At a meeting last night it was announced that the Summer Ball sold 538 tickets bringing in a revenue of £25k as compared with the £40k ticket income that was budgeted for. When it became apparent that the ball was not going to break even efforts were made to minimise losses. This included cancelling coaches and also negotiating a reduction in the payment made for Alexandra Palace.
The original deal for the venue was that provided 900 meals were purchased, there would be no venue hire fee. This was renegotiated last week such that only 650 meals were paid for but on top of this a venue hire fee of £5000 was paid. This arrangement brought about a saving of £3000 compared with paying for 900 meals.
Previous Summer Balls at Imperial have struggled to break even but have done so with generous sponsorship from College and external sources. This year Shell sponsored the ball to the tune of £3000 and sponsorship of £20,000 from College was offered by the Rector to Union President, Mustafa Arif. Mr Arif however declined the offer from College and also requested that money be put towards funding 24 hour library access, arguing "I think it’s outrageous that for the last few years money that could have been given to the Union for club/society grants or spent on accommodation or (dare I say it) on teaching was, instead, wasted on a big piss-up." With a £14.5k loss on the event though it appears that the only difference this year will be that the Union rather than central College resources will foot the bill.
Mr Arif has been bullish in the run up to this Summer Ball, declaring privately that the event would break even and referring to previous Balls as "Undignified Raves" in the programme for this year's Ball.
The Executive Committee last night debated whether, in light of the consistent failure of Summer Balls to break even, such events should be held in future. The idea of holding smaller events such as a graduation meal or a Freshers' dance in place of the ball was discussed.