Last July, the Saskatchewan director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation predicted that it was “a foregone conclusion” that the province’s then-announced Saskatachewan Roughriders stadium study was “going to recommend a new domed stadium,” given that it was being conducted by a stadium management company. That study was released on Monday, and surprise, surprise:
The study says the domed stadium would be the only 30,000-plus all-weather venue for all of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Montana and North Dakota and could draw 500,000 people each year. The facility could have an operating profit of $1.1 million annually if it was host to 31 events a year, including 11 CFL games, according to the study.
“The project is clearly economically feasible and will generate related and recurrent benefits throughout the province of Saskatchewan. The benefits are overwhelmingly positive,” the study says.
I can’t tell from the news coverage whether that’s a $1.1 million annual profit after paying off construction bonds, or assuming somebody else foots the bill for building the thing. Not that it matters much, as the construction cost is a bit of a moving target anyway, according to the report: $386 million for a 33,000-seat fixed-roof stadium, another $45 million to make the roof retractable. And no one knows yet how it would actually be paid for, with Saskatchewan Enterprise Minister Ken Cheveldayoff saying:
“The feasibility report says it is feasible to go forward. Now we will look at the capital accumulation phase,” said Enterprise Minister Ken Cheveldayoff, whose Saskatchewan Party government indicated a decision about whether or not to proceed will be made by late spring.
“We’ll talk to the federal government, the provincial government, the city and the Roughriders to put a plan in place,” Cheveldayoff said.
“I can say right now that each partner would have to come to the table and contribute for this report to go forward.”
Whether this would be a good deal for Saskatchewan, needless to say, depends on who comes to the table with what. But no doubt the Roughriders are happy that the headlines were written before any of the costs were figured in.