The Tampere Stadium mystery

Tampere City Council published a report yesterday on the prospects for building a new arena in Sorsapuisto. The arena would host concerts, ‘events’, and ice hockey matches; hold a few thousand more than Hakametsä, and give self regarding important men another nice place to entertain other self regarding important men.

I have not read the entire report, it is over 100 pages long and I have other things to read, but Aamulehti seems to be saying that the city council is considering taking some of the risk of this venture. That’s not the way they frame it, they say that the council ‘won’t take all of the risk’, but that means that 1) they were considering doing just that, and 2) they are still prepared to commit themselves financially to the project, just not fund the whole thing.

This is completely, utterly, ludicrously idiotic. There is no need for a new arena in Tampere, as Hakametsä and Hakametsä 2 provide enough space for all the teams likely to compete in SM Liiga and Mestis, and allows their fans to watch in comfort while generating excellent revenue for the clubs that use the facilities.

The only possible reason for the Sorsapuisto project is so to allow Tampere to host games during the 2012 ice hockey world championships. Even assuming the arena was finished in time for that, Tampere would not get the final, which would almost certainly be played in Helsinki.

So why are they spending taxpayers money on this report? Why try to solve a problem that isn’t there? The time, effort and money ploughed into this report would be much better spent finding a solution to the appalling situation faced by Tampere’s football clubs.

There is no heated outdoor pitch in Tampere, which is (I think) the largest city in the Nordic countries without this basic facility. Several games last year were played in severe rain or snowstorms, and the vast majority of TamU fans don’t sit under a roof. Veikkausliiga football is watched by people forced to use temporary portakabin toilets and sit in the open to watch the game, with no protection from the elements.

Antti Pohja commented earlier this year that the playing surface at Pirkkahalli, where TamU play their pre-season games, is terrible and can cause injuries. Compare to Valkeakoski, where the council (with a tax base and population 10% that of Tampere) has built and maintained a heated, outdoor field usable 12 months of the year. Nothing like that exists in Tampere.

And yet the council is preparing and publishing reports on how they can get a bronze medal match in the ice hockey? Has there been any sober reflection on what the actual problems are and how best to meet them?


3 Responses

  1. Right on the money. It’s a real shame that the city of Tampere (as well as most of it’s citizens) won’t embrace football the way they do ice hockey. Cause and/or consequence, the conditions are relative to general interest.

  2. it’s -> its 😉

  3. I don’t know if that’s true. TamU get big crowds for big games, Tappara don’t usually break 6,000 (see the playoffs for evidence). TPV and Ilves both have a strong history, and there were biggish crowds way back in the 50s: Ilves Kissat used to stop counting once they’d sold 4000 tickets at Pyynikki, and that happened in a quarter of their games in the 1950 championship season.

    It just seems like a hugely unimaginative and frankly irresponsible attempt to outdo Turku. Pretty pathetic, really.

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