Sunday, May 05, 2013

Ballard's Cricket Stadium Just Another Sticky Wicket?

City-County Councilor Christine Scales has shared with her fellow Republican council members a cautioning story out of Broward County, Florida that should give pause to efforts by Mayor Greg Ballard to spend millions of Rebuild Indy funds on a new east side sports facility that he hopes will host international cricketing events. A community in a part of Florida where tourists flock is now questioning the wisdom of spending $10 million on the nation's first internationally certified cricket stadium. The Sun-Sentinel has the story on Lauderhill's sticky wicket that's costing Broward County taxpayers dearly.
More than five years after Broward County opened the nation's first internationally certified cricket stadium, promoters can count on one hand how many international matches have been held there — and still have three fingers to spare.
It's unlikely things will get better any time soon for the $10 million multipurpose stadium at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, although it was sold to taxpayers as a high-profile, tourist magnet.
So far, the stadium has produced less than $100,000 a year in rental and parking revenues, mostly by hosting lower-level competitions, local cultural events and various sporting attractions. Tourism officials say cricket generated only $3 million last year, barely a half-percent of the county's sports-based tourism dollars.
"We told them repetitiously it wasn't going to draw the hype they were stating," said Lauderhill resident Alan Brown, who supported the park but not the emphasis on cricket. "They focused all their energy into something they felt was going to be an economic boon."
The stadium was promoted by local cricket enthusiasts and endorsed by U.S. and Caribbean cricket officials who saw it as a natural draw given the area's sizeable Caribbean population. It is being paid for through a voter-approved $400 million park bond passed in 2000 and is part of the $72 million regional park, the county's most expensive.
Observers cite the lack of a stadium business plan, ignorance about how the cricket world operates, and an uncooperative national cricket organization as reasons for not drawing the international matches that would fill the stadium and area hotels and restaurants . . .


guy77money said...

You can play it 12 months a year in Florida. Your lucky to get seven months here in Indy. What a waste of money.

Pete Boggs said...

When did speculation in the entertainment become the business of government?

This entertainment distracted spending is so Constitutionally off charter that it's un-american.

Where is the party of small government limited by enumerated powers / responsibilities? Area code?

CircleCityScribe said...

The Mayor is telling his staff to cut their budgets by 5%. Public Safety is a disaster and violence plagues the city, downtown and Castleton.

Yet the Mayor wants to blow $6 million on a cricket stadium??? It is outrageous! -That makes as much sense as building another bike lane in Broad Ripple!