Coming during a week of pure political circus, an offer to taxpayers and ratepayers from a "consortium of developers" for a "free" multi-purpose 50,000 seater covered stadium on the Auckland waterfront ignited ill-informed media contagion.
"I'm all for a waterfront stadium", "let's do this" and the like — clarion calls for a fiscal lemming effect, urging supporters to wave goodbye to their cash.
One such ill-informed comment stated, "Pink, or the next Pink, won't be prepared to do six nights in a row to accommodate all the fans." Pure bunkum.
Pink is managed and promoted by the world's largest concert promoter, Live Nation, who also own the management rights to Spark Arena through their Australian franchisee and chairman, Michael Coppel, and the consecutive night model typifies the work of promoters such as Live Nation, who also own Ticketmaster worldwide.
They hedge their bets on a 12,000 ticket sell-out as opposed to a speculative 25,000 plus.
Accordingly, Pink selling out six nights at the Spark Arena as opposed to say, filling a 60,000-70,000 seat stadium, affirms the economic discipline of the present concert promoter's profitable modus operandi.
The notion that the $1 billion waterfront stadium once proposed by the Labour Government was in any way viable was a myth. Queens Wharf would have required an additional investment of $197 million plus, for strengthening of wharf piles where the stadium was to be built.
Now for the said consortium to proclaim their proposed waterfront stadium would be free to ratepayers proves also, to be pure bunkum. Barriers to entry for their project go far beyond objections they have alluded to: the entire project depends on their acquisition of Eden Park as a "gift". That would require an Act of Parliament to alter the Eden Park Trust Act 1955.
There are also good grounds to suspect the consortium is ignorant of the true cost of development and/or upgrades of stadiums such as ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park, Sydney, now closing until 2022 for a $1 billion upgrade. In the interim events are moving to Allianz Stadium, formally Sydney Stadium, where a $A700 million upgrade has been completed.
For a consortium chaired by a lawyer to make such a spurious promise of a waterfront stadium free to ratepayers, having already requested $4 million from the Auckland Council for a next stage report — and the whole project is entirely dependent on Eden Park, which taxpayers and ratepayers have invested some $300 million in, being gifted to them — raises further issues.
In these days of instant online gratification and the prospect of AI and augmented reality overtaking visual reality, stadiums as we know them could be things of the past within 20 years.
* Murray Stott is a trade mark agent and sponsorship broker who has been contracted for several Auckland stadiums.