Auckland councillors have questioned Mayor Phil Goff's commissioning of a clandestine new stadium "pre-feasibility" report from PWC which reportedly cost ratepayers $1 million and proved inconclusive.
Councillors and ratepayers could be equally concerned to learn their rates subsidise every Warriors match at Mt Smart and that council-owned Regional Facilities Auckland is also paying gate money to concert promoters to stage headline acts at their own venues.
Ratepayers are also footing the bill for Eden Park's $10m sound curtain for concerts that were never staged. It lies in expensive storage units all over Auckland, the 10,000 extra permanent seats Regional Facilities Auckland bought for the Rolling Stones concert that proved not needed for the gig, notwithstanding.
For a reality check on stadium feasibility, we can better learn from present market leaders who are putting bums on seats. The largest promoter the world has known is Live Nation, which manages and promotes more than 2000 acts.
Its subsidiary business, Ticketmaster, has a worldwide turnover exceeding US$11.8 billion ($15.7b). Clearly, they know their business; the Australasian franchise owner, Michael Coppel, has bought Spark Arena's management rights.
The arena seats only 12,000 concert-goers, promoters now prefer to hedge their bets on 12,000 sell-outs over multiple-play nights. This is evidenced by Live Nation's act, Pink, selling out six nights at the Spark Arena as opposed to, say, filling a 60,000-70,000-seat stadium.
Stadium rock evolved from when the Beatles payed Shea Stadium in New York in the 60s. So-called heavy metal groups dominated the 80s. However, in the US during that time you had to achieve an 80 per cent stadium fill to earn a dollar. Needless to say, concerts worldwide have scaled down their patron expectations to more achievable levels, for smaller arenas.
Adele and Ed Sheeran's massive sell-out shows in New Zealand were something of an aberration rather than being indicative of a concept a new Auckland stadium could cite as tenable revenue generation for local economic benefits.
Being Mayor of Auckland, Phil Goff realises decisions he presides over will have an impact on the destiny of the city for decades. In the interim, I would suggest Regional Facilities Auckland and Ateed put their budgets to better use by attracting Formula E, V8 supercars and the likes for street races along the waterfront whereby the impressive Auckland sky-scape, with its unique waterfront, would be showcased to the world.
The revenue generated over five years could fund a stadium of more realistic proportions. Sydney's Olympic Park incorporating ANZ Stadium could serve as a viable launch model.
The notion that the $1b Waterfront Stadium proposed by the last Labour Government was in any way viable was a myth. Queens Wharf would have required an additional investment of $197m-plus for strengthening of piles of wharves where the stadium was to be built for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Even the astute planners of Eden Park failed to get their budgets correct. They called out for an extra $38m during construction.
They made no provision for facial recognition entry control, much less a $40m sponsorship offer on behalf of a client — not needed, as Auckland's then mayors all coughed up.
Within 10 years every venue, supermarket and any public place where there is likely to be 90 persons or over at any one time will be required to install security screening apparatus. Facial recognition entry will therefore become as ubiquitous as baggage screening at airports is now.
Funding for a new stadium project could be assisted by the council selling Mt Smart Stadium and QBE Stadium to developers for intensive housing projects and, as the new stadium would be a 10-year undertaking, Auckland can be comforted by the fact they have the Spark Arena to stage most headline acts and Eden Park for events where 60,000 seats are required.
• Murray Stott is a trademark agent and sponsorship broker. He was a sponsorship adviser to Vector when its name was on Spark Arena and he was associated with the offer on Eden Park. He says, "I could not secure them 10 per cent of the initial interest now."