Match hailed success but no word on costs

Action at Forsyth Barr Stadium during the Newcastle United against Sydney FC Football match on Tuesday night. Photo by Peter McIntosh
Action at Forsyth Barr Stadium during the Newcastle United against Sydney FC Football match on Tuesday night. Photo by Peter McIntosh
The man in charge of Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium has declared the clash between English Premier League team Newcastle United and Sydney FC a ''brilliant'' success.

However, Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive Terry Davies is refusing to be drawn on whether the company running the venue covered its costs, after earlier agreeing to underwrite the fixture.

Mr Davies told the Otago Daily Times he was happy with the crowd of 9506 that attended the clash on a bitterly cold Tuesday night.

An initial analysis of ticket sales showed the crowd included a strong contingent from outside the city, with only 58% of tickets sold being bought in Dunedin, he said.

The rest had been bought mainly elsewhere in New Zealand, while overseas fans travelling to Dunedin for the fixture - mainly from the United Kingdom, Australia and Asia - made up 9% of the crowd, he said.

That meant the total number of international fans attending Tuesday night's match was on par with last month's All Blacks versus England test, despite the rugby fixture drawing a crowd three times the size, he said.

He put the international interest down to the ''fanatics'' among the Newcastle United fan base, ''who just follow them anywhere''.

''It's like a religion, isn't it? It surprised us a little bit when we saw that stat.''

The clash also attracted valuable international media exposure for the city and the venue, and the community had benefited from travelling fans' spending and public engagement events, including a skills session staged on Sunday, he said.

However, with the stadium's 2200 members offered free entry to the game, the total crowd figure pointed to a paying attendance of about 7500.

Mr Davies had previously said DVML needed to sell about 9500 tickets to break even, on top of members, after agreeing to pay an underwrite fee to the Wellington Phoenix club, which organised the Football United Tour.

Last night, Mr Davies said the cost of members' free entry had been covered by DVML, which had always been planned, and he was happy with the total crowd size.

However, he would not be drawn on whether DVML covered its costs, saying the exact details were ''commercially sensitive''.

''It was a great event, the hype was great, the publicity was brilliant, everyone was happy, more people flew in from outside and there was more money spent [than expected] ... it was a fantastic result, but I'm not commenting on profit or loss.

''This is about economic impact and the city being seen on a global stage.''

Guy Hedderwick

Of course we will never know the truth about costs, etc. and the economic benefit never takes into account the losses, so I include these quotes from that DVML team player Guy Hedderwick.

"never defend the indefensible, it makes you look dumb"

"Doggedly pursuing a stupid idea will not make it a good idea"

And Guy should know. Take heed Dave & co.


The Phoenix rises

I was listening to The CEO of the Wellington Phoenix and the coach Ernie Merrick bemoaning the lack of crowds for the visit of Westham and Newcastle. They said that unless the crowds turned we would never see Premier League teams here again. Anchorman Vietch went on to say that at least no ratepayer money had been spent? Well, of course we in Dunedin know that our Council underwrote the event and it is clear that the event lost money. Vietch went on to say that Super Rugby crowds are way down and that all administrators of all sports are concerned about crowd attendances. So given this scenario why did DVML and Mr Davies think underwriting this soccer event was a good idea? Then we hear from Mr Davies that the event was a glittering success and it has put us on the global stage. Since when was Mr Davies entrusted with promoting and marketing Dunedin? Is the more than $100,000 he lost on this event seen as being part of Dunedin's marketing and tourism budget? The city has record debt but still huge amonts of ratepayer money are thrown down the drain on DVML gambles, what an utter disgrace.[Abridged]

Lack of creativity

He is only interested in number crunching but if we take the premise of the original article that let us know that 44,000 people came to the pool over the last year.  At $6 pp that gives us a $245,000 - seems enought to run the pool every year.

The board have not go a creative bone in their body when it comes to finances - it's unbeleivable really. They have spent millions on a computer system in the hospital and still don't have a fast smooth streamlined system because their server cant handle their data.  Now wouldn't it be prudent to find a server who could?[Abridged]


Users already pay

Kris: the Physio pool is not free - nominal entrance is already $6, people with a medical certificate can get a reduced entrance fee.

I think that Thompson's point of view seems to be that once they've kicked a patient out the door the Hospital Board's responsibility for their recovery ends.

Personally my recovery was slowed by the Hospital Board's policies - simple diagnostics had me in a long queue for radiology, meanwhile my muscles wasted and I slowed down, in the end I paid for my own radiology just to get things moving while I was still mobile - that plus months on my back left me only barely capable of getting around on crutches. My first few trips to the pool I was winched in and out, a couple of months later I walked out (and into the gym) on my own two feet - I paid probably $30 a week to enter the pool, I paid for a physio 3-4 times, I paid for my own transport to get to and from the pool - users already pay - it's Mr Thompson's Hospital Board that's leaving them high and dry and in pain.

I hope I never need to use the pool again, but I certainly hope it's there for me, and you, and all our neighbours if we do.

Distribution of resources

It is the community's responsibility to see that all facets of our society are taken care of. The reason the stadium comes up vs the physio pool is simple frustration at the distribution of resources, whether it be hospitals, libraries, pools hot or cold etc.

The physio pool supports many of the elderly and disabled, it's perhaps one of the only healing mechanisms for bone and muscle and neurological issues our citizens face on a daily basis.  Looking around our community I do not see a plethora of places people over 60 can go to maintain their physical health.  The students have their pool and families have Moana Pool and the various suburban pools located around the area.  The hot pool encourages prevention of disease and helps the disabled.

Thomson's "user pays" insensitivity, albeit reality, is not the way to approach the problem of funding.  It should be the boards responsibility to go out and find donors and sponsorhip to keep the doors open.  And if they need help doing this they should appeal to the public. But to carte blanche close up shop and tell 44,000 people in a community of 120,000 is a dictatorship.  Its like you have all given up.  If everyone did pay $6 a visit it would pay for the cost of running the facility for the year.  

The million dollar upgrade could perhpas come from the health insurance companies or a lottery.  Please find a  way to keep the pool open for the health and betterment of our residents. 

Drawing a line at the pool

"It is not the council's responsibilty to ensure this facility stays open" says Lynden re the Physio Pool, and he's correct.  It's the council's responsibility to subsidise professional rugby, isn't it, Lynden?  So they've got to draw the line somewhere.

Get real

Get real, mothball it. Then "get real" you'll have to pay a get real price to use it. It's the Cr Thomson way.


Great game but...

I don't use the physio pool and hopefully will never need to. I'd certainly rather pay the $2 a year per ratepayer to keep it open than have the same money used to prop up another sporting event. The game was great, we had the best seats - right behind the goal. It was a shame that the overseas guests could not see or hear the entertainment - probably reserved for those that didn't directly pay to attend the game. The $1 million to fix the physio pool is about 1 month's losses at the stadium, the loss on this one event would keep the pool open for a year. So how about it Dunedin, let's choose to support the injured, the sick and the elderly instead of professional sport. Why not use the pool as part of a rehabilitation cluster? It could bring in out of towners to help the local economy. Another constructive brick in the goal of making Dunedin a global player in medical tourism.

Toon Army

What a moving minute's silence for the two fans who had been prepared to travel across the world to Dunedin to watch their heroes. Perhaps we could remember them in perpetuity with plaques for the two seats they were meant to be sitting in and maybe even paint the seats the traditional Newcastle colours: black and white stripes. Dunedin seems to have had a good write up in the Newcastle press and it would be good to foster this relationship further. I would certainly donate to such a cause.

Not a council issue

Lynden: I am well aware that the running of the pool is not a council issue and I agree that Central Government paying Grant Dalton $2 million pa is an obscenity. Just as obscene as Dunedin City Council bailing out the ORFU and wasting $3 million on buying Carisbrook. My point was that the physio pool is something we may have been able to contribute to rather than wasting over a $100,000 underwriting a soccer game. In the end the council is $650 million in debt and yet they throw another $100,000 to subsidise stadium tickets. Under what warped morality can that be seen as accepatable?


As for the loss, DVML as a group has the responsibilities of running all our venues and gowing their patronage so they have to advertise and showcase our venues. They would have gotten more mileage and money brought into the town out of this event than a lot of their other ideas.
Whether the town got $100,000 or so's worth I don't know, but it will definitely have been more than value than the $50,000 black phallus for the Rugby World Cup, and how much of a return did we get from the harbour teeth?
I'm not suggesting this was good or bad. We have to consider the effect of the exposure this opportunity has brought us, and we have think of DVML as a group - it's not just the stadium.
However, to do this we need something we don't get - full, open, honest, transparent and unbiased financial reports from both sides of the debate.


Pool and stadium not related

It is not the council's responsibilty to ensure this facility stays open. Healthcare is funded by taxes, not rates, and thus falls directly on central government's shoulders. If the council was to fund this it would be yet another case on an item which should funded by tax that this government foists onto local government so they can fire tax cuts to their mates or fund boat races or gift smelters to stay open an extra year.

Blame the pool on the underfunding our DHB consistantly gets from so-called population based funding and the same Govt that intends to debt fund an upgrade/rebuild of our hospital and force the DHB to pay the interest of $20m per year without additional funding yet just sold recieved $4.5 billion for selling assets (that almost no one wanted sold) on the premise that this is the exact sort of project it was meant to be for.

The pool ugrade should be included in the greater hospital upgrade/rebuild plans.

This is yet another case of an anti-stadium brigade member trying to link a subject that is in no way related at all. 


Did you pay?

Get real. Did you pay for your tickets or are you one of the ones who got free tickets? If you paid for them don't you think it was a really great deal you got seeing as I couldn't afford the tickets because I had to part pay for yours?

Get real indeed

Get real: I am pleased you and your son enjoyed the event, but if it really did lose $100,000 isn't that of concern to you? Do you think its fair that Dunedin ratepayers subsidise your entertainment? It appears that your tickets should have cost considerably more than you paid. Would you feel OK about paying for my nights out or my visits to the cinema? Sorry but losses of that magnitude cannot be sustained. The physio pool is closing through lack of $100,000pa and yet DVML can burn $100,000 in rate payer funds underwriting the entertainment of a few.

What does this mean?

It seems the CEO has a mandate to create economic impact and ensure the city is seen on a global stage.  What does this mean? Does it mean that he can run events at a direct loss justifying that cost because of a supposed wider benefit?  Is he charged with this nebulous mission and has it primary status to the event breaking even?

Let us hope the soccer match lost money.  It will be a cheap lesson which hopefully will stem any further speculative forays into the world of showtime, impressarios, smoke, mirrors and glitter.  The thing about the entertainment business is that it is very specialised and most of the money invested is ultimately lost.

"Are you lonesome tonight?" , ARC's David Beckham folly, the world is full of them.

Stick to the knitting as painful, as it is. Dunedin City Council - Entrpreneurs extraordinaire, Impressarios of genius, mug punters!!

A financial loss for such a DVML success?

The ratepayer must have the right to know if their staduim has made a loss or not. Its manager says this games was a great success but success isn't just messured by crowd numbers, who won or who lost.

So to the manager of DVML: just how much did we, the Dunedin ratepayers, lose in dollar terms to hold this great success?

Shouldn't success also be measured on the financial front, as Mr Farry said it would be?



Didnt take long?

As usual the usual mob are stating the same stuff they always go on about...really?  Get over it. Here's a tip, just cut and paste, it will save so much typing..

I went to the game with my son, we both loved it. Great event, great skills in a world class stadium... Embrace change guys - it's here, get used to it! 



Any more gambles?

So we know it's pretty safe to assume the event lost money. What is the next event DVML are going to underwrite? How much more ratepayer money is Mr Davies going to gamble with in the future? Is there anyone else who thinks this whole thing is financial madness? When is Dr Bidrose going to intervene and stop this obscene waste of our money?

Commercially sensitive?

I wonder if the match had been profitable for DVML whether the result would have been commercially sensitive and not able to be released.

Just who is DVML in competition with that makes this information sensitive?

We're not stupid, Terry

We know exactly what you mean by "commercially sensitive". Just man up and admit it lost more money.

Dream world

" he would not be drawn on whether DVML covered its costs"

what a wondeful dream world they live in. I wish I could run my business exactly the same, knowing no matter what the profit or loss sheets say it means nothing to them as they know their is always the 50,000-strong ratepayer money tree to cover it.

As simply as I can ask...did this event lose money? Break even? Or make any profit?

It's not that hard to inform us but by joining the dots and by the usual slience from the DVML as well as the standard line of its "commercially sensitive'' woud indicate another loss making exercise. 

Calculating the loss

One can easily make a back of the envelope calculation of Mr Davies's loss - if they needed 9500 sales to break even and only 7500 actually paid then 2000 seats went unsold - ticket prices varied but the mid range prices were $59-$69 - so let's assume $64 - DVML probably lost 2000x$64 = $128,000.

Of course DVML will claim this isn't a big deal, after all these loses are small compared with rugby's.

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