Stadiums aren't just about the dollars - expert

Morning Talk 08/06/2018
Western Springs. Photo: Google Maps.

A Massey University academic says the value in a stadium isn’t in how much money it generates, it’s about the heritage value to the community.

Dr Sam Richardson, senior economics lecturer at Massey University, has made a career studying New Zealand’s stadiums and their benefits to communities.

“When it comes to trying to justify building a new stadium or replacing a stadium often the benefits that people say [the new stadium] will bring in events and they will bring in more money,

“Yet, more often than not it’s actually a more defendable reason to take the dollars and cents out of it,” he tells Mark Sainsbury.

Yarrow Stadium will be closed for the foreseeable future.

“What’s the value to the people who are actually using that facility? What’s the heritage worth to us?”

For many different reasons, stadiums around the country are closing or being forced to change and adapt.

Taranaki's Yarrow Stadium will be closed for the foreseeable future due to tests revealing a significant earthquake risk at the grounds. 

It was also recently announced that Western Springs will be lost to speedway fans and will be turned into a multi-purpose cricket facility.

But Dr Richardson says the Auckland Council should’ve been mindful of more than just the cost of a facility like Western Springs.

He argues it’s also about the history of the site.

“It’s not just the dollars and cents operation, but it’s the wider benefits and costs.

“You will have those who say ‘it’s got value to me as an individual because I’ve taken my kids there, my father, my grandparents took me there, that’s got value to me’.”

Western Springs will continue to host concerts and remain a home for the likes of Ponsonby Rugby Football Club. 

Eden Park will no longer host cricket, which council planning committee chairman Ross Clow told NZME would allow more concerts to be scheduled at the venue. 

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said Auckland Council would sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with speedway - an agreement between both parties. Mr Goff confirmed Auckland Council would "make a contribution" towards new facilities for speedway. 

"It's a new start for them," Mr Goff said. "They're enthusiastic about it and think it's a good move, and it does free up the potential of Western Springs for further development."

Listen to the full interview with Dr Sam Richardson above.

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