Memorial Stadium reuse potential study

Analysis of Potential Re-use Opportunities for Memorial Stadium

Above is a link to the Analysis of Potential Re-use Opportunities for Memorial Stadium report.  This report was prepared by Convention Sports & Leisure International on April 16, 2007 and presented to IPFW.

The examination of potential stadium events begins on page 15 and includes: IPFW Baseball, Baseball, Soccer, Football, Lacrosse, Semi-Professional Sports, Concerts, Motorsports, Amateur Sports, Recreational Sports (including camps, clinics and practices), and a variety of other events.  From page 22:

  • In 2005, the Stadium hosted approximately 15 of these miscellaneous events, including corporate sponsor batting practices, a cystic fibrosis walk, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts events and a Fourth of July fireworks show.
  • The Stadium’s ability to host corporate events could be impacted significantly by the presence of a new downtown ballpark. The Wizards will likely use the new ballpark to entertain their sponsors. In addition, other corporations seeking a venue for a special outing may be drawn to the novelty of the new facility.
  • Despite potential competition from the proposed downtown ballpark, it is assumed that Memorial Stadium could continue to achieve levels of miscellaneous events that are similar to historical levels due to the additional dates made available by the departure of the Wizards.
  • For purposes of this analysis, it is estimated that Memorial Stadium could host approximately 10 to 15 miscellaneous events annually, with average attendance of approximately 100.

and page 23:

  • As shown, it is estimated that Memorial Stadium could host approximately 55 to 79 events annually, with total attendance of approximately 7,000 to 20,000 spectators and participants. In comparison, the Stadium hosted 38 non-Wizards events in 2005 with attendance totaling approximately 8,400. As shown in the table, the estimated concert activity provides the majority of the increase in estimated attendance under the aggressive scenario.

This all sounds great, until you get into the financial analysis, which begins on page 24.  I’ll cite a few points from the summary, which begins on page 26:

  • Based on the analysis presented in this section, Memorial Stadium is estimated to sustain an annual operating loss ranging from approximately $139,000 to $164,000. This estimate does not include capital repairs costs, deferred maintenance costs or debt associated with a potential renovation or reconfiguration of the Stadium.
  • It is possible that physical improvements could be made to the Stadium to make it more attractive to concert acts and promoters. However, the costs associated with these types of improvements are not known at this time. Therefore, it is unclear whether such improvements would result in a facility that would attract a sufficient number of concerts to help offset the added capital costs.
  • Similarly, while it is assumed that the facility can be reconfigured to accommodate football and/or soccer, on a temporary basis, such reconfiguration would also require capital costs to remove and/or replace the scoreboard, reconfiguration of the outfield fence to accommodate a full football field or soccer pitch, and other such improvements. The cost for these items is estimated to range from $100,000 to $200,000, depending on the extent of the improvements. As noted above, while this could assist in attracting a limited number of events, primarily high school football and/or soccer, the revenues generated from such events are likely to be minimal.
  • Assuming the decision is made to continue operating the Stadium as a sports facility, it is understood that several significant capital improvements will likely need to take place over the next several years. These projects include a replacement of the field (with either natural or artificial turf), replacement of the seats in the grandstand, sealing of various joints in the concrete to prevent leakage, roof repairs, replacement of the Stadium light fixtures and standards, as well as updates to bring the facility into compliance with ADA regulations. Based on discussions with Stadium representatives, the cost to complete these and other improvements is estimated at approximately $2.0 million or more.
  • The addition of a synthetic turf such as FieldTurf could provide the Stadium with the ability to host a wider variety of events by eliminating the potential for damage and/or general wear and tear on the natural grass field. The installation of synthetic turf may also reduce operating costs associated with maintaining a natural grass surface. However, turf installation would require an upfront capital cost that could exceed $1.0 million. While this would result in some reduction in operating costs, the reductions would likely not be sufficient to offset the capital cost to install the surface. In addition, it is uncertain if the addition of a synthetic surface would result in a significant increase in demand and utilization of the Stadium.
  • In addition, it is understood that the City has considered the development of an endowment fund that would provide a source for operational costs for the Stadium going forward. As discussed previously, the annual subsidy is estimated to range from approximately $139,000 to $164,000. Assuming this subsidy inflates at five percent per year, and further assuming a discount rate of five percent and a remaining useful life of 20 years, the required endowment is estimated to range from approximately $2.6 million to $3.1 million in net present value.
  • While there appears to be some potential demand for the ongoing use of the Stadium that could justify such a public commitment, such demand appears to be generally limited to amateur baseball events. As such events could also be hosted at the new ballpark, through providing such a subsidy, the City may effectively create additional competition for the proposed new ballpark.

As I mentioned, these are some of the highlights and things I remember being discussed recently on this blog.

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