Abbotsford taxpayers are on the hook for $1.76 million to cover the Abbotsford Heat hockey team shortfall, the city announced late Wednesday.
Last season's operating results will be presented to city council at its Monday meeting, said city manager Frank Pizzuto in a press release.
"The Heat's total revenue for the 2011/12 regular and playoff season was once again lower than we would have liked," said Pizzuto.
Lower than desired attendance and commercial sponsorship levels are factors in the deficit.
"We are naturally disappointed by these results," said Pizzuto.
The average attendance required to meet the break-even point is 3,905 paid customers; the paid customer base in 2011/12 was 2,653, according to the city.
The Heat ownership group has a 10-year supply fee agreement with the city that guarantees $5.7 million in annual revenue.
The 2011/12 shortfall follows a payout of $1,305,511 for the 2010/11 season and $450,637 in the team's inaugural 2009/2010 year.
However, Pizzuto was still optimistic about the future of the team in Abbotsford.
"The Abbotsford Heat provide an excellent professional hockey experience, great entertainment and an affordable entertainment option for everyone to enjoy.
"We will continue to work with the Heat and to focus on these assets moving forward."
The Heat and the city had hoped to capitalize on the opportunity presented by the NHL lockout but attendance this season has been fair, excepting the two sold-out games against the Vancouver farm team the Chicago Wolves at the beginning of the season.
"With the ongoing NHL lockout, the opportunity for Abbotsford residents to enjoy NHL level hockey in their own community is certainly unprecedented," said Pizzuto.
Check back at Abbotsfordtimes.com for updates.