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.