SBD/October 3, 2011/Facilities

B.C. Place Reopening Receives Strong Reviews Despite A Few Hiccups

Vancouver Mayor Gregor said B.C. Place's retractable roof is "phenomenal"

B.C. Place had its “grand reopening 28 years -- and $546 million -- in the making” Friday night with the CFL B.C. Lions hosting the Edmonton Eskimos, but the opening “did not go off without a hitch,” according to Mike Raptis of the Vancouver PROVINCE. Frustration "mounted around the concessions, with fans spending 20 to 30 minutes away from their wide and comfortable seats." But when the 50,000-plus crowd “did find their seats, there was much to be marveled at." The “plush turf, now a beautiful eathry tone, is illuminated by a lighting system that brings the building to life.” The scoreboard, "said to be among the biggest in the world, is so crisp and clear." The roof "opened spectacularly just prior to kick off, retracting in an umbrella-like manner that took 18 minutes to unfold." Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said, “It’s phenomenal to be inside with the roof open and such a great crowd.” He added, “It didn’t come cheap, but it’s definitely as good as a stadium gets.” Raptis wrote, “B.C. Place has a world-class feel to it once again.” There are “1,300 plush premier seats, two new club lounges and 50 renovated guest suites.” Raptis: “The building is fresh” (Vancouver PROVINCE, 10/1). In Vancouver, Ed Willes wrote, “The new B.C. Place is wondrous, the equal of any facility of its kind in the world” (Vancouver PROVINCE, 10/2).

FEW ISSUES TO WORK OUT: In Vancouver, Gary Kingston noted “it wasn’t all good news Friday.” Food lines “were long, some concessionaires had trouble keeping up with demand a half-hour before kickoff.” And some of the 50,213 fans “weren’t overly pleased that the end-zone replay screens had been removed in favour of a massive, centre-hung, high-definition video board, that is the second largest in North America,” behind the screen at Cowboys Stadium (VANCOUVER SUN, 10/1). The GLOBE & MAIL’s Matthew Sekeres noted the Lions “decided to lift the local television blackout just hours before game time, averting a potential public relations disaster.” He added the “one disappointment was the sound.” The old stadium “was known for muffled sound from the public address system and the on-field microphone; the problems have carried over into the new facility” (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/1).

SHORT-STAFFED: In Vancouver, Mike Hager  notes, “Few problems were reported Sunday, when the Whitecaps drew a sold-out crowd of 21,000 -- less than half of Friday’s football crowd” -- for their MLS game against the Timbers. Some fans “reported certain concession stands had run out of several types of burgers, draft beer, fries and cups.” Centerplate Regional VP Adrian Dishington, whose company runs the stadium's concession stands, said that Friday’s issues "were caused primarily by a shortage of staff" (VANCOUVER SUN, 10/3).

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