Under the Big Top

On Sept. 30, 2012, BC Place was reopened after a $514 millionor $563 million – retrofit. What the hell. It’s only money. And everybody thought it was great. Unless you’re a University of Maryland economist whose comments are left at the end of the aforementioned CBC story.

 But a university professor who has studied stadium construction around the United States says it’s unlikely that would be new money for the local economy, but rather consumers shifting their entertainment spending from something else in the region.

Dennis Coates, who is a professor of economics at the University of Maryland, says new stadiums can boost quality of life in a city, but not the economy, and they are rarely a good investment.

“Very few objective observers are going to say yes, this stadium — and you can point to whichever one you’d like — was just a wonderful idea because the city is now revitalized, income growth has shot through the roof. Objective observers never find such results.”

But … but … think of the fans! Uhhh, what’s this? The renos were originally budgeted for $100 million?

But look at the CBC Vancouver story from September 2011. They’ll make some of that money back by selling the stadium’s naming rights, right? Maybe. When someone gets around to buying the naming rights … one of these days.

Meanwhile, in Regina, no one explains why a 33,000-seat stadium must cost $280 million when a 33,000-seat football stadium in Winnipeg cost $200 million to construct. And no one will explain what happens when the costs go through the roof – just as they did in Winnipeg when the University of Manitoba Institute For Mosquito-Breeding Studies was supposed to be built for $120 million.

Here’s the last known sighting of Paul Dechene covering the stadium issue at City Hall …

Author: Stephen LaRose

2006 winner of the Canadian Association of University Teachers’s Award of Excellence in Journalism for a bunch of prairie dog stuff. Invited into the best homes in Regina. Once.

One thought on “Under the Big Top”

  1. Now that is one classy Paul Dechene watching city hall movies.

    In real life, $280 million is only an estimate. Cost overruns are a fact of life. Politicians rarely admit to it.

    The desire and support for a new stadium is strong. Why waste money to refurbish an old stadium with a remaining limited life span? It’s like trying to squeeze more juice out of an empty lemon.

    Roughriders is the only major national sports venue we have.

    And these reported studies only refer to privately owned sports teams. Since the R/R are a community owned team, how about a study of a stadium for community owned teams?

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