Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The first six months of the Forsyth Barr Stadium - and a forward pass already!

Unfortunately for proponents of the brand new Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, the first six months hasn't exactly been that encouraging ...
I'm not one of these 'I told you so' people, but this report can't exactly be described as a surprise (although the extent of the losses are perhaps higher than many would have anticipated) as much of the international experience has been the same. They don't make money. Period. If you cover your costs, you are doing very, very well. Let's just hope that the folks in Dunedin can turn it around - although it is difficult to see how, if they don't attract major events that they were banking on. And they must also hope that cornerstone tenants remain financially viable and can contribute their share of the costs.
I do find the move by the Mayor interesting - ordering a review of the stadium's operations. This hot on the heels of the DCC having an observer at the ORFU. I know the Council has invested a ton (and a bit more)  of money into the Stadium, but losses were anticipated, and with the two big events in the first six months enjoying the Stadium rent-free, the benefits (if there were any) were never going to show on the Stadium's balance sheet. If I were Council, I'd be nervously awaiting the latest economic data to see what has happened to local and regional GDP in the past two quarters. If the stadium has been as beneficial as was claimed pre construction, one should expect to see gains to the local economy that outweigh the losses incurred at the Stadium. The chances of this actually happening would be slim, based on previous national and international experience.
I can see this being a subject that just won't go away - which is good for one who researches in this area!
Thanks to Eric at Offsetting Behaviour for the tip!

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