EXCLUSIVE: No correlation between Convention Center and Airport usage

The Convention Center is said to be an economic driver that brings in outside visitors to Spokane, and this is the justification for continually expanding the facilities.  In just a few years, the PFD will seek additional taxes to expand again.

Does this economic driver work? Here is a comparison of airport usage versus convention center usage. Visually, there is no correlation; statistically, the R-squared value of the correlation is 1.6% (meaning zilch correlation).

AirVsConvention

If the Convention Center brings in outside visitors, they do not arrive by air or the number is so insignificant as to have no impact.

The air passenger data was scaled to a similar range to the Convention Center attendance for the purpose of comparison. In the chart above, the Y-axis shows convention center attendance; multiply by 10 for the air passenger number.

There is no correlation with jobs, either.

The top 2 largest events account for more than 25% of all usage:

  • Bloomsday, 47,346 people
  • PNQ Volleyball, 44,461 people

Outside of those two events, the remaining events average less than 700 people per day, the rest of the year. 

The Convention Center was just expanded so it can accommodate large events. Unfortunately, for a facility designed to accommodate up to 6,500 people, actual utilization is closer to 10% of best case, most of the year.

Spokane Convention Center Usage By Month

SpokaneCCByMonth

Spokane Arena By Month

For many months, the facility is almost unused.

SpokaneArenaByMonth

Spokane INB Performing Arts Center

The INB Performing Arts Center is barely used for several months of the year.

SpokaneINBByMonthAll charts come from the SpokanePFD.org web site and the 2014 end of year annual report produced by the Spokane PFD.

Keep this in mind when in 2 or 3 more years, the Spokane PFD comes asking for more money for yet another expansion of their empty facilities.

Hoopfest Ironman

EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) Attendance thru 2014

The following charts show the attendance trend through the end of 2014 for Spokane PFD facilities.

The upward growth at the right of the combined “all facilities” attendance is due almost entirely to a sharp upwards trend at the Convention Center in 2014. Combined facilities attendance trend still remains slightly down over the 15 year period since 2000.

AllFacilities

image (1)

image (2)

The Convention Center experienced its first significant increase in attendance in a decade. Two events accounted for nearly 30% of all usage during the entire year. (Most of the year, the facility is used sparsely with small meetings of 100 or so people each day.)

image

This increase occurred prior to the completion of the third expansion of the Convention Center facilities, which opened in early 2015.  After more than a dozen years of flat to downward usage, and three taxpayer funded expansion projects, the CC has broken through its past “no growth” ceiling.

The above charts have never appeared in any Spokane media outlets – the attendance figures are intended to be top secret, apparently. All data comes from the Spokane PFD.