Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium vs. Minneapolis’ Metrodome #Vikings #Wilfare

A quick comparison of what Vancouver has done with their football stadium goes to show how fiscally irresponsible Zygi Wilf is asking Minnesotans to be compared to how fiscally responsible Vancouver has been.

For those of you not familiar with BC Place Stadium, take a look:

BC Place Stadium
Photo by Gateman1997

Looks familiar, eh?

Here are some other similarities:

Opened:
BC Place: 1983
Metrodome: 1982

Cost:
BC Place: $255 million (USD 2011)
Metrodome: $155 million

Roof deflations:
BC Place: 2007
Metrodome: 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 2010

Primary tenant:
BC Place: BC Lions (1983–2009, 2011–)
Metrodome: Vikings, Gopher football (1982-2009), Gophers baseball (1985–2010), Minnesota Twins (1982–2009)

Championship events:
BC Place: Olympic Winter Games (2010), Paralympic Winter Games (2010), Grey Cup (CFL) (1983, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2011)
Metrodome: Super Bowl: (1992), World Series (1987, 1991), NCAA Basketball Tournament (1986 1st and 2nd Round, 1989 Midwest Regional, 1991 1st and 2nd Round, 1992 Final Four, 1996 Midwest Regional, 2000 1st and 2nd Round, 2001 Final Four, 2003 Midwest Regional, 2006 Minneapolis Regional, 2009 1st and 2nd Round)

Location:
BC Place: Downtown Vancouver on transit.
Metrodome: Downtown Minneapolis on transit.

Two domed stadiums with air-supported roofs, built at a similar time, that have received a ton of use by a variety of sports and major events including some of the largest events in the world (Winter Olympics & Super Bowl). In both cases, a case could be made that the current stadium was due for an upgrade.

In Minnesota, the upgrade process has involved building stadiums for the Gophers and Twins at a combined cost of around $860 million in 2011 dollars. But, we’re not done. The Vikings want to build a 21,000 car parking lot in Arden Hills (along with a stadium) at a cost of more than $1.1 billion.

Which would bring our Metrodome replacement costs (combined public/private) to nearly $2 billion.

Vancouver took a different approach. Rather than build a new stadium(s) from scratch, they refurbished BC Place. Cost: $554 million in 2001 USD.

Seriously. Check this out:

Here are a few highlights (beyond fiscal sanity):

That center-hung scoreboard is the 2nd largest in North America. Only Dallas has a bigger one.

One of the beefs with the Metrodome is that people want a retractable roof. BC Place’s refurb included adding an retractable roof. Watch the video starting from 1:00 to see the roof retract. It’s an amazing piece of engineering.

Soccer: BC Place’s turf has received FIFA’s highest certification (2 stars) and is home to the MSL’s Vancouver Whitecaps.

Looking at the wisdom that’s gone in to Vancouver’s stadium construction, it’s pretty clear that there is a better way to do this than what the Vikings are demanding.

By refurbishing the Metrodome, Wilf could have a retractable roof stadium with upgraded seating, luxury suites, concessions, and bathrooms. It’s been done. The concept is proven.

And, by using a combination of personal seat licenses and stadium naming rights revenue, Wilf could likely pay for this with NO public financing.

Or, the public could borrow $650,000,000 we don’t have to build a 21,000 car parking lot in Arden Hills (along with a stadium).

4 thoughts on “Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium vs. Minneapolis’ Metrodome #Vikings #Wilfare”

  1. Ed –

    Great job on the comparison of the two stadiums. It goes to show that you can have great (financial and otherwise) successes refurbishing place than simply tearing down and building again. Good job on the article – keep up the good work!

  2. I hope this website, along with the excellent letter to the editor in yesterday’ Strib, will find an audience. Why haven’t we heard about the wonderful job Vancouver has done! Everything at the Metrodome matches the Vancouver situation: infrastucture, parking, light rail. Let’s get a big group together on this excellent solution to the stadium quagmire!

  3. I may be wrong, but believe I just heard KFAN and Mark Rosen talk about this very post. They didn’t seem to mention a name but pretty much every pointed out everything you made in this post including the retractable roof BC Place has.

    Neither the Common Man or Rosen had a definite opinion to whether they though this be a good idea, but asked the sincere question of “why has this not been brought up?” Pretty slick.

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