BC Place

Some targets are easier to make than others

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.)

Further reading:
Gaming the taxpayers with ersatz capitalism
Online journalists saved the bacon.

Categories: BC Place, Gambling, Pavco

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7 replies »

  1. Looks like the Big Business-BC Liberal financial plan will have the 99% paying the management bonuses to Mr Podmore and company. No surprises here. How convenient to be able to set your “goalposts” so you always win.

    I personally do not begrudge a large stadium that serves commercial interests like the BC Lions and trade shows and less commercial events like university football championships and more community type events. What I do find truly objectionable is the dishonesty of unreal projected construction costs, non-transparent operating budgets and accounting. Too bad the Liberal and MSM, (the1%) do not care about this because us 99% are ultimately paying for it all.

    A bit off topic but perhaps timely… I do not totally begrudge the fact that BC Place (new corporate name to be announced soon?). I would prefer it to be named after an inspiring hero like Terry Fox than a corporation but maybe In the light of budget realities a paying sponsor is ok.

    Thank for the post Mr Farrell.


  2. I hear the delay in naming the building for a corporate sponsor is argument over how the revenue is shared between the main tenants and the facility owner. Naming for Terry Fox would be appropriate.

    Trade shows? But the convention centres on the waterfront sit empty most of the time. Is it not absurd to use a 60,000 seat stadium for events that need 2% of that capacity?


  3. The over 1/2 billion spent to re-roof BC Place really illustrates the financial wizardry of our BC liaRs when you (irony alert)compare it to that dumb guy from Toronto (/irony alert) that purchased the 83,000 seat Pontiac Silverdome and its 40 or so acres of parking from the city of Detroit for less than the cost of the new roof on the marshmallow.

    Perhaps the Marshmallow would be a could topic for the show on Knowledge “Frontiers (of insanity) of Construction!”


  4. This spent money of $563-million renovating the stadium is a Catch-22. In the last seven months, the Sky Train line and Millenium have been breaking down, longer and longer.

    What's the point of having all these huge facilities in downtown Vancouver if the masses can't get there?

    At some point the BC Liberals are going to have to wake up to the fact that the 25 year life span of a BC Place roof is the same life span of an electronic system for the Skytrain system.

    Problem is, like BC Hydro, Skytrain needs an input of cash to fix both of their problems which means that the BC Liberal government is getting ready to privatize both items just like they did to BC Rail.


  5. Even BC's rivers went private, as did the BCR. The Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, have turned BC into, a swamp of fetid corruption.

    Campbell and Harper pretty much dismantled BC. Campbell thieved and sold our assets. Then, there was Campbell and Harper's HST scam. It is one thing if, BC's HST was kept in BC. However, Harper was drooling at the mouth for BC's HST, so it was forced onto us, to give to big business and Harper. There wasn't even a full debate in the Legislature. There was no representation for BC's HST. That tax could have paid for, a lot of things for this province. Harper and Campbell, have financially destroyed BC.

    As it stands right now, I think BC is busted, flat broke and unable to do any fixing on anything.


  6. What really drives me bonkers, Norman, is that the public continues to be oblivious to reality. They have again been suckered down the same old devious road.

    When BC Place was first built, it was going to be the essential venue for the B.C. Lions (barely a notch above “zero revenue generating” Canadian College football), the Whitecaps (they were going to be the champion of a “new North American Bundes League”), as well as a hometown for Major League Baseball (if only they could get a franchise).

    The latter did not happen and it won't, but the oblivious public continues to let themselves be scammed by the elite hucksters who steal from the public purse.


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