Widgets Magazine

Working for Nothing

This week the NFL decided that the St. Louis Rams would head back to L.A. This has been written about extensively from the L.A. Times, NY Times, St. Louis outlets, and others. One theme in these articles is the fervor with which the state and local governments worked to keep the Rams in St. Louis. The product of which was a proposed $1 billion stadium project. As you may imagine the integrators in and around St. Louis watched this process with eager anticipation. A number of them were asked to bid on the project. I sat in one of their offices about a year ago and asked why he was even bothering to put together a bid. See, I have been of the opinion for a number of years that the Rams were moving back to LA. The stadium lease stipulated the Rams had the right to move back if the stadium was no longer a “top tier” stadium. With places like the Giants/Jets, Cowboys, and 49ers stadiums, that was bound to happen. His response to me was that you had to in order to keep getting bids.
This is not just an issue for integrators and their bid teams. It is also one for manufacturers as well. This stadium that would not be built had nearly every top-level speaker you could think of called out in the bid. If you think of speakers in AV the first few that come to mind were in this project. That means that several companies spent countless hours looking at specs, sight lines, acoustical renderings, and working to make certain their product would work in this fictional space. In addition, wireless microphone companies worked with the consultant and architects to see which of their systems would function in the space. All of these companies performed this work with the idea that if the stadium was approved, and the Rams stayed, they would receive business and make money from their work. But that didn’t happen.
The architects and the consultant I’m certain were paid for the work. The process cost the state and city somewhere in the neighborhood of $16 million. This was for artist renderings, architectural drawings, consultant fees, legal costs, and the salaries of the task force put together to deal with the NFL. My question is why not the integrators? Now, there is no answer. Or, the answer is this is how business is done. We work on proposals with the anticipation of getting the job. If we get awarded the work we get to recoup those costs if not well, that’s the price of doing business. It seems a bit odd that another industry, architects, have a completely different structure. They don’t work if they don’t get paid. Even if the building never sees the light of day they still get paid. It’s just something to consider as you have your coffee this week.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

About Author

Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.

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