Build It and They Won’t Come

Well they won’t be able to come because they can’t afford to.   This is not the punters but the players who are there to entertain the punters.   I’m referring to the troubles of the Otago Rugby Union which is heavily indebted and can’t afford the costs of hiring the new Forsyth Barr stadium in Dunedin.   Today is D-Day for the Union.   Unless some very big punters come to the party that Union is toast.   And the City Council  and the Bank of New Zealand can kiss goodbye to about $100 million each.

The Bank can spread its losses, the Council can’t.   The goodly ratepayers of Dunedin, a majority of whom appear to have been opposed to stadium and made their protests heard, can’t.   Things looked sick from the word go.  The loan to the already cash-strapped Council to pay for the stadium has been stretched out to forty years.  So much for not saddling brats with debt.   The final cost  has not yet been determined!

I’m gloating because it took me about 30 seconds to work out the economics of stadiums was tosh and professional rugby (and the like) was tosh.   I’d endured of rugby viewing since age became a deterrent to gardening in bad weather.   Reduced income meant heating one room only was the preferred choice.   So I watched rugby, marvelled at the economic fantasy and the modern speed and intensity of the game and skill of players.

I’ve  concluded men can’t manage resource distribution and not just in developed countries.  If money is siphoned upwards in ever greater piles to smaller elites you’re stuffed.  Demand for services is fuelled from below, the elite can’t spend fast enough although they do their vulgar best.   Demand contracts because the bottom tiers get less.  That simple.   Mind you English soccer makes our rugby management look almost sane.

Gloating doesn’t really satisfy.  Dunedin’s ratepayers can’t afford a white elephant stadium and players will lose their ‘jobs’.   The inevitable became the immediate far sooner than I and probably they expected.   Some other unions aren’t too healthy.  Closer to home the ongoing poor performance of the Hurricanes means punters won’t go to the stadium and it’ll be off down the slippery slope.  Ratepayers like me will be watching from our armchairs wrapped in a blanket and clutching a hotty with a thermos at our side.  Forward to the past?

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