The King Cotton Holiday Classic, held Dec. 27-29, 2018, at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, was the most profitable single event the facility has seen in at least 20 years, according to the Pine Bluff Civic Auditorium Commission.
Nearly 10,000 tickets were sold over the three-day tournament on iTickets.com, allowing for nearly $40,000 in gross revenue. The convention center exclusively handled concessions for the event and generated more than $25,000 in gross revenue.
Due to the tournament's success, the Pine Bluff Convention Center has received several inquiries regarding rental for future events, such as wrestling matches, high school and collegiate tournaments, a national play and blues concerts, to name a few.
In total, the convention center brought in $300,547.43 from the City of Pine Bluff, sponsors and iTickets.com in 2018, in addition to $38,000 in expected income, for a total of $338,547.43. The convention center paid out $94,419.53 for Forward Fest, $82,776.68 for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's Homecoming comedy show and iTickets.com fees.
An additional $164,634.36 was paid out for the King Cotton Holiday Classic, which includes revenue for upgrades made to the facilities before the tournament.
The convention center finished the year $3,282.14 in the red due to upgrades and other expenses, primarily for the King Cotton tournament. It takes approximately three-to-five years for an appreciable profit and sustainability to be gained off of any new signature start-up events like the King Cotton Holiday Classic, according to the commission.