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The Regina Dome

The Carrier Dome

CBC is quoting the NDP in saying that a new domed stadium would cost $600 million and I can’t see it as Ford Field only cost $430 million and is twice the projected size but whether or not they are right or wrong, I am not sure a dome stadium is a good idea for Regina or Saskatchewan. 

  • In a good season, the Saskatchewan Roughriders play 11 home games.  I can see the Riders fill a small Carrier Dome type stadium with 40,000 people for 10 of those games (one is a home exhibition game).  The University of Regina Rams would play four games a year there but in front of crowds that may not pay for the cost of opening the building so I won’t mention that.
  • Mosaic Stadium is not a nice stadium and I can’t envision a scenario where you could renovate it and bring it up to standards that Rider Nation deserves and wants.  We don’t want a lot but Mosaic Stadium offers even less.
  • There would be some more top flight concerts but how many bands can fill a stadium that big?  Three or four a year?  I bet it is closer to one or two after the original rush.
  • There would be some conferences but Regina is no Las Vegas.  How many conferences or trade shows will need that much capacity and Regina doesn’t have a lot of excess rooms already.

As a football fan, I prefer open air stadiums.  Yes playoff games in Regina are horrible to play in and attend but so are games at Lambeau Field, Commonwealth Stadium, McMahon Stadium, Gillette Stadium and a lot of other cold weather venues.  While Mosaic Stadium is a horrible place to be when it is cold, it is amazing to be outside in the summer.  Like BC Place, while you gain something in the fall, you lose something in the summer.  Plus, football is supposed to be played outside.

As a taxpayer, I am not so worried about the capital costs as I am about the ongoing operating costs.  Cities infatuations with domed stadiums seems a lot shorter than with traditional stadiums (anyone screaming to replace Notre Dame Stadium (built in 1930) or Wrigley Field (built in 1914, last cleaned in 1919), while how’s that abandoned Silverdome (built in 1973, kicked to the curb in 2008) doing?  Domed stadiums have not aged well compared with open air ones and tend to be big financial sinkholes, if you doubt me, I have two words and one link for you, Olympic Stadium (which seemed like a brilliant idea at the time).

If I was calling the shots on this, I would proceed slowly with the hope of building a stadium that stands the test of time rather than something that barely makes 30 years before the call for replacing it begins.

8 Comments

  1. Mike O says:

    If you look at a stadium, what you have is a playing field, seats and concession stands. Tacked on are things like locker rooms and skyview boxes, but they are add-ons.

    The space (help me out here, architects) under the stands can be designed to be a great trade show venue. Solid sloped ceiling on one side, sloping glass (like the rock and roll hall of fame) on the other. And, have the concessions placed strategically, so they don’t interfere with the design of the trade space.

    You will have to cross the volume with skybridges, but these can be well-styled, and even on rails, to roll to the ends. The under-stand space does not have to be one huge hall, it can be broken into four or more spaces.

    This will get you something that you can use a couple hundred days a year.

  2. Now Saskatoon is a bad example as it’s hockey stadium is out in the burbs (why we did that, I don’t know) but Winnipeg’s is right downtown and integrated into the city by sky bridges. I doubt even with hockey it is used for 200 dates a year but I could be wrong.

    The problem with football stadiums is that the perfect location is downtown but not a lot of downtowns have the space for one (Winnipeg’s downtown was in such bad shape that the hockey arena did fit as did a great downtown minor league baseball park).

    That being said, I think a stadium could be used as a part of a larger community redevelopment effort. I haven’t been to Lambeau Stadium but it has that amazing concourse/great hall and so does Yankee Stadium. Gillette Stadium has Patriots Place – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Place – and in Winnipeg, their stadium has The Forks. I have always thought a stadium/condo/mall/community gathering place had a lot of possibilities. Patriots Place, meets Wrigleyville, meets Lambeau Stadium, meets the Rogers Centre.

    My question can a city of 150,000 in a province of one million support that.

  3. Mike O says:

    > My question can a city of 150,000 in a province of one million support that.

    Well, to quote:
    “In the 1980s, Prairieland was home to 12 major events; today, it hosts 321 events per year – almost one event for every day of the year”
    “Prairieland Park attracts 1.6 million people a year to various programs, conventions, and events creating an estimated economic impact of more than $100 million annually.”

    It looks like there is a market for exhibition space – sure, there will be some overlap, but many events will fit one venue better. And some events will make use of both. Maybe Prairielands is the best place to build a new stadium? It’s too bad Credit Union Centre is so far away, some events are big enough to use up a lot of space.

    I’m observing a trend in trade shows and conventions. It used to be that “welterweight” groups (your fraternity alum association, specialized trade association, etc.) liked to go to “sin cities” like Vegas or New Orleans and the men went alone. Now, the trend is more gender neutral, and these national conventions are in places where you can bring the whole family. While the member is in the sessions, the rest of the family can have a real vacation. Milleniums are replacing generation X and milleniums are joiners.

    The stadium/condo/mall/community gathering place is the trend, and Saskatoon would ride that trend.

    Any Baseball in Saskatoon? The Huskies don’t seem to have it, let’s put together a team and call it the Saskatoon Coopers. It seems every time I google something in Saskatoon, I get something on jordoncooper.com !

    1. Jordon says:

      Prairieland’s #s are a little suspect as most of those events are not major events and most of the major events are actually produced by Prairieland. I think those numbers also include the horse races, the annual Saskatoon Exhibition, and some other summer events that are put on by them.

      That being said, it evolved from two terrible hockey rinks and an outdated warehouse into a world class conference space which I think has as much space as what a domed stadium has in it. If a modern space like that didn’t already exist like it does in Regina and Saskatoon, I would be inclined to believe it could work and it may.

      Often events that outgrow Credit Union Centre move to Prarieland and outside of the annual Draggins Rod and Custom Car Show, I can’t see a lot of events that need more space (and it really does need more space) in Saskatoon or Regina.

      Of course my big issue is the short life span of domes and as a football fan, I think it should be freezing outside for the playoffs. Dan Fouts lost feeling in his one hand because of that game in Cincinnati in 1981 and I think that should be happening here as well!

  4. Jordon says:

    One other thought, while Casino Regina is nice, it’s not a place that is exactly a destination centre. Now I could be biased because I told Mark that is where his poo went every time he flushed but it’s not a place you go to unless you are going to a Rider game (or are elected to the Saskatchewan legislature). The only time I go down there is when I want to see an Imax and we are at the cabin (and therefore only an hour out of Regina).

    I don’t think any facility is going to change that but rather a big reinvention of the city is needed.

  5. Jody Thomas says:

    Build it and they will come. Have you been to an edmonton game with sask their its filled with green and white sell tickets in more than just one province. Get good sponsors like tim horton mcdonalds molson pilsner to help fund it. If they help fund it allow them a spot inside. And use this place as much as possible for everything the city has to offer like car shows concerts cultural events like mossaic. Iam sure the city can find other uses but use it like edmonton uses the northlands not like they use their stadium. Apply for big curling events put regina on the map and people will come

    1. Jordon says:

      Well they come to Regina (or anywhere in Canada) to see the Riders play already and they would for an outdoor arena. While it’s a nice idea to say that anyone can use the Dome, there are only so many events that a city of 150,000 can fill. Look at what happens at other domes across the country. They start out great but over time lose their luster pretty quickly. I love the Riders but I don’t like the idea of a domed stadium.

  6. GWAR says:

    I could not agree more … No one has included the cost of the rail clean up , evironmental clean up of the rail yard , demolition of the old stadium etc. So the bill is going to be more like a billion dollars. So… for a billion dollars do we get a parking lot??? lol