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Despite growing calls from activists and sport scholars for public consultation over the expenditure of public funds for stadium developments, there remains a lack of empirical research that examines the politics of these practices. This study critically examines the power relations and tensions present in the public-consultation processes and debates over the use of public funds to renovate or rebuild Carisbrook stadium. Specifically, we engage the enabling and constraining institutional mechanisms that structured five public meetings, which emerged as discursive political spaces in the policy-making process. In doing so, we critically examine the discourses that were actively shaped by stadium proponents to fit the mandates of neoliberal growth and resisted by concerned citizens who opposed: (a) the use of public funds to renovate or rebuild the stadium, and (b) a consultation process driven by a public–private partnership of business, civic, and rugby interests that had perplexing consequences for democratic politics in local governance.
Jay Scherer is with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, E425 Van Vliet Centre Edmonton, AB T6G 2H9 Canada; Michael P. Sam is with the School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.