Operational cost of National Stadium far exceeds annual revenue – Xavier

It costs approximately $60 million to run the Guyana National Stadium at Providence annually while the average yearly income is within the range of $25 million. This is according to information provided by Stadium Manager Anthony Xavier.

Speaking with Stabroek News last week, Xavier explained that $10 million was budgeted for infrastructure works while the gross wages and salaries for the stadium’s workers is approximately $25 million. He further explained that the entirety of the yearly income is used for continuous maintenance work.

The stadium was built for the Guyana leg of the 2007 Cricket World Cup and was estimated to have cost around US$25 million. It was built by the Government of Guyana with major financial assistance from India

Anthony Xavier
Anthony Xavier

Xavier disclosed that the financial operations of the stadium are actually conducted by the financial department of the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport formerly the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport and that the year-round maintenance work which is often conducted by the stadium staff is done so that the stadium is always ready to host events. The cost for the management of the stadium is budgeted for under Programme 4 of the National Sports Commis-sion, line item 6321.

“We maintain all year round, as something happens we repair it, some place needs painting we paint it, we get lil wood ants we fix it. This goes on all the time. The venue has to be in a complete state of readiness for any event particularly cricket, especially international cricket,” Xavier explained.

He shared that for the recently concluded four-day cricket the West Indies Cricket Board had gone to inspect the venue. These inspections, he explains, keep the management team on their toes to make sure that the stadium is available at a moment’s notice.

This constant work also makes sure that there is no need for any major renovations at any one time which would put a strain on the budget. In fact, the last major renovation was in 2011 when approximately $100 million were used to clean and repaint several stands which had rusted and otherwise deteriorated.

The constant maintenance also means, Xavier said, that there was no major expenditure for the presidential inauguration ceremony in May this year. All works done to prepare the venue for the major event were already planned to make the National Stadium ready for the hosting of this year’s Caribbean Premier League cricket tournament.

“We didn’t spend any money for the inauguration. The works done were scheduled works. We just brought forward the works, it was just some painting which cost less than a million dollars,” Xavier, a former public works minister in the PPP/C administration said.

“The stadium continues to be owned by and for all Guyanese as a venue to showcase our talents both cultural and sporting,” Xavier stressed.

He further noted that while the stadium was originally built for the hosting of cricket and other sporting events most of its present income is from the entertainment events, especially in years when there are no international games.

“Most of the income is from rental both sports and entertainment but the concerts are more because they have to pay more for the use of the venue, but when we have CPL and big West Indies games that’s when the sports rentals exceed that of the concerts,” he said explaining that the average charge for a concert is in excess of $1 million.

Use of the stage for four days (practice and the event) is $750,000 while the outer concourse called the carpark is $300,000 for the period and clean-up is $250,000.

For sporting events the cost of the rental of the field is $75,000 while the use of the floodlights, is $50,000 per hour.

The seating capacity of the stadium is 15,000. It was built by Indian firm Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

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