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Why couldn’t we build a 25,000 seat stadium at West Harbour for $102 Million?

Posted July 26, 2010

Bob Young says the West Harbour won’t work for him because the city has stated it will only build a 15,000 seat stadium if private sector co-investors do not add to the Future Fund and Pan Am money.

Young adds, "the Tiger-Cats cannot play in a 15,000 seat stadium in the West Harbour. Without the Tiger-Cats, there is no legacy use for a 15,000 seat stadium at this location."

From a CFL team perspective Young is correct, as the recent experience of the Montreal Alouettes can attest.  Montreal has recently expanded their downtown stadium to 25,000 after this size was deemed necessary for financial viability.

If this is a major issue for Young, what about using the $102 million dollar funding envelope dedicated to the stadium to build a 25,000 seat stadium?  Going further, why not open it up for competitive bidding rather than the current scenario which is essentially looking at only one party (the Ticats and their development team) to build the expanded portion of the stadium?

A look at some recent Major League Soccer (MLS) stadiums around North America show that we aren’t really getting a good bang for our buck in terms of a 15,000 seat stadium for $102 million in public dollars. 

While some of the following examples are high end deluxe facilities, the costs demonstrate that a 25,000 seat facility of comparable quality to many facilities around North America could be had for our $102M funding envelope.  It’s at least worth opening the bidding process to see who would step up to do the job with such large amounts of public money on the table.

That way, the Ticat's business case for West Harbour would not be based on a 15,000 seat stadium, but the needed threshold of 25,000 for CFL sustainability.

City

Capacity

Price

Year Built

Toronto (BMO)

20,500

$62.5M

2006

Montreal (Saputo Stadium)

13,034 (expanding to 20,000)

$14.1M (+$12M)

2007 (2012)

LA Galaxy (Home Depot Centre)

27,000

$150M

2003

Columbus (Crew Stadium)

20,455

$28.5M

1999

Chicago

20,000

$98M

2004

Salt Lake City

20,000

$115M

2006

Dallas (Pizza Hut Park)

20,500

$57M (stadium costs only)

2005

Houston

22,000

$95M

2012

San Jose

18,000

$60M

2012

 

Look at the BMO Stadium in Toronto: a 20,500 seat stadium for just $62 million.  Could another 4,500 seats have been added for another $40 million?

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