Wicked tales cont. “Monster Loser Stadiums”

So what’s new?

### http://www.nytimes.com September 7, 2010
As Stadiums Vanish, Their Debt Lives On
By Ken Belson
It’s the gift that keeps on taking. The old Giants Stadium, demolished to make way for New Meadowlands Stadium, still carries about $110 million in debt, or nearly $13 for every New Jersey resident, even though it is now a parking lot.
New Jerseyans are hardly alone in paying for stadiums that no longer exist. Residents of Seattle’s King County owe more than $80 million for the Kingdome, which was razed in 2000. The story has been similar in Indianapolis and Philadelphia. In Houston, Kansas City, Mo., Memphis and Pittsburgh, residents are paying for stadiums and arenas that were abandoned by the teams they were built for.

How municipalities acquire so much debt on buildings that have been torn down or are underused illustrates the excesses of publicly financed stadiums and the almost mystical sway professional sports teams have over politicians, voters and fans.

Read more

-Jo Craven McGinty and Griff Palmer contributed reporting.

Post by Elizabeth Kerr
Thanks to Janet Gebbie on Facebook’s The DCC has lost the plot. for the reference to this article.


Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Politics, Project management, Site, Sport, Stadiums

72 responses to “Wicked tales cont. “Monster Loser Stadiums”

  1. Peter

    How long will it take to get that deja vu feeling here in Dunedin? The monstrosity down on Awatea St is getting more hideous by the day. Granted it is impressive, size wise, but as a piece of building design it is appalling even to a lay person like myself who is not an expert in design. So unimaginative, but, heck, we’d be paying a helluva lot more than it is already costing us if it was avant garde.What is its shelf life I wonder? A stadium for the next 100, 50 or twenty years?

  2. Anonymous

    It’s the height drop between South and North stands that kills it.

    There wasn’t enough room to the North to build as big a stand as the South stand without realigning SH88 first. SH88 couldn’t be realigned in time to allow construction to be complete by RWC 2011.

    There wasn’t enough room in the GMP to build as big a stand as the South stand.

    With the smaller North stand, you get the huge difference in height and lack of symmetry that I find visually disturbing and which I believe compromises the design.

  3. Calvin Oaten

    Not half as visually disturbing as the fact that what was to be a 25,000 to 30,000 seat stadium is only going to be a 17,200 seat effort. Strangely, no-one seems the least perturbed about that fact. Lost in the BS programme I suspect.

  4. Calvin – SHUT UP!

    Capacity and seating are two completely different things, and you know very bloody well that the capacity of the stadium is not 17,200 – which you use time and time again.

    I applaud the stadium for not being fully seated because you, I and the whole bloody world knows that would limit its ability to be multi-functional. A non multi-functional stadium hosting more or less just Rugby with a couple of other sports would have played nicely to the insane conspiracy theories that it was built for the ORFU.

    But no, it’s an innovative design, with a terrace to get the most incredible atmosphere imaginable. It has removable seating so as it can hold (and WILL hold) Concerts.

    I’m not sure on what planet one can differentiate between removable seats and permanent seats as evidence of a drop in capacity.

    For all the folk outside of Dunedin may I apologise for the fall in standards of this blog. I can reassure you we are not building a couple hundred million dollar stadium to hold 17,200 people – that’s just the ramblings of a very confused person.

  5. James

    A little trigonometry suggests that symmetry is out of the question. June/July max sun angle is ~22 degrees. Symmetry would equate to pretty much no direct sunlight on the grass at all.

  6. But back to the issue at hand, that of North American sports stadium debt (apparently it’s applicable to the case here in New Zealand).

    The glaringly obvious flaw in the Anti-Stadium’s claims that this is a warning for Dunedin can be found in a simple sentence:

    “…residents are paying for stadiums and arenas that were abandoned by the teams they were built for.”

    That is the crux of the issue and quite simply the ONLY factor that should be relevant here.

    Simple sports history lesson for those who don’t know, in North America towns are cities are more or less held ransom by the massive professional sports franchises based there. And again the word is Franchises. These are teams owned by (normally) a person who can and has done numerously throughout the past century of American sports, move their teams – often to the opposite sides of the continent.

    It’s a well known (but still sad) story of the pitfalls of trying to host a Pro Sports franchise in the US. Simply put, if the owner of a team demands a new stadium, tax breaks etc, and the city doesn’t concede to these demands then the next city which does offer these conditions becomes the home for that sports franchise.

    This is the true crux of this story. Yes local bodies built these stadiums, but not for the city (like here in Dunedin), but for professional sports teams, or put it another way – Private businesses.

    This is not the case here in Dunedin, and thus the argument is nothing more than a tale of woe for those poor ratepayers in the affected city in North America, but it certainly is not a cautionary tale for the ratepayers of Dunedin – not unless the ORFU decides to become the Ohakune Rugby Football Union.

    DCC has lost the plot – more like Facebook page fail once again.

  7. and James that is the simple fact of the matter re the shape of the stadium. The smaller of the two stands enables the sun to shine on the entire grass even on the shortest day of the year.

    • Elizabeth

      Paul – as a result of the SH88 issues there has been a ‘refinement’ that is not at all visually appealing in the overall form of the stadium, I’ve commented on the formal issue before at this blog – which is a medium that has warmly encouraged debate for and against the stadium for quite some time.

      The discrepancy in size between the north and south stands hasn’t merely been an effort to get sun penetration for grass growth and turf maintenance. See aerial photos by Ryan Shaw.

      What was originally promised by CST in terms of permanent seating to the Otago community has simply not transpired. We know the reasons why, as the months have gone by What if? contributors have communicated these clearly, as has CST… the stadium design has changed and the stands collectively now support a mix of permanent and temporary seating (some of which will be hired in for events).

      Many of the carrots touted have been juiced, let’s say – not just the extent of permanent seating.

      Link Go to page 4 (of 16) of the Stadium Precinct Executive Summary 7 (27 August 2010), to section 2.1 The New Forsyth Barr Stadium.

      Despite steady progress: Time, Cost, Risk, and Health & Safety, are coded Yellow, meaning current performance and previous performance stand as “Mixed – Medium Risk, some significant concerns, potentially damaging”. It would seem that only Quality (Green) is “Good – Low Risk, on track, some concerns but manageable”.

      The sentences following the graphic representation of status are rather otherworldly by comparison.

  8. Peter

    The reduced permanent seating that Calvin refers to is a statement of fact. This must mean something in terms of the ‘vision’. The temporary seating – now upscaled – can only look shoddy as it will look…….temporary. Will the stadium without the seating in place, at both ends, look like a grand railway siding?
    Paul says: ‘Yes local bodies built these stadiums, but not for the city (like here in Dunedin), but for professional sports teams, or put it another way – Private businesses.’ Well put, Paul. This is the true crux of this story here. Built for the ORFU – a private, and failing, business.

  9. There is a real possibility that the Highlanders franchise will leave Dunedin. The Highlanders are suffering significant financial losses: a situation which the owners, the New Zealand Rugby Union, says cannot continue. There are several other centres in the country which would jump at the chance of a Super 15 franchise.
    I think that Dunedin could well face an ultimatum: “subsidise the Highlanders or lose them”.

  10. Russell Garbutt

    Paul, yelling at people does not win them over.

    Neither does a number of other things, but try and look dispassionately at what facts we know – and some of those are from what we now see at the end of Union St East.

    There is nothing whatsoever that has been published by the CST, DVML or the DCC that indicates that there is any “anchor tenant” to the stadium. That, unless you can come up with anything else that the rest of us haven’t – including DCC or ORC Councillors – is a fact.

    What flows from that is that income will only be derived from “casual” bookings”. That includes all bookings for professional rugby.

    What flows from that is that all of the classified income projections that were used to sell the stadium concept to the fewer than 20 Councillors to make this happen, could be based on nothing other than thin air.

    It is a fact that the Highlanders franchise is in serious financial difficulty, and another fact that the ORFU have been arguably even more so, for a significant number of years. It is an allied fact that attendances at professional rugby matches in Dunedin, and throughout Otago, have fallen dramatically over recent years, and that this has further caused increasing financial difficulties. No matter how you may not like it, professional rugby is a failing, or failed business.

    Flowing from that is the very real possibility that the Highlanders franchise could be moved – maybe to Southland – and the Otago ITM team is relegated. Both or either of these moves would mean that the new rugby stadium’s income possibilities are even further reduced.

    It is a fact that the City’s debt levels have risen or are about to rise to unprecedented and, I would argue, to unsustainable levels. It is a fact that by any measurement by any independant body that the levels of debt are of major concern and have, or are about to breach, the DCC’s own self-imposed limits. It is a fact that the cause of this debt is in the main the new rugby stadium.

    And again, whether you like it or not, the new stadium is not a necessity. All of the necessary infrastructure may not be “sexy” Paul, but as the good people in Christchurch have found out, it is the hidden infrastructure that is very costly to maintain or replace and it is the stuff that we actually need.

    It is patently clear to me, and I put it to you, most people that pause long enough to think about it for a few moments, that this City will rue the day that it allowed these few Councillors to bulldoze the decision to borrow these millions to build a monument to vanity and professional rugby.

  11. James

    Paul, I don’t think the sun will shine on all of the grass, all of the year. Or if it does, it certainly won’t be for very long. The north stand is steeper than 22 degrees, so will provide quite a degree of shade through the morning. Dunedin is 45.8 degrees south, and using either a solar angle calculator or the more convenient sunpath map from Victoria School of Architecture*, it’s going to be even lower for the rest of the day. On the other hand, the ‘North Stand’ is much closer to North East, so the the West Stand is going to have as much a part to play as the North Stand. This is actually quite positive. The worst shaded part of the field will be whatever they call the bit beyond the goal posts in front of the West Stand. Certainly, it will be much less shaded than my lawn, which survives quite happily, although only the cat plays on it in winter.

    *Incidentally, I thoroughly recommend working out the winter sun angles before purchasing a property in Dunedin.

  12. James

    Also, a couple of tips for MikeStk, as he is commenting on this elsewhere. If you want people to take your arguments seriously, pick your best arguments, and don’t stray into saying silly stuff. Shade may be an issue but:
    * Dunedin is not 47 degrees south; that’s Stewart Island.
    * Excessive shade in winter causes grass to thin and stop growing. Sudden excessive shade in summer (think paddling pools or other stuff left lying on the lawn for a few days) causes grass to go yellow.

  13. Phil

    Geez, not the shading topic again. We’ve been through this exercise enough times already. Many people, including myself, have carried out a computer sun study model to accurately estimate the amount of direct daylight that will reach the playing surface of the new stadium. I wrote quite a detailed report about the results on this site. About A YEAR AGO. If any new arrivals are interested in reading back. The stadium is specifically designed for the playing surface to catch the maximum amount of sunlight possible. And it’s pretty effective, I have to say. Not 100%, but, from memory, there was about a 75% direct sunlight coverage during the 2 worst months of the year. About as good as you’re going to get with high solid concrete walls along 2 sides. My model even allowed for effects of the surrounding topography, which the original designer’s model did not.

    I’m not a stadium fan, but I can’t fault the design in that area. As for chopping the top of one of the stands off to fit the GMP, that comment defies belief. That level of argument is best suited over at Skyscraper.

  14. Phil

    And think that ultimatum has already been given, Alistair. Well and truely. Suddenly the Highlanders can afford to buy “in demand” coaches and players. This year, when they haven’t previously been able to during the life of the franchise ? With a decrease in revenue. Doesn’t take a genius to see that someone with deep pockets has joined the game. DCC employed half of the Otago rugby team in the days prior to openly professional rugby players. We never had so many Parks and Gardens “staff”.

  15. Peter

    Of course the problem with potential shade, to whatever degree, is compounded by having a fixed roof in the first place. The roof is a fashionable idea that, like a lot of fashion, is impractical to wear and is outrageous in terms of cost. Turf replacements are a given, especially in winter I’d imagine. Who pays for this? The ratepayers of course.
    I understand Wembley played eight teams and renewed the turf six times recently. Cardiff had to replace their turf three times last season. Both had retractable, not fixed, roofs.
    Rugby used to be played by real men who didn’t mind getting their hair wet and was followed by real men who weren’t woolly woofters in corporate boxes.

  16. Calvin Oaten

    Paul; This very confused person won’t SHUT UP! The fact of the matter is that we – the people – were told in no uncertain manner by Malcolm Farry that we were to have a 25,000 to 30,000 SEAT stadium, for not a cent more than $188million, and yes, it would have a roof. Further more, he would not expect the ratepayers to pay for it. In fact, he went on to say that he would have no part of it if that was not the case.
    What we are getting is none of those undertakings.
    So there you are Paul, tell me that is not so.

  17. Peter

    Calvin. About the reduced permanent seating. Is this a case of the glass being half full or half empty?

  18. James

    Peter, Cardiff and Wembley stadium are:
    * further from the equator (lower sun angle ~15 degrees in mid-winter)
    * have higher stands on the south aspect
    In short, getting sun onto the grass was not something those stadium designers were too worried about, as is clear from this photograph.

  19. Calvin Oaten

    Peter. It matters not whether the glass is half full or half empty, the only thing it proves is that the glass is twice as big as it need be. Pretty much like Malcolm’s ambitions actually.

  20. Kiwifly

    good to see that calvin and peter remain the boards idiots

  21. Stu

    I’m generating a timelapse video from the archive now. At first glance, it appears that:

    – June/July 2009 the entire site was shaded only by the Allied Concrete tower and local buildings. At 10am, the shadow from the Allied Concrete tower extended to where the centre-spot of the pitch will be. At 4pm, the entire site was sunlit (on the days when there was sun…)

    – 2010 imagery of the site from the fixed camera is not so useful as view of inside is obscured and we did not have the fixed camera onsite for all of 2010. I will generate daylight hours timelapse for June/July/August when we did have this camera in place and the stand construction was largely complete.

    – From memory, the site is not heavily shaded from Signal Hill/Opoho, even in winter mornings. I remember we had some issues with sun glare on the camera from the West side facing towards the harbour, in the original position.

  22. Johnson

    Capacity and Seating are different issues. Carisbrook doesn’t have seating for 30,000 currently. It is a tired out-of-date facility that doesn’t meet the needs of the modern world. Even with temporary stands etc, for big games, you can’t get past the fact that about 9,000 of the rugby punters are standing on the terrace. This will not be the case for FB Stadium for big events. Oh and I very much doubt anything will make Calvin “shut up” Paul, even when he’s wrong he finds something facetious to justify it. My information states FB Stadium will have SEATS for 30,500 in the correct configuration for major games. Carisbrook has never had “seats” of this number even when configured to a “capacity” of 35,000.

  23. James

    Also, on the comparison with Wembley and Cardiff, they have opaque roofs on the stands, whereas the North and West stand areas in Dunedin will have a transparent roof allowing more light in.
    You also make it sound like their retractable roofs are better. BUT most retractable roofs are opaque. That means they need to be kept open most of the time to allow the grass to grow. This has a downside – part of the problem at Wembley is that the pitch gets sodden. The fixed roof is actually likely to help. The ground staff will be able to keep the grass close to its optimal moisture level, and the roof will probably keep the soil temperature up, helping the grass to grow.

  24. Peter

    ‘It is a tired out-of-date facility that doesn’t meet the needs of the modern world.’ Myth.

  25. Phil

    Thanks for finding those archived articles regarding the shading, Elizabeth. As impressive as ever.

  26. Phil

    Not sure where this comment belongs. Someone can file it appropriately. But I was disappointed to read in the original project report from CST to Council, that the new venue will not be able to be used for basketball or tennis events. The rationale was that the international rules governing both sports required a perfectly level playing surface, something that could not be achieved by building over an existing fixed turf football surface. The only solution was to have a removeable turf surface, but this was rejected due to cost. Which I can well imagine. A bit of a missed opportunity as Dunedin does not have a weatherproof tennis facility which complies with Davis Cup, or greater, standards. The Lion Foundation arena at the Edgar Centre was built, for some unknown resaon, 1 metre too short to comply with Davis Cup requirements. Mind you, no city in NZ is likely to fill 17,000 seats for basketball or tennis, so it’s possibly no great loss.

    • Elizabeth

      No idea where to file this either…

      Glancing at The Otago Festival of the Arts (8-17 October) catalogue, I saw some patronage and positioning!

      Funders: Otago Community Trust, Dunedin City Council, Creative New Zealand

      Sponsors and Business Partners: (include) Forsyth Barr, Arrow International, Otago Daily Times, Farry.Co Law, Farry Group, Gallaway Cook Allan, Dunedin Casino, G S McLauchlan & Co, Scenic Hotels, Hawkins Construction, Nidd Realty Ltd, Naylor Love, Anderson Lloyd Lawyers…


      Spot the personages.

      I guess this is a pre-made event (thanks for your superb work Nicholas McBryde~!!!) that might travel well to the stadium in future years, or something along those lines. We can say WE support Sport and the Arts. Magic really. Better than a cautionary tale.

      • Elizabeth

        ### newstalkzb.co.nz 14/09/2010 16:16:01
        Stadiums safe for business
        All of Christchurch’s entertainment centres are now open for business following the 7.1 earthquake. Vbase, which manages AMI Stadium, the CBS Canterbury Arena, the Convention Centre, and the Town Hall, says all venues have been quake checked and are safe to use. Chief executive Bryan Pearson says they’re all structurally sound and back in full operation. He says scheduled big events, such as the upcoming Metallica Concert, will proceed as planned.

  27. Calvin Oaten

    Johnson. ‘Capacity and seating are two different issues.’ Correct, except that the CST report titled “Carisbrook Opportunity, Dunedin Master Plan and Feasibility Report 19 February 2007” disclosed that the preferred option was a new multi-purpose 25,000 – 30,000 seat stadium with a fixed roof over the stands and pitch, located on Awatea St between Logan Park and the Harbour, costing $188 million. That, in essence is the gist of the project which was adopted – for better or worse – and is being constructed. It is now an undisputed fact that the contract to supply is not now a 25,000 – 30,000 seat stadium.
    By diverting attention to the personal, is both demeaning and shows a dearth of understanding of the debate. I don’t give a toss, personally, whether the stadium seats 3 or 33,000, whether the sun shines in it or on it, I simply point out that it is a lie, to say that we are being delivered a package as promised, or for the sum stated. A lie that will haunt the citizens economically for decades. So why would I ‘SHUT UP’?

  28. Phil

    Malcolm was a bit silly when he stated to the media recently that the new stadium would not have the crowd disturbances experienced at other stadiums with standing areas, as the new stadium would have one seat for every ticket. Obviously that wasn’t true, as the base design does include for significant capacity standing areas. I’m going to assume then that these standing areas will be used solely as spectator overflow once all available seats have been sold (including the temporary seating), and not sold as an alternative to purchasing a vacant seat as one currently can choose at Carisbrook.

  29. Calvin could you please answer simple questions if you are stating the following:

    “It is now an undisputed fact that the contract to supply is not now a 25,000 – 30,000 seat stadium.”

    1). Where is this ‘fact’ indisputable? Could you please point me to the official documents held by the DCC or whoever is officially in charge, that CAPACITY (not convoluted seating arguments) is less than 25-30.

    2) If these documents do not exist, why are you continuing with this fantasists idea that several hundred million dollars is being spent on a 17,200 seat stadium.

    • Elizabeth

      Malcolm tried to sell a vision. He’s done a pretty good job, simply by fact of how far we are along on construction. Vision and cost do tend to collide a little catastrophically for visions floated on unstructured (perhaps amateur) PR that then begins to colour official reports and public expectation.

      Ultimately, the rugby use compels seating at required levels – the requirements have been set out at What if? and elsewhere numerous times, by various writers. Not sure I would attempt to hold someone to their vision for the nth detail, hoping to win. No point.

      Won’t be dredging up the seating discussions from previous posts, better things to do. But. I have strong sympathy for the knowledge and the feeling that the processes followed for the stadium build and future operations are less than satisfactory in view of the local authorities involved. Chickens come home to roost. Seating and capacity are the least of the problems, even if the construction work and project management shines.

  30. Russell

    “Paul, yelling at people does not win them over.”

    No but its one hell of a good way of vetting my god damned frustration at the persistent arrogance and idiocy of some.

    Hey, I’m not running for public office, and I’m certainly not even running for popularity stakes, thus I can vet my frustrations as I please. If that hurts the sensibility of some, so be it, but to tell the truth the arrogance demonstrated by the man, even in the face of his so called facts having been refuted actually offends me. Why because for one reason or another the guy has people who are willing to believe him. And if he’s stating that for several hundred million dollars the city is getting a stadium that is significantly smaller then the rubble that we have now, this close to an emotive (and not very intelligent) election, then what else are folk meant to make of his claims.

    I did start this blog to explore all aspects of the stadium, and when something that quite clearly isn’t a ‘fact’ but is expressed so over and over – I couldn’t care less if people think I’m the big bad monster, I’ll call it how I see it.

    The persistent arrogance demonstrated by Calvin’s obvious but misplaced passion for this topic doesn’t seem to deter him from raking up mythical so called ‘facts’ and figures and expecting us to buy them.

    The other discussions around if the Highlanders will or won’t stay in Dunedin are rather moot, as it has been pointed out by the NZRFU that Otago is one of the pivotal franchises in NZ. Any suggestion that it may be moved to Invercargill are fanciful to say the least, because anyone with a memory longer than last week will remember the cyclical and variable fortunes of ALL of the NZ Super rugby franchises (with the possible exception of Canterbury).

    “debt levels have risen or are about to rise to unprecedented”

    Yes, but these were all forecast, they are modelled and we know that these will not remain at these levels indefinitely. When we decided to build our first house, our debt level was hideous and has remained so for a while now, and will continue to for the future. For us this is ‘unprecedented’, but it is not permanent and it is not damaging.

  31. “The temporary seating – now upscaled – can only look shoddy as it will look…….temporary. Will the stadium without the seating in place, at both ends, look like a grand railway siding?”

    Seriously? You are concerned with so called ‘shoddy’ appearances rather than the economic viability of the thing. Ok here’s how it goes.

    Several weeks ago I attend the Youssf (Cat Stevens) concert. The entire floor area of the stadium was covered in temporary seats. I couldn’t care less if they were painted in unattractive 80s pastels, I was there to be entertained by the spectacle of the event. I left the event thoroughly entertained and commented to my father what a great facility CHCH has being able to offer such a venue for concerts. Several weeks later my wife and mother-in-law attended the Netball test. What were they seated on, the temporary terraced seating. Did they care that it looked ‘shoddy’ no they didn’t. In fact my mother-in-law was in awe of the stadium and the ability of the place to bring out seats for the punters to be so close to the action.

    I have been to the offices down at the construction site. In there are seats set up. They have three varieties from memory. 1 First class seating for the corporate areas. 2 Journalists seats, and 3 general public seats.

    I can assure you they were not shoddy and in fact they are of a higher standard than what is on offer at Wembley stadium.

    If I am at a concert at the stadium and the end seating is removed, I’d be one hell of a sad bugger if the thought crossed my mind that “it’s such a shame the seats have been removed to accommodate this wonderful dazzling stage with all its lights… oh look there’s a rock star”.

    Come on, it’s called compromise. Yes this isn’t the most beautiful stadium in the world, but unless you were willing to commit up to $1.5B NZD on such a palace, then there were always going to be compromises. If they thought they could get away with a rugby only stadium do you think they’d have temporary seating.

    I can tell you now 100% fact, what is ‘shoddy’ looking is the current Carisbrook. I’m sure if you look hard enough you’ll see the names of school kids from the 1960s scratched into the backs of the seats in the main stand. That is a shoddy building.

  32. James “I don’t think the sun will shine on all of the grass, all of the year”

    From the report by HOK Sport Architecture, New Zealand Sports Turf Institute, Vector Foiltec and the ORFU titled:

    01 June 2007

    page 6

    Preliminary shade studies were undertaken for the masterplan and feasibility report to investigate the extent of shading and solar penetration on the field. The massing of the building was designed to facilitate the maximum solar orientation to the North, East and West with the main stand located to the South. The preliminary shadow diagrams have indicated shading will exist during the winter months. However, compared with other stadia, the shading can be considered much less due to the nature of the design in the fact that the northern roof is lower than the southern roof, and the fact that the roof material is transparent.”

    The following is the ‘preliminary’ shadow map of the stadium – which shows that the VAST majority of the grass is bathed in sunshine.

    From what I understand the findings of this 3 year old document has of course been updated and further tweaking of sun on the turf has been improved. To read the full report click here (PDF document).

    • Elizabeth

      ### mg.co.za May 23 2010 09:22
      Soccer stadiums ‘not viable in the long run’
      By Justine Gerardy | Port Elizabeth, South Africa
      The World Cup has brought Port Elizabeth a stunning new landmark in its oceanside stadium, but questions remain about who will fill the stands once the global football fans leave.

      “In the South African case, all the stadiums were either renovated or constructed by the government. That means that the commercial consideration was never primary,” said economist Stan du Plessis of Stellenbosch University. “Some of these stadiums are simply not going to be in a position to cover their running costs. In that sense, they will be loss making.”

      Durban city manager Mike Sutcliffe has called for an urgent post-tournament look at sustainability, saying all host cities face “huge funding issues” … “If I’m battling in a big city, I’d hate to know what my colleagues are doing in Polokwane and Mbombela [Nelspruit],” he recently told lawmakers.

      Read more

  33. Calvin Oaten

    Paul. The facts are (or were) on the Forsyth Barr supporters website. It is also out there in hard copy (shown to me by Athol Stephens), wherein it states that the permanent seating is either 17,200 or 19,800 odd (take your pick); the balance of seating to be made up by ‘temporary’ seating to be erected and dismantled according to demand (by who we don’t know). The East portion is to be owned (by who we don’t know) and the West to be hired (by who we don’t know).
    Now that is undisputed (at least by those in authority). Also undisputed is the fact that the construction contract does not allow for any temporary seating.
    So my argument is that the original proposal of a 25,000- to 30,000-seat, covered stadium which was sold to the public for not a cent more than $188 million, is not what is being supplied.
    Paul, you can apply as much or as little lipstick as you like, but it is still a pig.

  34. Peter

    ‘Malcolm tried to sell a vision. He’s done a pretty good job, simply by fact of how far we are along on construction.’
    Yes, he tried, and ‘vision’ of the stadium is what we can’t avoid seeing from many parts of Dunedin. Like many of his type, they confuse real ‘vision’ with bigness-something showy – but devoid of real worth for the future economic development of Dunedin. They may as well have created a huge mausoleum to house ‘the notable dead’.

  35. Stu

    I plotted the timelapse for 22 June 2010 from the fixed internal camera.

    Daybreak is 07:58. Nightfall is 17:35.
    First direct sunlight hits the pitch at 10:36am
    A small portion of the pitch under the North stand is shaded until 2pm. A very small portion of the pitch under the North stand is shaded all day.

    There will be some shading effects due to the roof trusses and the West stand which are not evident in this video.
    http://stadiumcam.wic.co.nz/timelapse0622.mpg (MPEG4 format)
    Note also that a timelapse showing the first 15 months of construction was posted to the Forsyth Barr Facebook page last week. It was very clear from that video how much direct sunlight the stadium site actually gets over the year.

  36. James

    Thanks for providing the link Paul. The HOK schematic agrees with the bits that you didn’t quote :)
    *”The north stand … will provide quite a degree of shade through the morning”
    *”On the other hand, the ‘North Stand’ is much closer to North East, so the the West Stand is going to have as much a part to play as the North Stand. This is actually quite positive. The worst shaded part of the field will be whatever they call the bit beyond the goal posts in front of the West Stand.” [and from the schematic, mostly in the northern corner where the West and North stands meet].

  37. Phil

    You make some valid points, Paul. Most of the recent revelations regarding the finished state of the new stadium have always been true. Right from the start of construction. Not a lot has changed from that which was ultimately agreed upon. And, the information about what is, or isn’t being provided, has always been available. No argument there. What annoys me is the lack of proactive action on the part of those who are in possession of 100% of the knowledge, in sharing that knowledge with those who are not in possession of it.

    Yes, you could find that the finished stadium will include a significant area of standing patrons in the final design, yes the large scoreboard screen was excluded in a 2008 report, yes the kitchen fitout had been deleted well before construction started. The problem was that those people making those decisions, didn’t bother to tell those people who were interested in the decisions. And I think that demonstrates a lack of good faith on the part of the project team, who had a duty to actively involve all stakeholders in the current state of the project. Everyone in the project team, with the notable exception of Malcolm, has since come out publicly and admitted that they have made a mistake in their chosen method of communication. None of them regret taking on the project, but all regret how they handled the communication. Either by poor decision making, or in receiving bad advice.

    I can, and have, found out the ins and outs of what is in, and not in, the completed stadium. But it’s been a mission trying to guess which documents contain which information. And it shouldn’t need to be like that. Not when there are a group of people who have that information all in one place. Not everyone has the time and resources that I have had to expend in order to fully understand the reality of this stadium. As I mentioned above, it demonstrates to me a lack of good faith, and it’s hard to support or trust people choosing to behave in such a manner and treat me with so little respect.

    I have no problem with the stadium missing some key items. Well, that’s not strictly true, I am disappointed. But I accept that the finished stadium is all that we can afford to build for the money we’re spending. We’re cheaper than Wembley and the new Australian stadiums, but they have more things than we do. We’re getting what we paid for. And that’s fair. The problem now is that the only news coming out is the list of things that we’re not getting. Which we were never getting, but no-one went out of their way to say so. One only has to look at the architectural renderings of the stadium with the All Blacks playing the Wallabies in front of a giant screen and 30+ thousand screaming seated fans. And the statement from Malcolm that there would be “one seat for every ticket”. Those images are not the reality of our stadium, but now that we’ve all seen them we’re naturally going to be disappointed when it turns out to be less than those images. If the project team had been active in sharing knowledge when it arrived, none of this needed to have happened.

    I’ll take issue with you on one of your points, however. I don’t believe that the NZRFU have ever said that they have committed to Otago, with regard to the Super 14 competition. What they have said is that they are committed to the Highlanders as a franchise, and that they will support the current location of the Highlanders through until (I think) 2013. They made it quite clear, with some careful wording, that, unless the Highlanders started making some money for the NZRFU in Dunedin, then they would have no problem in relocating the franchise to a more profitable location. AKA the Los Angeles (former Minneapolis) Lakers.

  38. UglyBob

    Phil: see the article below:

    NZRU professional rugby general manager is quoted: “It is no secret that the Highlanders have faced and are facing significant challenges … As we have signalled, we see a place for a professional franchise in the South …”

    Fairly explicit I would think although nothing is ever carved in stone.

  39. Stu

    …and this one shows the sun cover at noon for each day from June through September. Not bad, matches the projected design sketches very well.
    http://stadiumcam.wic.co.nz/june-at-noon.mpg (MPEG4 video)

  40. Phil

    Thanks for the link, UB. That seems to echo their earlier statements when they agreed to underwrite the franchise for the next couple of years. It’s good to see that they are being more proactive in at least giving the franchise one last fighting chance, by offering to pay for a PM for a couple of months. Until now they have just sat back and demanded an improvement “or else”. Which placed the franchise on a hiding to nothing. Maybe it still does, the NZRFU could well be using their commitment in placing a PM in the franchise as making an effort to retain it in the south. And thus justify a decision to relocate it at the end of the 3-year grace period. A little conspiracy theoryish perhaps.

    In my opinion, the current state of the Highlanders is the NZRFU’s own making. Those who can cast their mind back may remember that the whole purpose of the “Super” competition (proposed by the NZRFU) was so that the best players in each position got to play against their best opposites. Every weekend. Thus improving the depth of NZ rugby. At the time I think that Otago had the best 3 halfbacks in the country, with 2 sitting on the bench much of the time. If they had stuck to that system and placed the best 10 props in NZ amongst the 5 Super franchise every year then it would have been a much more level playing field. The Highlanders will always struggle to attract and retain key players voluntarily due to location, employment prospects for families, etc. A good idea that has simply lost its way.

  41. Phil

    Stu, good to see how reality is following the design. If the designers went through the same process as myself, one simply enters the coordinates for the stadium into a rendering programme after first creating a 3D model of the stadium and the surrounding topography. Then it’s a matter of selecting the date and time you wish to view. Or an animated time lapse presentation if one referred. I must confess that I cheated somewhat when creating a landscape model. When picking up for the Highgate ridgeline I created it as a vertical wall, rather than with sloping sides. But, so long as the ridgeline was the correct height above sea level, which it was, I figured it wouldn’t affect the shadow projection line.

    From memory, the key months of June and July should give about 4 hours of direct daylight over most of the pitch. No major problems on the actual playing pitch outside of that period, although the areas outside of the side and end lines tend to struggle a little.

    I read an interesting article the other day about modern European stadiums, and the problem that new roof structures are causing for television camera work, particularly with cameras sitting in shaded areas whilst filming unshaded areas, and the negative effects that the roof support structure shadows were having. I guess that’s one of the advantages we’ll have by playing mostly at night.

  42. UglyBob

    Phil: the problem with relocating the Highlanders is that another Auckland franchise is the only option that seems to make economic sense. Taranaki and Hawkes Bay have both indicated they would like a franchise but the reality is they have player numbers equivalent or less than Otago alone. To establish a franchise would require carving up the Hurricanes and the net result would be two super franchises with roughly the same player base and population catchments that the Highlanders currently have. Rather than fix a problem the NZRU would potentially create two new ones. There are also pitfalls to relocating to Auckland/North Harbour: the NZRU doesn’t want to see the game in South wither; and they don’t want to disrupt the highly successful Crusaders franchise. Thus although talk about relocating the Highlanders arises from time to time (as it did with the Chiefs a few years back) the options for something better are not so straighforward.

  43. Calvin Oaten

    In all the prognostications re the preliminary shade studies for the new stadium, it seems to be based on the assumption that the sun will actually be shining. It could be pertinent to note that Dunedin’s average annual sunshine hours -as measured at the Musselburgh pumping station- is between 1600 and 1700 hours. About 60% of potential. Relevant? I think so.

  44. Stu

    I think we can take it for granted that the sun is actually shining. If it stops shining, then yes we do have a problem.

  45. James

    Calvin: “Relevant? I think so.”

    So Calvin, that would be the same number of sunshine hours enjoyed by many other pieces of grass, including playing fields, in Dunedin? If you wish to seem credible, perhaps stick to arguments relating to debt.

  46. Phil

    I note that one of the key requirements spelt out by the NZRFU for the siting a Super franchise, or for hosting a Category A test match, is that the location should be where there is the maximum opportunity to capture new amateur players to the sport. In other words, the largest population base of early teen-aged males. Not meaning to stereotype, but that’s the reality of the target audience. I couldn’t see Taranaki picking it up, as they wouldn’t really be adding much to the mix. No point moving it to Invercargill as that’s still the same support pool. South Auckland would appear to be an obvious choice, due to sheer population. But seeing as the crowds to Auckland games are not much better than those to Dunedin games, I’m not sure that more people would be interested. Although they might think that having a Super franchise might rekindle interest. The place I’d watch out for is Tauranga. The urban population is the same as Dunedin, it picks up for that whole side of the central North Island, and they have themselves a flash new stadium.

    Of course the glaringly obvious solution is for the Highlanders to start winning, and for the crowd number to boost to a level capable of returning a good profit to the NZRFU. The NZRFU stand to lose most of their meagre savings during the RWC hosting, so I can see them getting tough on unions and franchises for revenue generating.

  47. James

    And on comparisons to other stadiums, look at the shade on this stadium grass. Nicely illustrates the issue with opaque roofs on stands.

  48. Phil

    That’s why, Calvin, I’ve always been careful to use the term daylight, rather than sunlight, when talking about sun studies. The official project report does draw attention to the quality of sunlight risk factor during the key months in winter when the ground use is at its highest but the amount of daylight is at its lowest. From memory, the pitch tests that were carried out were done so during the summer months only. Due to time constraints. So there wasn’t a lot that could be drawn from those.

  49. Phil

    Just to clarify: I’ve spent time above the Arctic Circle where the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon for several months of the year. There was no direct sunlight, but there was still daylight. So one can have one without the other. Not that you’d really want to live like that, mind.

  50. Calvin Oaten

    James. How many of the other pieces of grass lie under two layers of EFTE? I am simply implying that the unknowns in this respect outnumber the knowns. We will see in the fullness of time. Like the debt, the turf might operate in serious deficit.

  51. UglyBob

    Phil: the problem with Tauranga is that creating a franchise there would have the same effect on the Chiefs catchment as setting up a Taranaki or Hawkes Bay franchise would have on the Hurricanes. At present the Highlanders have about 12,000 registered rugby players (approx 6,500 Otago; 4,500 Southand; and 1,000 in North Otago) within their boundaries. The other franchises all have around 30,000.

    IMO it would be easier to absorb a new franchise in the greater Auckland region than break up the Chiefs. From a marketing perspective or grass roots support for rugby across the country view; however, I don’t think there would be much appetite for another Auckland based team except from within Auckland.

    Projected population growth is obviously a consideration though as it potentially promotes increased player base and spectator support. When the NZRU did their review in 2008(?) they used very conservative figures that suggested Otago and Southland would decline in overall population, which enhances the sense of marginality for the franchise. Up until the last five years, the player and population base issues were mitigated by success on the field and the hope is that if success can be rekindled then the franchise would go back on an even keel.

  52. Calvin Oaten

    Phil. Not a lot of photosynthesis value in low level daylight. Plants tend to reduce their activity in those conditions. It’s a survival tactic. Not aided by sixty heavily studded boots pounding the living daylights out of it. Again, time will tell.

  53. James

    Calvin, plenty of sportsfields in New Zealand have worse shading problems, and see a great deal more use. (Certainly, the fields I played hockey on as a kid saw 5-6 hours use every Saturday, and were shaded by a row of enormous evergreen conifers on the northern side).

    As to light transmission through ETFE, seems to work out OK on the Eden Project…

  54. James

    Also, not that I know a great deal about rugby, but extrapolating from hockey, I assume the pitch being that much drier probably means that they’ll be using rather different boots than they would for a much wetter field, which in itself must bode well for the turf.

    So in sum, given that up page Peter was concerned about the turf replacement at Wembley and Cardiff. Dunedin’s turf will be drier (the roof can’t open), so less of a mudplug. The roof over the North Stand is transparent, so the turf will see less shading than Carisbrook, and much, much more than the UK stadiums. Thus, you are now pinning your pessimism on a material that allows more light transmission than glass?

  55. Calvin Oaten

    James. Again you make the assertion that any questioning comment is ‘pessimism’. I am not ‘pinning my pessimism’ on anything. Just putting forward ‘what ifs?’ Isn’t this the purpose of this site? As I have previously stated, I don’t personally give a toss whether the stadium meets the claims of the proponents or not, but I am concerned at the costs to the citizens. We all have our thoughts and opinions, that’s the nature of the human kind, and I guess that is another reason why some are so quick to judge.

  56. Peter

    I was just surmising, James. As I said above I’m no expert on buildings and their materials. Time will tell concerning turf growth under the EFTE roof material. I don’t really care-in the meantime. Like Calvin, my real gripe is with the lies that have been told about the stadium’s financial viability and the fact we have had this stadium foisted upon us by guys who live in the 1960/70s era with all their schoolboy wet dreams.

  57. Those who are questioning the process by which the design of the stadium was designed, you all have to remember it wasn’t Farry et all who designed this. It was HOK Sport, quite literally the biggest name in world sports stadium design, responsible for several hundred billion USD worth of stadium construction over the last decade.

    Yes of course they ran the numbers through the computer to see the optimal layout for sunshine on the pitch etc. Just because some don’t like the folks driving the development who are from Dunedin, doesn’t mean it’s a bunch of amateurs designing the thing.

  58. Peter

    I don’t know anything about HOK’s reputation. Maybe others do. Just a general point about experts. They don’t always get it right. They may do so in terms of this stadium’s design. How well it stands up, longevity wise, who knows. I have read Westpac Stadium in Wellington (on ‘What if’, I think) is a bit worse for wear now with major rusting and needing to be repaired for the RWC. Was HOK involved with this project?

  59. Phil

    I do struggle at times to see the repeated connection between the Eden Project and the stadium roof. There are some similarities, but also some significant differences. The most noteable difference being that the Eden Project structures are EFTE clad right down to ground level. Ensuring maximum coverage. From memory, none of the structures included 20m high concrete walls along 2 sides. That being said, it gives an idea that plants can survive quite well under an EFTE cladding. The Beijing water cube gets thrown around from time to time. Aside from cosmetics I don’t see the connection between growing grass and storing water. But, what Beijing does show is that the material appears to be very durable in a rather harsh environment. So it serves a purpose for us.

    The historical Cardiff turf problems are related more to the construction methods employed at the time of the stadium, than the quality of the playing surface. Heavy machinery was moved around the playing surface, after the underground drainage system was placed but before the turf was laid down. This caused significant damage to the ground under the turf, which wasn’t corrected until after the playing surface had been replaced several times. And the natural turf playing surface was finally re-sown with a hybrid artificial/natural surface. They have also, along with Wembly, incorporated the use of mobile lighting rigs, which have solved the winter shading grass growth issues. These have been recommended by the turf consultants for the Dunedin stadium. Since then, they have had minimal problems at Cardiff with the surface. I believe that the plan at the Dunedin stadium is to have the pitch areas untouched by machinery, once construction of the playing surface has commenced. A sensible approach obviously lost on the Welsh.

    I would like to see us lay a hybrid turf also, just to minimise the risk factor. It was mentioned early in the construction programme, and I hope that there will be funds made available to do just that. It’s been pointed out enough times that we will be the first to have a fully enclosed fully natural turf surface. Sometimes it feels better not to be the first to try something. But, as Paul has correctly pointed out, the designers of the stadium do know their stuff.

  60. Phil

    Peter, I think the issue with Wellington is corrosion of the exterior cladding, and not of the structure itself ? Colorsteel, if that’s what it is, offers a guarantee of up to 15 years, depending on the location and installation methods used. It sounded to me like the place leaked right from the start, which may mean it is more of a project supervision issue, rather than a design issue. Especially as Fletchers, as head contractors, seem quite happy to work with the stadium owners to remedy the problem.

  61. Phil

    Good comment, Ugly Bob. I think it’s going to come down in the end as to which location can the Highlanders generate the greatest return for the NZRFU. Be it through gate takings or through new player registrations. Considering that the ground attendances are not that far behind the next lowest performing NZ franchise, I do wonder why it is that the Highlanders are continually singled out for criticism every year in the NZRFU annual report. With thinly veiled threats about relocation which serve only to further the level of local public disinterest.

    If the South Auckland side can perform well in the national competition over the next couple of years, then the pressure for a Super franchise will increase. But the Warriors may have already been in there first and stolen the market.

    My son started playing rugby for the Dunedin Rugby Club under 7s. And played right the way through the grades with the same group of guys (and girls). However, when they all went on to high school, the entire team switched from playing rugby to playing football. The trend was reflected by the fact that the high school had 3 rugby teams, but had 12 football teams. So it’s a big ask of a franchise to increase playing numbers within a region when the trend amongst the target audience is in the opposite direction.

  62. UglyBob

    External cladding is rusting around the joins and a leaky roof on parts of Westpac. Poor constructon cf design issue.

  63. UglyBob

    Yes, it’s interesting Phil but despite the critics of the Highlanders, NZ is not so well endowed with centres of population density and registered rugby players that it’s an easy option to just relocate without stuffing up the viability of other franchises. The Stadium, better player development and winning teams might get the Highlanders back on track. In the end though I think their future (and that of far more important things) will rely on how well Dunedin can build a robust economy that retains a youthful population beyond tertiary education.

  64. James

    Phil, I think that several of the Eden Project glasshouses are nested up against the walls of the quarry, but they are clad to the ground on the southern side (equivalent to our northern). My point was really about light transmission.

    And Calvin, I don’t think I’ve ever made the assertion that any questioning comment is pessimism, and certainly I would disagree with that statement. There are many valid and worrying questions, but the light onto the turf seems well thought out. It is interesting that rather than countering any of my substantive points, which is to me the point of ‘what if’, you instead resort to attacking my motivations.

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