Stadium lotto: get unlucky

Comments on Stadium Semantics by Calvin Oaten at ODT Online (Sun, 7 Jun 2009). Mr Oaten posted this item at What if? the same day.

### ODT Online Mon, 08/06/2009 – 3:55pm.
Comment by PaulontheBay on Stadium Semantics

But of course the nay-sayers have forgotten the biggest “What If”:
What if it is an outrageous success. Wouldn’t that be a shame.

### ODT Online Mon, 08/06/2009 – 4:48pm.
Comment by gplusa on What if

So one author would use his last 5 dollars to buy a Lotto ticket. Because, “what if” it wins? Sure, it’s great if that gamble is a howling success. But if it’s not, then you’ve lost everything. It’s about using limited resources in the best way possible with the least amount of risk possible. This is a high risk gamble with no safety net if it doesn’t succeed. Sure, a few millionaires have been made with such gambles, but many more have had their dreams destroyed instead. Few sensible people are going to play that game on a “what if”.

### ODT Online Mon, 08/06/2009 – 7:47pm.
Comment by photonz on Stadium – success or failure?

For the Stadium to be an outrageous success, or even a mild success, first it would need to cover its costs. Costs are at least $13m per year just for DCC loan repayments and depreciation, but forecast profit is just $0.28m.
Read more


Filed under Architecture, Economics, Geography, Hot air, Politics, Stadiums

39 responses to “Stadium lotto: get unlucky

  1. What a shame these ‘long time listeners – first time callers’ didn’t mention it will take 100 years to repay, have a capacity of 19,000, prone to terrorist attacks, sink into the sea, melt on our heads, rain on our heads….

  2. David

    You may scoff at silly ideas Paul, but you’ve just admitted you think putting temporary swimming pools in the stadium for major swim meets is a good idea. (and temporary ice rinks)

  3. David

    Permanent seating is not 19,000. The minimum DCC requirement was suposed to be 18,000, but it didn’t quite reach that either. As it stands, permanent seating is 17,242.

    There are a further 5000 “relocatable” seats. With standing, this will squeak to just over 30,000 – more than 10,000 LESS than Carisbrook.

  4. David

    Elizabeth – how does the grass pitch go when you remove all sunlight and half freeze it? (considering the grass is already on the limit of what will grow with light and heat).

    Ice shows don’t exactly need facilities for large crowds. The famous Ice Capades (which went for 50 years) reformed in 2000 and quickly went bust, again late last year, but has already gone bust again.

    I’m sure a temporary scaffold stand for a few thousand at the Ice Rink would be more than adequate.

    The point is we already have a good pool, a good ice rink, and a good basketball/netball court (and a good rugby stadium).

  5. Phil

    I’ll buy into the ice rink discussion, but from a different angle. I don’t know if the good folks in NZ realise quite how big the achievement was of the NZ team to win the Div 3 world champs a few months back. The number of registered ice hockey players world wide is up there with rugby players, and is definitely the number one winter spectator sport for 500 million Europeans, with near on one billion viewers for the recent top grade world champs. With the right promotion and facility drawcard for exhibition matches, this sport could explode here. But, like Elton John, the Russian national team are not going to come and play in front of a half full stadium. That’s the challenge.

  6. David

    Elizabeth – I was just wondering about the feasibility of bringing all that equipment so far (or buying it), and all the effort of setting it up, and all the effort of pulling it down, and then the expense of taking it away again, for a very small population base, for a niche entertainment, for a small population base, and still having to build temporary grandstands around the ice anyway – when the substantially cheaper alternative is to just do the last bit (temporary stand) around a pre-existing facility.

    I don’t doubt that it can be done. But it makes as much sense as building a whole new temporary swimming complex inside the stadium – when we already have one at Moana Pool.

    Or building a whole new rugby stadium with a roof when we have one (where three quarters of the stands already have roofs).

  7. Apart from the logistics of preparing an artificial temporary ice rink, has anyone any idea of the energy – read electricity – required to create and maintain an ice surface? As a retired refrigeration engineer I would not bore you with the details. Let’s just say it would overwhelm you if you knew.

  8. Elizabeth,
    It is the creation of an ice sheet that is the principal problem. It all has to do with the difference in specific heat as opposed to latent heat characteristics. I will leave it at that.

  9. LG

    Hi Calvin,
    I’m deeply intrigued about why it would be difficult to do in Dunedin, when apparently there is no problem with putting an ice rink in Cathedral Square?

  10. LG,
    It is not whether it can be done or not, it is the energy cost that is never mentioned. The maintenance of an ice sheet in a purpose designed environment is not the same as a temporary short term creation in a hostile environment like the stadium. Again, the start up energy load is the point. As I say, you are dealing with the specific heat of the medium-water- both sensible and latent plus the elemental load of the environment.

  11. There is no trouble putting ice rinks over a number of London landmarks.

    Don’t you just love the language (hostile environment), like it’s ‘out to get’ the ice.

    Yes there is an expense to running an Ice rink, even temporary ones, but then these costs are offset against the projected income from projects. If there isn’t any money in putting in an Ice Rink and the associated possible lower tier world champs, then I would assume they wouldn’t be doing it.

    Mind you it’s that nasty C word which is getting all of the anti-stadium folks’ backs up – Cost.

    Anything that costs is automatically assumed to be bad or expensive and of little purpose.

  12. “I would not bore you with the details”

    Would this be modern technology Calvin, and no I’m not being facetious here. How come all over London (Kew Gardens & Hampton Court Palace to name but two I know of) every winter they put these things up outdoors for people to frivolously skate on. Surely these must be prohibitively expensive as you are alluding to. Or could it be that the cost is offset by the income, and in the case of any suggested tournaments, this would be the same.

    I would suggest it’s not the boring details but the suggestion that a wallet needs to be pried from one’s back pocket which is the ‘boring’ detail.

    Because, I have seen these all over the place, Vancouver, Toronto, London, Edinburgy, Chicago and other cities.

    I love the current Ice stadium, there is possibly no greater Ice Hockey fan in the whole of NZ (been watching for over 25 years). The stadiums could hold games between them and say CHCH, with any final in Dunedin.

  13. LG

    I’m sure that the amount of effort required for the state change is immense, and that there is an associated cost with that. However, the temporary rink in Christchurch has sponsorship from a national organisation, and there is also the income from the people using it. It’s all swings and roundabouts. I’d suggest that getting an electricity company to sponsor it, and make the best advantage of cold night temperatures and spare capacity in the wee hours.

  14. David

    Or people could just go to the Ice Stadium we already have.

  15. David

    Or the rugby stadium we already have.

  16. David

    Or the swimming pool, or basketball court, or netball court we already have.

    Or the conference facilities we’re about to pay $45m for.

    Why are we spending tens of millions of dollars in public money to duplicate conference facilities that are going to be used half a dozen times a year (between them). What a massive waste of money.

    But then this council is hell-bent on spending literally hundreds of millions of ratepayer dollars to build facilities we already have.

  17. And David, I have a box brownie, could you please advise me, I wish to produce some fine digital imagery soon, will said box brownie suffice, or should i be upgrading to my parents Instamatic, there is a very good piece of elasterplast holding bits of it together – I’m guessing this is good enough!


    If we ever wish to hold more than Rebels or Highlanders games and tournaments in this city, or rise above the dizzy heights of Bryn Terfel and Pink Floyd tribute bands, then we need to find the facilities which will do this.

    While the rest of the country will be basking in the glory and spectacle which could and most probably will be massive international sporting tournaments like the U20 football world cup, and top international concerts, the Parsimony which pervades this city will be to the detriment of the young people who wish to stay and bring up families here.

  18. David

    Paul – there is only one thing that will ever prove you are right.

    And you’ve never ever been able to produce that – you haven’t even attempted to.

    I’ve said in the past, I will support the stadium if you can come up with one simple thing.

    That is a sound financial argument that the stadium will benefit the people who are paying for it, or even just a majority of them.

    But if someone so pro-stadium as yourself cannot provide a sound financial argument for it, that speaks volumes.

  19. David


    Of course we are. The new corporate boxes will be demolished at Carisbrook and rebuilt at Awatea St.

    The new Railway Stand and its roof will be demolished at Carisbrook and rebuilt.

    The new multi million dollar lighting will be demolished, and new lighting will be built.

    The new pitch which took years to get right at a great cost, will be duplicated at Awatea St.

    We have a rugby stadium, over half of it new. We will rip it down and build another one.

    For $200m what do we get extra?

    Visitors for three world cup games? No – they’re coming anyway.

    Super 14 and NPC? No – we get those anyway.

    Test matches? Well we’ve been getting those at Carisbrook anyway, and the new stadium is downgraded to miss A Grade tests.

    Lots of top concerts? No. Wellington, with four times our population, has only had about one top concert at the Cake Tin in the last couple of years.

    We might get a marching band competition, but then we don’t need a new stadium for that.

    So $200m for what? The main thing we get is a large ego trip.

  20. And they call me repetitive. You produce SOUND economics (backed up by Accountants if you don’t mind) that this will be a financial disaster and I’ll happily consider my opinion.

    What this has already been done, and they didn’t come to this conclusion, damn what a shame.

  21. David

    Paul – it’s a simple thing – a sound financial argument for the stadium.

    Clearly you don’t have one.

  22. LG

    The Westpac Statdium pulls 1-2 concerts a year, and, interestingly, gets used on average 3 days a month, at a guess.

    It’s also interesting to note that according to that website, it was built within budget.

  23. David

    With virtually no ratepayer money

  24. Phil

    Kind of feel that this thread might be starting to lose its way a little here. However, the issue of duplication got me to thinking. There is a requirement under the Building Act to minimise construction waste. This applies to both construction and demolition works. Given that we are building a newer version of an existing structure ( and we own both structures ), does anyone from the inner sanctum know what procedures are in place for this ? A number of items can potentially be salvaged and relocated from the existing site. Things like some of the newer seating, lighting rigs, structural roof steel, corporate box glazing, hand rails, and the like. Some things on the existing site are old, but not everything. Had this been thought through a little better, the construction of the new would have been coordinated with the demolition of the old. Concrete walls from demolished buildings on the new site should be being used as aggregate for new concrete batching. This was done very successfully on the Mitre 10 site. I haven’t checked the site out so I don’t know if the entire site is currently being cleared to landfill or not. Aside from the environmentally responsible aspect ( and associated good press ), there’s some serious potential cost savings to be had. Could be as much as 10% of the project value at a quick glance. If these are happening already, then a bit of positive publicity will help the project profile a lot. At a time when sustainability is a big interest topic worldwide, it would be something of a travesty to be found wanting in that area for a project of this scale. I suspect that the risk factor of not completing the stadium prior to the RWC means that the existing structure will have to remain fully intact until the new stadium is practically commissioned. Shame, that.

  25. David

    LG – your numbers are about right for Westpac Stadium – 3 events per month or around 35 per year (i.e. empty 330 days per year).

    However half (some years well over half) of the events are cricket, rugby sevens tournament, and professional soccer, none of which we’re likely to get here.

    So we’ll get a dozen rugby games plus occasional one off events. NPC games are now forecast to get less than 5,000 per game at the new stadium, and Super 14 has been revised down again.

    Our stadium will be empty around 350 days per year, and with any luck we’ll equal Westpac Stadium and get one concert per year (they have none this year, had two last year, and none in 07), but it’s not likely to be such big acts as Wellington gets.

    When you compare what we might get, compared to what we currently get, then we’re paying $200m to get perhaps a 10% increase from the current situation.

  26. Elizabeth

    Yep. This is where CST’s PR machine utterly fails, it would’ve got the public moved on from the debacle of the GMP contract being signed with what initial demo antics and OSH issues…

    Absolutely, what you’re suggesting Phil could’ve been the BEST news yet…as you say, tying code requirements and sustainable building practice to the glad notion of “re-use” and with a publishable cost saving to win hearts.

    It’s unclear if CST’s following its good-aims brief on Environmentally sustainable design (ESD) in any way at all, and what that means for on site building practice generally. Link

    I guess Carisbrook will end up in the dumpster.

    How to be mightily UNSUSTAINABLE. Thanks CST. Thanks DCC.

  27. LG

    Phil — apparently there are 3 big acts a year, but according to their annual report, it actually in use 284 days a year (don’t understand) what this use is.

    Elizabeth — I was flicking through the Annual Reports for the Caketin. The ‘loans’ from the WRC and WCC do not appear to attract interest or principal repayments.
    The revenue from the stadium itself covers the interest and principal repayments on the bankloan facility.

  28. LG

    There are a few unanswered questions about the Westpac stadium funding that make me curious.
    I’m not surprised about the loan-as-grant, although I assume if the stadium pays off the bank loan and is still in profit, then the councils might see their money back there.

    It also seems rather more transparent to me to have the Stadium organisation taking out a bank loan rather than the city (although I suspect the councils may have had to guarantee the loan). Also, with the debate around GST, the Westpac Stadium was eventually determined to be a proper charity, so I assume that negates the GST issue.

    I would very much love to see an independent accountant run over the figures, and the two stadium financing structures. With people having such clear vested interests, it’s hard to tell where the credibility lies.

  29. Phil

    LG, I think someone worked out what there were a total of 7 “event days” at the Wellington Stadium last year that didn’t involve football. Those 7 days included things like craft fairs and baby toys sales. The same things that we have at the Edgar Centre today. Maybe those are big acts if you like buying baby toys and home made scones. Wellington’s stadium is a football stadium. Just like us.

  30. And why is Wellington Stadium a ‘football’ field, that is because it doesn’t have a roof and sod all can be held there without exposure to the fickle Wgtn climate.

    Could someone ‘qualify’ the 7 event days. Because if we are including everything that wasn’t rugby there, how about the Wgtn Phoenix, the concerts, that’s already more than 7, and it doesn’t even have a roof.

  31. Phil

    Football included for the Phoenix (who are a locally owned company), and the 7’s. Sorry for the confusion there. I deliberately tried to avoid the word rugby. Those extra 7 days of use was for all other (non football) events including concerts, fairs and conferences. Hope that clarifies things.

  32. Phil

    Wellington’s stadium is a football stadium because that’s its primary function and dominant user. If the football fails as a commercial viability, then the stadium fails. I believe it’s possible, at least before the last upgrade, to get married at the Rialto Theatre in Dunedin. A rather cool idea, you could rent out a theatre afterwards for all the guests. It even has a roof. However, Rialto is not a multi purpose entertainment complex, it’s the Rialto movie theatre. If no one comes to watch movies, the place will close. It can’t rely on 7 weddings a year to survive. Ditto for Wall Street. It’s a shopping mall, not a multi purpose “come and meet the All Blacks” convention centre. It relies on its core activity to succeed. Sometimes things just are what they are. And that’s ok.

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