Temporary sports stadium 'spectacular' success

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 07:32 19/10/2012

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Christchurch's temporary sports stadium has been a "spectacular" success, but is just breaking even financially.

The new AMI Stadium in Addington, which opened in March, hosted its 200,000th ticketholder during the All Whites' football match against Tahiti on Tuesday.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said yesterday the response was "truly heartening" for a city of Christchurch's size.

The stadium's $30 million cost was met by the Government and ownership entrusted to the Christchurch Stadium Trust, chaired by former MP Jim Anderton.

Anderton said the result was "spectacular" for a relatively small stadium, but it faced serious financial challenges. "It's not easy to make stadiums make money and that has to be said," Anderton said. "This year, operationally, we'll break even, basically."

The city was lucky to have a debt-free stadium after the Government footed the bill, he said.

The trust would, from next year, face a cost of about $750,000 a year to lease the seats and an annual insurance bill of $500,000.

High depreciation over a short period skewed the figures also, Anderton said.

"In the first year, the capital spent on the stadium included lease on the seats. From next year, we have to pay that, but we are negotiating it."

Buying seats was not the preferred option because the stadium had an expected life of four years.

"We're a bit in limbo, but that cost is looming. It's an extraordinary cost, but that's the way it is."

Insurance loomed like a "screaming train", Anderton said.

"To be honest, we had a hell of a job getting that.

"In other words, there weren't too many people interested in taking insurance.

"It just puts the whole thing in context. It's not easy to run these places without charging an arm and a leg."

Anderton said the trust had not and would not discount the venue hire to "buy" events for the city.

"If we do that, we'll be losing money every time we open it," he said.

The financial reports are expected to be released in December.

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