Kettering plans ‘extensive’ study of Fraze Pavilion operations



Kettering plans to take a broad look at Fraze Pavilion operations in a study that will include similarly sized outdoor music venues.

The analysis of the 4,300-seat amphitheater will “include recommendations for operational improvements,” a community survey, “industry benchmarking and a review of current contractual services,” City Manager Matt Greeson said.

Kettering plans to spend up to $70,000 to hire a consultant likely by early March for the study that the city is targeting for completion this summer, said Mary Beth O’Dell, Kettering parks, recreation and cultural art director.

The city has done infrastructure studies and several surveys since the Fraze opened in 1991, but this analysis will cover several different areas, O’Dell added.

She said it would be “an extensive study” that will also involve focus groups and cost analysis.

“It’s a pretty broad approach and depending on who the consultant of choice is and how their team is designed will probably dictate the timeline in which they can execute the analysis,” she said.

Businesses submitting proposals will be required to include a timeline for completing the work.

The study will include other regional outdoor music venues with similar seating capacity. While O’Dell did not mention specific sites, The Rose Music Center in Huber Heights falls into that category.

The 4,200-seat covered amphitheater was completed in 2015.

“The music industry in Southwest Ohio has drastically changed since 1991,” Kettering records state. “Over the past (several) years, Fraze has faced headwinds with other regional venues that provide entertainment options that directly compete for customer’s time and money.”

Venues’ economic impact, something which has never been measured for the Fraze, will also be examined, O’Dell said.

While Kettering lacks several hotels — often used to help calculate economic impact — “there’s a lot of ways you can leverage a facility like an outdoor amphitheater for lots of different reasons,” she said.

The analysis will also examine other venues’ financials, how many tickets they sell, if they operate concessions, and if they hold festivals and community events. The latter two are both commonly free events and annual staples for the Fraze.

Typically, Kettering has targeted an operating loss of $300,000. Expenses for 2022 were about $800,000 more than revenues, but last year that difference was about $361,000, Kettering records show.

For 2024, the Fraze operations fund expenditures are budgeted at $400,000 greater than revenues, according to the city’s spending plan.

“Any good organization looks for continuous improvement,” O’Dell said. “I think we’re looking at receiving information and making some really good future forecast for Fraze.”

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