KENT, Wash. — Live events at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent have been on pause since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. No shows and no money means the arena has suffered about a million dollar loss in revenue.
"It’s been a struggle. March 8 was our last event, 2020,” said General Manager Tim Higgins.
Since then, it's been lights out in an arena that’s used to bringing hockey fans and music lovers together.
"In my 42 years in this business throughout the entire country, never seen anything like this,” said Higgins.
Higgins said the first two months of 2020 had record-breaking revenue, and that trend was expected to continue the rest of the year.
"It would’ve been a significant year for us. Based on 58 canceled events we believe it would’ve been one of our better years,” said Higgins.
Last year, the accesso ShoWare Center lost $1.14 million in revenue due to the pandemic, and it was an even larger loss for the local economy.
"Five hundred thousand people coming down to this area annually, economic impact of about $20 million a year,” said Higgins.
The arena had to lay off and furlough more than a dozen full-time employees. Now that the arena is a King County vaccination site, Higgins is hopeful the end is near.
"Please come out and get vaccinated. Help us get back to work; help us do what we need to do to bring you entertainment,” said Higgins.
Eyeing vaccinations as the way out, Higgins said there are already talks to bring in big-ticket events.
"We talked about Disney on Ice coming back at the end of this year. That’s going to happen. It’s going to happen with your help,” said Higgins.