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AC/DC rocks Fargodome bottom line

Brian Johnson sings as Angus Young plays guitar at the AC/DC show Jan. 17 at the Fargodome. Forum file photo

FARGO - Hard rockers AC/DC gave the Fargodome a major financial charge to start 2009.

The dome brought in $187,282 from the Jan. 17 concert after expenses thanks to the 21,366 who attended.

The dome had $401,447 in income in January. After expenses of $248,897, the dome cleared $152,550, General Manager Rob Sobolik said Wednesday.

That's a far cry from the nearly $90,000 in losses that had been budgeted, the Fargo Dome Authority's finance committee learned.

More good news beckons.

There are three other major concerts on tap - The Eagles on March 15, Elton John and Billy Joel on May 2, and Kenny Chesney on June 20 - before midyear.

Sobolik said about 9,000 tickets have been sold for The Eagles, and 14,000 to 15,000 tickets have been sold for the Elton John and Billy Joel concert. Neither concert is sold out, he said.

The dome also hosts the North Dakota Class A and B wrestling state tournament starting today, and the state North Dakota Class A boys and girls basketball tournament in March, Sobolik said.

"We're very, very busy the first six months. We don't have a weekend open until Memorial Day," Sobolik said.

"We could be looking at a pretty decent year. Not the best ever, but a pretty decent year," he said.

The Fargodome hosted eight events in January; six were budgeted. Attendance was 33,409, or 21,909 more than expected.

The Lori Line Christmas concert, delayed due to poor weather in December, added $12,211 in net profit, while the Rumble on the Red wrestling tournament added $26,449 in net profit, records show.

The Red River Valley Boat and Marine Show added $32,537 in net profit, about $5,000 less than budgeted, records show.

The Scheels KX4 Shootout basketball tournament added $1,516 in net proceeds, or $2,503 less than budgeted, records show.

The finance committee also received an auditor's report on the dome's 2007 and 2008 finances from Eide Bailly representative Brian Stavenger.

Stavenger said the report was "clean and unqualified," meaning no significant problems were found.

The report found the dome had $4.46 million in cash on hand at the end of 2008, about $810,760 more than at the end of 2007, mainly because of early ticket sales for AC/DC Stavenger said.

The dome had $3.8 million in revenues in 2008, a 6 percent decrease from 2007, and $3.7 million in expenses, a 5 percent decrease from 2007, the report said.

The dome still ended 2008 with net assets of $96,426, but that was down significantly from net assets of $166,584 reported at the end of 2007, the report said.