is typically behind the times – it’s almost 2015!



Data Confirmation

For those who think the above charts are “hardly trustworthy as-is”, additional data and charts are presented to confirm the reality. Reality hurts, doesn’t it?

Below is a similar chart from the EWU Community Indicators of Spokane web site confirming the charts shown above. To read the EWU chart, start with lines at the left and find key symbols at bottom, then follow the lines to the right.

When you closely follow the lines, you can see that the Spokane Public Facilities District’s (mis) managed facilities are down throughout these 13-15 year periods: Convention Center, INB, Fair & Expo Center, and the Arena – all have seen a decline in usage over this period. Only Joe Albi has increased, but the stadium is managed by the parks department and the school districts, not the failed PFD.



1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Spokane Convention Center  NA  NA 259451 297814 246353 228856 182795 214189 291211 269373 271419 274422 247678 284556 243848
INB Performing Arts Center (Opera House) 281104 313380 281081 237070 228185 253740 261969 207420 197477 209923 201504 133613 157285 173567 159033
Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena 652447 700170 708378 752444 689480 709000 647698 701252 865589 723144 685093 879813 639081 601206 659461
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Total PFD 933551 1013550 1248910 1287328 1164018 1191596 1092462 1122861 1354277 1202440 1158016 1287848 1044044 1059329 1062342

Gonzaga University Bulldogs Washington State University Cougars WSU GU ESPN Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena


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