|Zamboni machines don't need drivers|
Compared to other sports such as skiing, it's a bargain thanks to city generous subsidies, as a kid gets about 70 hours on the ice time for about $400.
Compare that to something like gymnastics where a comparable course costs about $2,000.
Governments allot resources to sports without much rigorous thought or discussion and it's not only in the form of cash handouts.
As we've repeatedly noted, the once-green park near my home was sacrificed by municipal authorities for soccer and basketball (complete with fences), simply because some people showed up at a borough council meeting and pressure the elected officials to hand it over, as a result the neighbourhood is almost entirely without green space.
Indoor skating rinks are surely quite expensive, as they are always packed with staffers, including a zamboni driver, who seems to work about 11 minutes per hour. There's also a guy who comes out to move the nets forward a few feet once per hour to allow the driver to get by.
An fully-automatic zamboni would surely be an easy thing to produce, as the contraption takes the same course every time anyway. The nets could also be hooked up with a small motor that pushes it a few feet foward and then back into place for the few seconds the water truck goes by.
Those two small innovations could save something like $700 a day per rink, which would shave about $100,000 off the operating budget for each arena at the very least.