Forget land costs, interest, management and operating expenses; BC Place still needs $2.5 million a month to break even. That represents amortization of recent renovation costs over 20 years. Of course, the actual revenue needed for break even is much higher because of the other costs.
Let’s consider how business is progressing.
BC Place shows 17 event days on their November calendar. However, to achieve that number they stretch the truth. They have only three real revenue days booked, two BC Lions home games and the Grey Cup. However, that is three more days booked than for December.
In November, they also have the Vanier Cup and two days for BC High School Football playoffs. In its first 46 years, the Vanier Cup, Canada’s university football championship, has been held in western Canada once, when the 2006 version attracted about 12,000 fans in Saskatoon. Spectators for the November high school games, beyond a handful of family and friends, would have filled a phone booth. The remaining 11 event days are zero revenue “Move In” and Move Out” days and a media day preceding the Lions last regular season game, which filled half the stadium.
The students are back for the High School Football Championship on December 3. That is the only public event for the month. No wonder, PavCo didn’t produce a business plan before it spent $563-million renovating the stadium. We can be sure the facility will lose at $25 million bucks a year and larger government subsidies will be needed to keep paying those six figure bonuses to PavCo’s senior executives. Of course, they’ll only be paid those extras if the facilities meet targets, which may explain how three revenue producing days in November can be treated as 17 event days.
|2010 High School Football Championship|
Readers should remember the stadium rebuild was never intended to proceed on its own. It was originally an adjunct to the Paragon mega-casino project. Gordon Campbell said the “entertainment epicentre” would include two major hotels, five restaurants, and more than 100,000 square feet of gambling facilities. However, behind the scenes deal-making was so obviously corrupt, the project died.
Paragon Gaming Inc., having no money of its own, was counting on its relationship with provincially owned PavCo to help bankroll its proposed $450-million Vancouver casino, according to Paragon president Scott Menke. Paragon’s direct connection to Campbell was T. Richard Turner, the ethically challenged executive who joined Paragon while still head of the BC Lottery Corporation. (Also husband to Denise Turner, Chair of troubled Community Living BC.)