The arena has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The BCHL is committed to starting its season December 1 and the Spruce Kings have been preparing for the season in Kin 1.
The team has an exhibition game scheduled against the Merritt Centennials on October 25 and is hoping to play it at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena. It hopes to have access to the arena three days prior to the game.
If the Provincial Health Office (PHO) regulations do not allow arena capacity of 25 per cent, the league is guaranteed to move forward with a model of reduced games without fans. If there are no fans allowed, the league will rely on player fees along with sponsorship and government support to fund the season.
With a reduced capacity for fans at games, or possibly no fans, garnering revenue from other sources is crucial.
The Spruce Kings are currently negotiating partnerships with many businesses in Prince George for advertising space in viewable areas of the online broadcast of all BCHL games. This is the main focus of the BCHL and its teams as it is the only revenue stream available this season. The total value of these viewable items is $125,000. Without the ability to generate this revenue, the Spruce Kings season is in serious jeopardy, according to a report going to council.
“The RMCA is the only option for the Spruce Kings to generate this revenue,” according to the report. “For the first time in BCHL history and the first time in the Spruce Kings’ history the team is forced to charge substantial monthly fees to the players to cover operating costs. The organization is uncomfortable having to increase those fees.”
Should the Spruce Kings not operate out of the RMCA, the naming rights contract with Rolling Mix Concrete Ltd. is in jeopardy. For the Spruce Kings, this equates to a $30,000 loss annually, $20,000 of which is the concrete for the construction of the Show Home which is provided by Rolling Mix Concrete.
A separate report to council suggests council reconsider re-opening the arena’s walking track and ice surface. However, the report says the arena is the city’s least cost-effective arena to operate. Reopening the RMCA ice surface for the 2020/21 winter season would further increase the city’s budget shortfall by approximately $250,000, according to the report.