Milwaukee World Festival revenue up in 2017

Summerfest parent organization posts gains in 50th anniversary year

Zimmerman Architectural Studios will design the Silver Lining Amphitheater. Zimmerman designed the Harley stage at Summerfest.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:11 pm

Operating revenue was up 12 percent for Milwaukee World Festival Inc., the nonprofit organization that runs Summerfest, in the festival’s 50th edition year.

The Harley stage at Summerfest.

Milwaukee World Festival posted a net income increase of $6 million and total operating revenue of $49.1 million in 2017, the organization reported in its recently released annual financial report. In 2016, Milwaukee World Festival reported a loss of $781,199 on operating revenue of $43 million.

The increase over 2016 was driven by a $3.3 million increase in operating income and $3.9 million increase in capital project funding by sponsors, Milwaukee World Festival officials said.

Revenue from Summerfest, which totaled $45.4 million in 2017, up from $39.2 million in 2016. Revenue from other events and other sources was down slightly from $3.8 million in 2016 to $3.7 million in 2017.

Operating expenses also increased, from $38.1 million in 2016 to $40.9 million in 2017. After deducting operating expenses, excess of support and revenue was $8.2 million in 2017, up from $4.8 million in 2016.

Summerfest officials reported attendance of 831,769 in 2017, a 3.4 percent increase over 2016.

In 2017, the organization announced American Family Insurance as its first-ever presenting sponsor, a deal that includes the construction of a new amphitheater, which is expected to cost between $30 million and $35 million, as well as a new north gate community plaza, which will open in time for this year’s festival.

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