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Dorton Arena Remains Popular Despite ESA Success

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RALEIGH — The Dorton Arena lost business when theEntertainment and Sports Arenacame to town, but people in charge of Dorton Arena say it has gained other events, even if they are not the attention grabbers the ESA gets.

One would think administrators at the N.C. State Fairgrounds miss the days when ice hockey dominated the Dorton Arena. They do not.

Even though monthly revenues are down 50 percent, monthly profits are down just 20 percent.

"Ice hockey events were expensive to maintain the utilities that were required," says Wesley Wyatt, Fairgrounds manager. "The events we have in here are not quite as demanding from that point of view."

The Fairgrounds manager says losing hockey has opened up Dorton Arena to take on other events, including last weekend's boat show and the upcoming RV show.

"Well, we've had a number of religious meetings here," Wyatt says. "We've had some Christmas pageants by churches. We've had an Islamic meeting, and we've even have a Buddhist meeting scheduled for later this year"

The Entertainment and Sports Arena, which took ice hockey, ice skating, and the circus from Dorton, believes there is a role for both facilities.

"We don't consider ourselves in competition with Dorton Arena," says Larry Perkins, Assistant General Manager of the Entertainment and Sports Arena. "I think there's a harmony we need to balance here with them and they've been great sports and supporters of us."

Officials say people may not have seen the last athletic event at Dorton Arena.

"We're are talking some other professional sporting businesses that are interested in being part of Dorton Arena, but there is nothing concrete yet," Wyatt says.

The Fairgrounds will not reveal what kind of sports team might come to Dorton Arena. The Fairgrounds manager also pointed out the profits made at Dorton Arena only represent a small portion of the its budget.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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