Rush ask Civic Center to cover $73,500 October losses

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) -- Rapid City's minor league hockey team continues to skate on thin financial ice and needs a bailout from the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center of more than $73,000.

The Rapid City Rush came to Civic Center managers a year ago with a problem.

The team couldn't meet its financial obligations.

The Civic Center agreed to help and the two sides worked out a deal -- signed back in May -- that made the Civic Center a "minor partner" in the team and obligated the center to cover Rush financial losses up to $350,000 a year for three years.

On Tuesday the first payment to the team under that agreement comes before the Civic Center board.

The Rush took the town by storm a decade ago and played in front of sold out crowds.

But in the last few years the team has come up short in the win column and on the bottom line.

Managing partner Scott Mueller said back in May, "Winning helps a lot of things."

This season the team's popularity is flagging and attendance is down 22 percent compared to last year, with an average crowd of about 2,400 fans --despite a winning record of 6 and 5.

Just four years ago the team was drawing over 3,800 fans a game.
Mayor Steve Allender has said none of the potential payments to the team comes from taxpayer funds but the Civic Center itself does receive millions of dollars a year in tax subsidies.