Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saskatoon CUC Director Opposes Regina Dome

Ken Wood, executive director of Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, is the latest to say that a domed stadium for Regina doesn't make sense.

"I'm a bit dubious on the concert market. To me, if you're going to spend that kind of money provincially, you would want to look at incrementally what you're bringing to the province," said Wood.

"I have a very tough time seeing for those kind of dollars what incremental benefits are being brought to the province," he added.

Wood said there are very few stadium concerts to start with and most are in the summer and can already be held at Mosaic Stadium. While a domed stadium would be able to hold a concert in winter, Saskatchewan would be a bit of an "island" far from other facilities able to accommodate such large touring acts.

While a dome wouldn't mean more events in Saskatchewan, it would almost certainly kindle some competition for Credit Union Centre in nabbing performers such as Elton John and the Eagles that have played 10,000- to 15,000-seat shows in Saskatoon as their stop in Saskatchewan, he said.

"There could be a fair number. Major arena concerts in western Canada, the only sure markets are Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver. For Saskatoon and Winnipeg it's dependent on whether the artist wants to do those dates, if the routing works and other factors. But in Saskatchewan there would be one play. It wouldn't mean because there is another facility there would be two plays. For a major concert, a major arena concert, you need the full market (Saskatchewan) for it to work," said Wood, adding he believes his facility has some competitive advantages it could further hone.

Wood said he believes the best option for Regina would be an outdoor stadium similar to Winnipeg's planned $135-million facility, which has covered seating and whose field will be topped with an inflatable bubble during winter to allow for year-round sports and recreation activities.
Wood's comments are very similar to those of the VP of Regina's Evraz Place, Neil Donnelly.

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