How doomed is the Broomfield Event Center?

The Denver Business Journal is reporting that Tim Wiens wants out of his agreement to manage the Broomfield Event Center, which opened in 2006 -- and that's not good news for local officials. The city bankrolled the 6,000-seat arena with $60 million worth of bonds that are supposed to be repaid from tax revenue from the facility. But things are so bad money-wise that Broomfield Sports, the firm Wiens runs with partner John Frew, couldn't even afford to pay the center's utility bill in November and December, leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab.

I'm not surprised that the center is struggling. I've been to the venue precisely once in the past two-years plus -- to see Weezer and Angels & Airwaves and Tokyo Police Club in October -- and I wasn't exactly wowed by the experience.

In the live review linked above, I described the joint as "weirdly inaccessible" -- and that's as politely as I could put it. My daughter Lora and I had tickets for the gig, and in attempting to get to the show, I took what seemed to be the most logical exit off Highway 36 only to discover that roads leading to the west side of the center had been closed. After driving around aimlessly for a few minutes, looking in vain for assistance from signage, I got back on the highway headed in the opposite direction, took a different exit and then traveled along a frontage road for a mile or more before encountering my next problem: The main route to the structure's east was blocked, too.

I subsequently stopped to ask a security staffer for help, but she seemed as confused as I was. In the end, I headed south for quite a stretch, then followed headlights to a fairly empty parking structure. The lack of cars corresponded to the small crowd size. The arena was only about 20 percent full when Lora and I arrived, about ten minutes after the concert's published start time; it wound up at between half and two-thirds of capacity, maybe, by the time Weezer took the stage.

Such issues aren't to blame for the center's profit struggles. Simply put, the area didn't need another venue of this size during good economic times -- and the ones we're living through now certainly don't fit that description. But they're far from helpful, adding to a litany of woe that will assuredly grow longer in the near future.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts