Sunday, May 6, 2007

Better cross your legs...

Would you spend almost 3000 buckaroonies to remodel a bathroom that you can only use once every 10 days? And if you tried to use it more often, the toilet would back up?

I didn't think so.

Yet that's exactly what the proposed 49ers stadium would be like. It would cost close to $3000 for every man, woman, and child in Santa Clara. By the most optimistic estimates (the 49ers' of course) the stadium would see action about 30 days a year (10 home games, plus 20 "special events.")

"A couple more days if we make the playoffs," says Lisa Lang, the 49ers' VP of communications.

So the only way to make this investment pay off is to increase the number of events. But wait! If you think the neighbors are up in arms about traffic etc now, wait until we try to put on even more events! There goes that overflowing toilet...

So to recap, 30 days out of 365 days a year, that's not even 10% utilization, folks!

Compare this to other investments we can make:
  • A school would resound with the pitty-patter of little feet at least 9 months out of the year, or about 53% utilization. (We don't count weekends, 'cause the little tykes ought to have time off for Little League, etc.)
  • A typical Silicon Valley office building would be in use 5-6 days a week (7 if it's Yahoo's -- they gotta catch up to Google.) Minus a couple of weeks off for Diwali and Chinese New Year, etc, that's still easily 65% utilization.
  • A library like the cool new one on Homestead can be open 7 days a week -- if the city hasn't already blown its wad subsidizing billionaires.

What does that utilization look like?

Stadium: 10%School: 53%
Office: 65%Library: 100%

The moral of the story? If we're going to invest in something big, let's invest in something that will get a lot of use.

PS. Also, don't forget, that's $2900 per head, so for the average Santa Clara household with 2.58 :-) persons, that's just about $7500. That ought to pay for marble vanities and a heated toilet seat.

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