Derby Arena was designed to replace the ageing Moorways Sports Centre. Its primary purpose has always been as a community sports building.
The Council could have simply developed a plain, basic sports hall with sports courts just like the ones many people will have seen in towns and cities up and down the country. Instead the decision was made to be more ambitious. The opportunity was taken to include track cycling and for the Arena to serve as an events venue as well.
It’s important to note that hosting events was always supposed to be a complementary activity to the sporting and fitness programmes. Originally it had been planned to host just 12 major events each year but in fact Derby Arena has exceeded this number each year that it has been in operation.
Just as with the vast majority of community sport facilities, Derby Arena was designed to be subsidised by the public purse. Shortly after Derby Arena opened the Council set an ambitious target to dramatically reduce the level of subsidy that the facility required. At this time the Council had in mind that it would implement a review of how we deliver Leisure and Culture services. However we have made the decision to take more time with the review to ensure it delivers the best results.
Currently the estimated subsidy at Derby Arena is £656,528 but has costs of £621,250 in business rates. If the facility was run externally from the council then under some alternative delivery models being explored as part of the Leisure and Culture services review it would not have to pay the £621,250 in business rates and effectively operate at a nil subsidy.
Nevertheless, we will still take action to reduce Derby Arena’s subsidy in these five ways.
- Track cycling at Derby Arena has been hugely successful with participation exceeding our expectations. We will continue to grow the numbers of people taking part in track cycling at Derby Arena and host more track cycling events.
- Many people will have seen just how competitive the gym market is and the growth in the number of competitors. So we are looking at how we can adapt our health and fitness offer so it is more dynamic and responsive to the market.
- As I said earlier, events at Derby Arena were always intended to be a complementary activity and not its primary purpose. In addition to the types of event it currently hosts, going forward we will focus on hosting more exhibitions and conferences.
- The Council as a whole is committed to being more commercially minded. One way that we will look to do this is having a renewed focus on sponsorship and advertising which will bring in additional revenue.
- Continue the review of how we deliver Leisure and Culture services that could allow Derby Arena to operate without paying £621,250 in business rates and achieve a nil subsidy.
You can find out more about what’s going on at Derby Arena at www.derbyarena.co.uk