Scott Smith was wrong, and he's thrilled about it.
The president of the Greater Chattanooga Sports & Events Committee expected to lose as much as $20,000 for hosting the Southern Conference men's and women's basketball tournaments in early March. Tuesday, he said the committee wound up with a surplus of $14,156.82.
"Luckily I was really bad on my expenses," Smith said.
The 2011 SoCon event was the third to be held at McKenzie Arena, but it was the first of the three in which the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's team failed to advance. UTC won the 2005 and '09 events in Chattanooga but got bounced this year by Furman in the quarterfinals.
Smith said tournament officials scaled back on ushers and ticket takers once the Mocs were eliminated, but his biggest miscalculation was using the 2009 blueprint.
Carpeting for the concourse, dance studio, eating area and additional back rooms was purchased for the tournament two years ago at a cost of nearly $20,000. Smith said that carpet was to be used again this year and was stored in a facility that burned, but insurance covered the damage.
"We were using the expenses we had last time, and it was a huge savings not having to buy carpet again," he said. "I'm so excited to say I was wrong on what it would end up being."
The Sports Committee paid a $125,000 guarantee to host the '09 tournament and another $125,000 to host in 2010. The SoCon, in order to provide a more central location, moved the 2010 tournament to Charlotte and reduced the Sports Committee's guarantee for this year by $50,000 for its willingness to comply.
"There is no question the $50,000 saved us," Smith said.