The city-owned corporation that manages Mile One Centre and the St. John's Convention Centre is reporting its best financial results ever, although it still requires a public subsidy.
St. John's Sports and Entertainment reported to council that it required less than $300,000 from the city to operate, well below the $1 million that had been set aside for it.
Chair Gerry Smith said Mile One itself did particularly well, thanks to a series of sell-out games of the St. John's IceCaps and a number of high-profile performances.
"Mile One Centre this year came close to breaking even," Smith said.
"You can attribute that to significant revenue increases. We had a banner year for concerts, and without a question, the return of the American Hockey League has made a significant impact as well on all the operations here at Mile One."
The city is expanding the convention centre in hope of attracting larger — and far more lucrative — national conventions. Preparation work on the $52.7-million expansion, which will almost double the amount of meeting space, has begun. The expanded centre is expected to open in the spring of 2016.
Coun. Danny Breen, who sits on the St. John's Sports and Entertainment board, said the finances for Mile One and the convention centre have improved dramatically.
In 2008, the city had to pour $1.8 million into Sports and Entertainment, and $2.1 million in the year before that.
"That's quite a significant turnaround. They've done a great job at managing the expenses there," said Breen. "Bringing hockey back to St. John's has had a big impact as well."
Breen said he estimates that Mile One and the convention centre create an estimated $6-million to $8-million annually in spinoff benefits for the city.
Mile One opened in 2001, and was built as a home for the St. John's Maple Leafs, the former farm team for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs relocated the team to Toronto in 2005.
The Fog Devils played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2005 to 2008.
Mile One did not have an anchor sports tenant until the St. John's IceCaps, the farm team for the Winnipeg Jets, debuted in 2011.