I saw this link online and it got me thinking.

You’re looking at a recent photo of Eagle Stadium, in Allen, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas. The stadium, three years in the works, will seat 18,000 when it opens later this month. It’s got two luxury suites, a pro-quality press box, a 3,400-square-foot HD video scoreboard—and tickets will be just $10 a game for the all-bleacher seating. This is Texas football.

An 18000 seat stadium for $60M USD = $75M NZD?

Cost per seat = $4,000 NZD (ballpark)

The new Christchurch stadium is going to cost $500M.

Covered 35000 seat stadium = $500M (from Stuff/NBR)

Cost per seat = $14,000

It just goes to show how poor stadia are economically.  $14k per seat means you want to be recovering $1200 – $1400/seat in profit each year to pay for capital costs, planned replacement, maintenance.  After running costs and payments to sports bodies, you haven’t got a show of getting that money.  Just ask Dunedin how they are going with their forecasted revenue.

Sports venues are important for communities, but a half billion dollar stadium is a big ask.  It could also kill the Dunedin stadium, interestingly, by offering a covered alternative closer to a major airport.

I don’t know what the payout from AMI was, but the cost really worries me, particularly when the Cantabs are not renowned for their attendance.

Final note – this can only be used for rugby.  No cricket possible.  So the days used per year drops again… 8 S15 games, 1 AB test match, 7-8 ITM cup games… it doesn’t add up on the back of my envelope.  Not saying they shouldn’t build a stadium, but holy crap that’s expensive for what they are getting.


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  • rouppe

    The weather is a bit better in Texas than in Dunedin..

  • kiwiinamerica

    This is a High School football stadium! When I visited Texas I was stunned by the huge size of high school football stadia. They were often the size of a small college and 3 times the size of the average high school football stadium. All part of the ‘as big as Texas’ meme – its all true.

    Economies of scale in the US account for how much cheaper it is to build infrastructure in the US.

    • Vlad

      So right! I have attended College football in parts of the USA (and to a lesser extent Canada) and their stadiums are superb.   Economies of scale might be part of it, but experience in economical design and construction is also a factor.  Maybe we can forget reinventing the wheel and hire a bit of expertise — the local price is irrational given the return. 

  • Anonymouse coward

    Relax, local body politicians mindful of rate payers interests will stand up to bullying by the Rugby Union SANZAR and FoxTel.

  • SalParadise2012

    Rouppe makes a very good point. Not having any cover for the seats brings costs down.

    And as a Wellingtonian I can happily say, forget about a dual purpose ground. They played two cricket games at the stadium last summer, neither sold out and it ruins the view for Rugby.

  • Bunswalla

    Don’t forget though, that the cost of the Texas stadium is the FINAL cost. A dollar to a knob of goat poo that the final cost of the stadium in Chch ballons out to well over $750m.

    I agree with the points about cost recovery and profit per seat – and it will definitely damage the already very shakey business model of the Dunedin one.

    Why we persist in building stadia in the South Island, which has less than 1/3 of NZ’s poulation and – in the case of Christchurch – is located on an earthquake-prone flood plain, is beyond me.

    Build a decent stadium where the biggest population base is, and make it accessible and close to the CBD, and you might be able to make it pay. The vast majority of rugby tests in the UK are in one location for each country – Twickenham, Murrayfield, Millennium Stadium and Lansdowne Road. We seem to move them around all over the place. Even Australia mainly use just two – Stadium Australia and Suncorp, with the very occasional one in Melbourne – and France has one in Paris and one in the south. Why do we persist in having at least 6 main venues? North Harbour, Eden Park, Hamiltron, Cake Tin, Chch and Dunedin – and we think we can make the stadia profitable? Madness.

    • ConwayCaptain

      Profitable????  Just like all the container terminals in NZ

    • Mr_Blobby

      Call me stupid. But why would you not build one covered stadium with plenty of parking and access. Build it as a multi purpose venue. Rugby, League, Soccer, Track and field, Concerts Etc.
      Technically it would be possible with changeable pitches and removable seating.
      The cost will blow out Guaranteed with all the escalation clauses.
      In Auckland we have to many sports venues and conference centers non of them stand a show of ever paying for themselves let alone give a ROI.

  • Goldie

    As a Wellingtonian, I gotta agree with SalParadise – a dual sports stadium sucks. It means you are too far away to see rugby and there rarely any atmosphere (except in the Sevens, but most people are too pissed/chatting up hotties in costumes to watch the rugby…), and hardly anyone watches cricket these days.
    That said, a stadium for 35,000 at $500m seems OTT – how often will that number sell?

  • le sphincter

    Its simple really , Fletchers high priced materials and massive profit margins push up costs here , even higher than Australia-
    Its cheaper to build a house in Sydney than Auckland- ( building only) even though  chippies there are $50 hr ( +  compulsory super 9%).
    And yet we grow the timber

    • Top Bloke

      Take out the costs of multiple consents, multiple feasibility reports, earthquake resistant over-design, and assorted ticket clippers – I’d bet the cost would halve.  

      • Gazzaw

        Also take out bureaucratic bungling and the old blokes in blazers from the local rugby union.

  • link hawk

    Population in Allen Texas 85000, population in CHCH 390000 a 35000 seat stadium is justified.

  • Steve (North Shore)

    We will have two, down on the waterfront and south Auckland, with interconnecting rail running every 10 min.
    Fix it will you Len, should be no problem to a man like you with your resourses

  • WayneO

    Texas has Mexican labourers.

  • Mediaan

    Stadia have purposes other than sport.

    They include:
    Nazi type rallies,
    Fundamentalist preachers mass-producing born-agains (recall Billy Graham and his mass rallies),
    Security sweeps by emergency police and troops, forcing protest crowds into the stadium, where they are slowly checked over nd can be released one by one if considered innocuous…

    There are other uses for stadia, which I won’t expound on, but they are even nastier.

    • Travis Poulson

      You deviated off on to a rather strange train of thought. 

  • Guest

    Makes the $160 subsidy for the orchestra audience seem parsimonious.   If people really wanted to attend rugby in Canterbury, the stadium would pay for itself – isn’t that how the arguement goes?