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Enjoy our pricey sports park while it lasts
North American stadiums have historically had a shelf life of a few decades, and the renovated BC Place should be no difierent
BY CAM COLE, VANCOUVER SUN OCTOBER 16, 2010

Help Wanted: Large, sports-friendly corporation, immune from shareholder outrage, to underwrite unspecified percentage of renovation costs for 55,000-seat, grey-on-grey concrete rec room with new roof, lights, paint. Includes naming rights for eternity, two parking spaces, one luxury box. Overpriced food and beverage service extra. Sounds enticing, right? Who wouldn't go for a deal like that? All the operators of BC Place Stadium really need to recover is $563-odd million over the limited life of the park, and Bob's your uncle. Of course, not being well-connected with the local terrorist cells, it's difficult to put a price tag on the amount of TNT needed to bring about a far better solution for the former and future home of the B.C. Lions and Whitecaps, but it seems likely it could have been imploded and the remains hauled away for a few million dollars. That would have left, say, $550 million to finance Plan B, which was bound to be an improvement on Plan A, if the accompanying research by sport business commentator Tom Mayenknecht is any indication. BC Place Stadium will have cost $835 million in today's money to build and renovate, once the new canopy is installed, making it the 13th most expensive sports arena on the planet Earth. Mind-boggling is one way to describe it. Unconscionable is another. Consider the average shelf life of a sports stadium in North America. We're not talking Fenway Park or Wrigley Field here, old open-air ballparks with tons of history. The cookie-cutter, Colosseum-style, multi-use parks in Pittsburgh (Three Rivers), Cincinnati (Riverfront) and Philadelphia (Veterans) lasted 30, 34 and 32 years, respectively, before they were demolished. The two exceptions, both in California's Bay Area, are Candlestick Park (54 years when the 49ers move out in 2014) and Oakland Coliseum (44 and still going). Candlestick was 29 when the World Series earthquake hit in 1989. Maybe the stadium gods were trying to tell it something. Of air-supported covered stadiums, Seattle's Kingdome lived 24 years from opening to implosion, the RCA (nee Hoosier) Dome in Indianapolis 24 years, Detroit's Silverdome 31 years, and Minneapolis's Metrodome was built 28 years ago and is on borrowed time. The over-under, all things considered, is probably 30 years. BC Place is 27 years old, and the B.C. Pavilion Corp. is spending $563 million to renovate it for the CFL Lions and the Whitecaps, who basically got held to ransom by Major League Soccer and will play in the newly-roofed stadium reluctantly, because there seems no alternative, having tried and failed to get civic approval for a soccer-specific waterfront stadium in Gastown that would have been financed privately by the team's owner, Greg Kerfoot. Sadly, the alternative presented itself quite plainly as soon as renovations began. For $17 million, give or take, the Lions' temporary home at Empire Field, on the PNE grounds, is a 27,500-seat feat of scaffolding and hoarding and roofing that serves quite nicely the basic needs of the CFL crowd and would be ideal for MLS. Of course, it's temporary, has sub-standard concessions, bathrooms and boxes -- and the seats and structures are all rented, and will be dismantled as soon as BC Place is ready.

566 .Cost: $1. It's downtown.Capacity: 82. this is sadly the prototypical white elephant of North American stadiums.But it cost $17 million! So spend 10 times that. with cost overruns from the get-go and a retractable roof and tower which never functioned properly. . The land is already there. N.5 billion . Alas.com/rcamcole --STADIUMS .308 . it's too late. while it lasts. We're stuck with an old surrey with a fringe on top.Capacity: 50. ccole@vancouversun. along with the world's fourthlargest video board. it is the shared home of the New York Giants and New York Jets of the NFL. and let's hope we enjoy it .com Follow Cam Cole at t witter.Playing surface: FieldTurf 2. including a massive retractable roof and the world's largest video .Playing surface: Kentucky Blue Grass 3.Opened: 2010 . The mistake: overpricing premium seating behind home plate. . wired with hundreds of kilometres of both Ethernet and fibre optic cable and 1.Playing surface: TeamPro EF RD 4.086 (plus 2. The mistake: retractable roof design that was largely untested and unproven.6 billion .Opened: 1976 . repairs and debt financing) . We paid for it. across the river from Manhattan. Spend 30 times that.MONTREAL Reduced to special event hosting since the departure of the Montreal Expos in 2006. NEW MEADOWLANDS STADIUM Situated in East Rutherford.. OLYMPIC STADIUM -.149 standing room) .47 billion (including construction.100 HDTVs scattered throughout suites and concourse areas..Cost: $1. Put the new facility on the same site as the hole in the ground left by blowing up BC Place.Cost: $1.WORLD'S BIGGEST EVENTS HOSTED IN WORLD'S MOST EXPENSIVE PARKS 1. The money's gone.Opened: 2009 .J. YANKEE STADIUM Replacing the 'House that Ruth Built' in 1923. . the House the Boss Built in 2009 is a retro shell outside and a high-tech haven inside. The mistake: not considering a retractable roof to ensure regular Super Bowl hosting for the Big Apple. Spend 20 times that. COWBOYS STADIUM Texas big in almost every category..Capacity: 66.

Capacity: 80. The mistake: outside of delays and lawsuits.Playing surface: Grass 8. . 2011 UEFA Champions League final. long-term master plan. rugby and NFL football). MADISON SQUARE GARDEN The Grand Old Lady of North American sports arenas.scoreboard at 49 by 22 metres (11.000 standing room) .Capacity: 19. not anchoring a retractable roof design on the Wembley arch. WEMBLEY STADIUM Owned by the English Football Association.Playing surfaces: Hardwood/ice 7.000 in crowded end zone mezzanines and elevated platforms. It is the only stadium to have hosted World Cup finals in both soccer and rugby. feet of High Definition TV).520 sq.327 . .Cost: $1. The mistake: mismanagement of its naming rights deal almost cost the city its Nissan sponsorship. The mistake: a push to cross the 100.Cost: $990 million . Its central location in London makes it a concert and special event haven (English national team. Nissan Stadium was built for the 2002 FIFA World Cup co-hosted by Japan and South Korea.Opened: 2007 . The mistake: indecision around future plans for an alternate downtown site and ad hoc renovations instead of a clear. It has gone on to host the FIFA Club World Cup three times and is the home pitch for the Yokohama F.Capacity: 90. . Marinos Japanese soccer club.Playing surface: Desso GrassMaster 6.Capacity: 72.Cost: $1.000 .Playing surface: Matrix artificial turf 5. MSG is the home of the NBA's New York Knicks and New York Rangers (and is the oldest arena in the NHL). It hosts 320 events per year.35 billion .Opened: 2009 . Stade de France was built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup won by France.763 .Cost: $1.000 capacity threshold to 110. . NISSAN STADIUM Also known as Yokohama International Stadium.1 billion (including various renovations and subway station link) .4 billion . .000 by accommodating standing room for 30.000 (plus 30. STADE DE FRANCE Situated in the Parisian suburb of Saint Denis.Opened: 1998 .Opened: 1968 . the new Wembley is Europe's second largest stadium behind only Camp Nou.

The mistake: most have been avoided. The mistake: passive sport tourism strategy following Seoul 1988. Aussie rules football and cricket.Capacity: 49.Opened: 2009 . except the stadium sits largely empty with no full-time pro franchise tenant.Cost: $930 million .Its elliptical glass-covering shelters all 80. it is an active sports venue.Opened: 1998 . The mistake: wildly underestimating construction costs by $420 million and blowing the public-private partnership by lowballing long-term rights deals for only $5 million per corporation. ANZ STADIUM The home of soccer. Jamsil has something in common with BC Place: it hosted Olympic opening and closing ceremonies before it was outfitted with a retractable roof.000 .Playing surface: Grass 9. The mistake: short terms on naming rights have caused confusion in going from Olympic Stadium to Stadium Australia to Telstra Stadium to ANZ Stadium in less than 10 years. . . ROGERS CENTRE Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays have played at Canada's only fully-functioning retractable roof stadium since its opening 21 years ago and won two World Series there in '92 and '93. . . it is the fourth Big Apple stadium among the top-15 priciest and part of a $5-billion investment in recent stadium development for Greater New York.Playing surface: AstroTurf GameDay Grass 10.Cost: $974 million .800 . The mistake: living in the shadow of Yankee Stadium and not finding a way to stand on a distinguishing element.Capacity: 69. Unlike Montreal.Opened: 1989 .Playing surface: Grass 11.841 . JAMSIL OLYMPIC STADIUM Home of the infamous Ben Johnson 100-metre race at Seoul 1988.Capacity: 41. hosting rugby. CITI FIELD The home of the New York Mets in Queen's.Cost: $900 million .Capacity: 80. ANZ Stadium is the third Olympic Stadium among the top-15 priciest in the world and is named after its ANZ Bank title sponsor.Cost: $923 million .Opened: 1984 .Playing surface: Grass 12. to the point where 14 years passed without a major event and today pro soccer club Seoul FC is the only regular tenant. track and field and ceremonies at Sydney 2000. . however.539 . It is also home to the CFL's Argonauts.000 seats while leaving the field exposed.

Special to The Vancouver Sun .Capacity: 55.355 . seating of only 60. not considering the cost-benefit of a retractable natural grass field as used at University of Phoenix Stadium.500 (reduced from 110.Cost: $870 million . renovations.Opened: 2006 . The potential mistake: with both CFL and MLS on tap.355 is much smaller than the stadium capacities for other top Premiership clubs.Opened: 1924 . The mistake: not finding a way to retain National Historic Landmark status in the extent of the rebuild. where appropriate. .500 .Cost: $770 million .000) . Reaction has been largely mixed to the redesign.Capacity: 83.000 . SOLDIER FIELD Home of the Chicago Bears of the NFL.Projected Cost: $835 million (2011) . the new Soldier Field was renovated in 2003 at a cost of almost 50 times its original construction costs from 1924.Cost: $788 million .Capacity: 61. . which aimed to blend the original Greek column style with a new bowl structure.Playing surface: Grass 15.Opened: 1999 .Costs are inclusive of original construction costs adjusted to 2010 dollars and.Playing surface: FieldTurf 14. BC Place is opting for renovation of an existing stadium shell and a retractable roof inspired by Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt.Playing surface: Grass 13.Playing surface: Desso GrassMaster Tom Mayenknecht. Arsenal is already studying a possible stadium expansion.Opened: 1983 .000. repairs and debt financing. Emirates Stadium is one of the biggest revenue-producing sports venues in Europe. The mistake: with a season ticket waiting list of 47. BC PLACE Borrowing from the 2006 FIFA World Cup soccer playbook deployed by Germany. EMIRATES STADIUM The home of Arsenal FC of the English Premier League in the London borough of Islington. .Capacity: 60. © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun ..

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