— The Mankato air show generated about $670,000 in revenues, including about $30,000 in profit.
Its financial success and quality — as measured in part by a thumbs-up from the military’s flight team — is leading its city and volunteer organizers to declare it a success.
“I think the big takeaway for me is how the community really came together,” said Burt Lyman, executive director of the Verizon Wireless Center, whose staff helped organize the June 9 and 10 show. “I was very proud to be a Mankatoan.”
The profit will be set aside for a future air show.
The air show also generated about $25,000 for local charities. That broke down to $10,000 for the United Way and $15,000 for charities that provided volunteers.
Each charity already received $15 per volunteer per day, or about $7,500. The latest budget figures gave organizers the confidence to double it to $15,000.
The United Way didn’t send volunteers, but the Blue Angels require host cities to choose a charity to send profits to.
Fred Lutz, who co-chaired the air show committee with Dick Kottom, read aloud at the City Council meeting a letter from Navy Lt. Cmdr. Todd Royles, a Blue Angels member who helped organize the event.
The Navy evaluates the performance of host cities, and Royles’ letter gave the city high praise. He said he would “highly recommend” the Mankato show site for future teams.
The city will be unlikely to pursue an air show until at least 2015, though, because of the work involved and concern that people won’t want to see another air show so soon.
The show generated an estimated economic impact of $7.4 million, exceeding previous estimates of $5 million. The formula, which is the same one used for civic center events, estimates 4 percent of visitors stayed at area hotels overnight.
There were about 22,000 tickets sold, while an estimated 35,000 people attended the event. The larger number includes children younger than 11 — who got in free — as well as people who didn’t have to pay. Corporate sponsors got free tickets, and some vendors got paid in free tickets instead of money.
The air show took in more money from ticket sales than expected, about $440,000, but the show also cost more to produce. Several days before the show, Lyman said its budget would be about $450,000, but closer to $640,000 was actually spent.
There were several reasons for the higher spending.
First, air teams spent an extra day practicing, driving up the event’s fuel tab to about $75,000.
Second, while Lyman believes the Blue Angels’ ability to land in Mankato (rather than fly from the Twin Cities) improved the show, it did add security costs.
Finally, massive crowds pushed up costs all over the budget, from fencing to hot dogs. That was good because it added ticket sales, but more customers meant more work.