Vikings stadium buyer’s remorse? I’ve got it bad — do you?

Perhaps a stadium isn't the best use for land downtown.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having buyer’s remorse big-time about the new Vikings stadium.

The state’s plans for paying off the bonds that would finance its $398 million share of the deal with taxes from electronic pull-tabs and e-bingo seemed dubious from the start.

My skepticism came straight from King Wilson, then executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota, whose members would operate the games. At the time, the Department of Revenue forecast that the state would reap $62.5 million a year in taxes from the adoption of electronic pull-tabs and online bingo.

Wilson wasn’t so sure.

He gave as an example Apple Valley American Legion Post 1776. At its one clubhouse, it would be allowed 12 electronic pull-tab games and bingo machines. Revenue from pull-tabs has been estimated to produce $225 a day, with bingo bringing in $90.

“If you multiply each of those by 12 machines and 365 days a year, you get $1.4 million,” said Wilson. The Department of Revenue, however, said that Apple Valley’s revenues would rise by nearly $6 million.

As the legislation became final, I talked to Wilson again. Wasn’t he still worried that the revenues would be insufficient? His response boiled down to “whatever.” His group wanted the state to legalize electronic gambling; if it didn’t generate enough dough to repay the stadium bonds, well, that was not his problem. And it’s definitely no longer his; he’s since retired to Hawaii.

Now, of course, we are hearing that instead of producing the projected $35 million in tax revenues last year, the electronic games came in with about 5 percent of that. Oops.

It’s conceivable that in the next couple of years, electronic gaming could pick up speed — and revenues, and we’ll be out of the woods. But maybe it won’t.

Backup revenues

The legislation enabling the stadium has provisions for so-called blink-on fees (surcharges on box seats, and so on) that would come into play if gaming revenues are inadequate, but they would only produce about $10 million a year. And, if the budget has to be scaled back, then we’ll be settling for a fixed roof instead of a retractable one, for mini- instead of Jumbotrons, and other frugalities that will turn the People’s Stadium into a second-class venue.

The stadium’s financial infrastructure isn’t the only worry that keeps me up at night, however. A cautionary tale of another in-town stadium also may have some lessons.

Back in 1985, when I worked for Money magazine, my editor decided to devote an entire issue to the year 2000. (Why? Don’t ask. Editors often come up with odd ideas.) I was dispatched to St. Petersburg, Fla., whose demographics (lots of old people) would supposedly match what the nation’s population would look like at the turn of the new century. What we expected to find were generational wars over school funding, with elderly people grousing about paying high taxes, and the like.

Instead, all those crotchety old folks voted uncomplainingly for one school bond issue after another. The big controversy in town was whether to build a Major League Baseball field even though St. Pete had no Major League Baseball team.

Town boosters were convinced that the best way to get a team was to build their own stadium. So they tore down a low-income neighborhood and invested $130 million in a dome now known as Tropicana Field.

tropicana field
CC/Flickr/Kwong Yee Cheng
St. Petersburg completed construction of Tropicana Field in 1990 but didn’t get a team — the Tampa Bay Rays — until 1998.

The city completed construction in 1990 but didn’t get a team — the Tampa Bay Rays — until 1998. To lure them, the city invested another $70 million in renovations — and added another $35 million in fixes in 2006. Even with all that, the stadium is nothing special — the standard circular arena sitting in a giant parking lot. Its only distinction is a “touch tank” filled with cownose rays taken from Tampa Bay waters.

These days, the city has its eyeballs on the 85-acre tract. Belatedly, civic boosters now realize that the land, which sits near St. Pete’s waterfront and downtown, might be better used for residences, stores and offices. Instead of debts on the stadium, the city could pocket an estimated $7.5 million a year extra in property taxes.

Among the most full-throated promoters of the redevelopment proposal are — you guessed it — the Tampa Bay Rays, who want the city to build them a fancier stadium elsewhere. The Tampa Bay Times quoted the team’s vice president, Michael Kalt, to the effect that “the city is sitting on an enormous piece of land in a rapidly growing downtown that is, frankly, lying fallow.”

Two lessons

The lessons for us are twofold:

First, perhaps a stadium isn’t the best use for land downtown. Yes, I know all the roads and trains lead there, but there’s no reason to think that a stadium will stimulate the construction of tax-paying enterprises around it — especially when it’s only in use for maybe 10 days a season.

Second, major league teams never give up in their quest to have the public foot the bill for ever-more expensive palaces. With these teams, you’re never done.

Feeding my buyer’s remorse is yet another worry: that we are paying too much.

Atlanta recently completed a deal to build a new stadium for the Falcons. The cost: about $1 billion. The public, however, is paying a mere $200 million, while the rest of the money is coming from private sources. A cut of the city’s hospitality taxes will go to operating expenses.

If we’ve been chumps, I figured, there isn’t much we can do. After all, the state and the Vikings have a contract, right? And if we tried to squirm out of it, the lawsuits would never end.

But, as it turns out, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says there is no contract. Nor is there even a written agreement. A spokesman for the Governor’s Office says: “The only written agreement is the legislation that was signed by the governor — all the terms that were negotiated last year were subsumed into the law.”

Well, folks, guess what? Legislation can be repealed or changed.

State Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, a critic of the stadium deal, says that the Legislature would be likely to make some short-term fix to shore up revenues for the stadium’s construction — for example, the introduction of a new lottery game.

“Would I like to have the Vikings kick in another $200 million?” he asks. “You bet.”

But he adds, doing that would reopen the entire Vikings deal, and a lot of legislators don’t want to do that.

But maybe they should be thinking about it.

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Comments (40)

  1. Submitted by John Ferman on 03/26/2013 - 11:02 am.

    Viking Stadium Buyers Remorse

    It was the Republican majority in both legislative houses that ram-rodded the deal through. Just actually why should the current DFL majority have any stomach for bailing them R’s out. Let that sour deal forever be hung over the Republican reputation.

    • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 03/26/2013 - 01:44 pm.

      John – please do not rewrite history

      John – You can write whatever you want, but you cannot change history. Your anger toward the State GOP needs to be “fair and balance” in equal anger toward the DFL. Your outrage also needs to be acurate. See the quotes below….

      DFL Larry Hosch – qoated below…

      “It might not make sense in dollars and cents,” Hosch said, adding, “I can’t imagine a state without the Vikings.”

      USA today states –
      Dayton made the stadium issue his top priority last fall, urging lawmakers to act to avoid losing a valuable asset. Dayton has also touted the thousands of jobs that stadium construction would bring.

      Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said stadium supporters picked up momentum after fans and construction workers mobilized to support the project over the weekend. Dayton appeared at rallies at the Mall of America on Saturday and a Minneapolis sports bar on Sunday.

    • Submitted by Andrew Lewis on 03/26/2013 - 02:07 pm.

      This is completely incorrect at every level. I don’t know how anyone commenting on this story could think the stadium bill passed on GOP support, although the DFL couldn’t have done it without a few rogue spendthrifts from across the aisle.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 03/26/2013 - 03:42 pm.

      This was the DFL’s baby from the start.

      Their union clients demanded it.

      Another client, the metro tribes with their casinos, got involved in pulling the puppet-like DFL’s strings so as to avoid an outstate tribe getting a new casino in town, no matter how favorable a deal they offered, and no matter beneficial it would have been to the state, the city, and its taxpayers.

      Oh, there were Republican supporters, all right – but to characterize this as a GOP project couldn’t be more wrong.

  2. Submitted by Sean Fahey on 03/26/2013 - 04:06 pm.

    Cut Services, Build Stadium.

    We can pay almost $400 million for a businesses’ stadium, but then cut $150 million from social services. Thanks DFL!

  3. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/26/2013 - 11:17 am.

    The deal

    I would say this might be the right time to walk away from the deal, except that it is increasingly clear that there was no deal. What we have here is what lawyers call, and illusory bargain, one where there was no real meeting of minds necessary to form a contract.

  4. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/26/2013 - 11:17 am.

    The deal

    I would say this might be the right time to walk away from the deal, except that it is increasingly clear that there was no deal. What we have here is what lawyers call, and illusory bargain, one where there was no real meeting of minds necessary to form a contract.

  5. Submitted by Howard Salute on 03/26/2013 - 12:03 pm.

    pull tab projection

    “Big CJ” was another major follower of the pull tab revenue projections. He complained loud and hard to anyone that would listen that the projections were flawed. Unfortunately, no one listened. Another tranche Big CJ?

  6. Submitted by Adam Miller on 03/26/2013 - 12:28 pm.

    This article is disappointing

    While any legislation can be undone, it’s disappointing to see the suggestion that gambling revenue shortfalls would come out of the stadium costs. That’s wrong. At least it’s wrong without legislation that reduces the appropriation for the stadium, which is certainly a non-starter with the team, league and city, and likely a non-starter with the legislature.

    Gambling revenue short falls, if they persist, will have to be made up for with other revenues. There are the blink ons, but there ultimately is the general fund. It will be up the legislature facing the shortfall how to deal with it.

    It’s time to admit that the e-pulltabs were a stopgap that was meant to raise revenue in only way possible with both houses of the legislature controlled by “no new tax” republicans. The legislature of the future may be open to more reasonable funding sources.

    As to whether we are paying too much, nothing has changed on that front. If you were comfortable with it at the time, you should be comfortable with it now.

  7. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/26/2013 - 12:39 pm.

    Old wounds

    As long as we’re reopening old wounds, quite a few of us were never stadium “buyers” in the first place, and aren’t at all pleased with the prospect of the state (meaning us) picking up a substantial portion of the tab for a new Vikings stadium. I’m not a football fan, and wouldn’t cross the street to watch the Vikings play in the Super Bowl for free, so my own personal remorse comes from being part of a taxpaying public asked to pick up a sizable portion of the tab for a professional sports stadium without having any say in the matter. Had I gotten the opportunity — an opportunity written into city ordinance, but ignored in practice — I’d have voted “No” on the deal. My state representative DID vote “No,” and laid out a whole series of arguments against the deal in a newsletter to constituents (kudos to Joe Mullery), but reason was trumped by… well… rather than go out of my way to provoke an argument, I’ll just say there’s very little about the stadium agreement that seems reasonable to me.

    The Vikings have a loyal fan base here, so I don’t think they’d move to L.A. even if the opportunity presented itself — football doesn’t have the panache on the west coast that it does in the middle of the country, else the Rams would not now be in St. Louis — but even if they did, I, for one, would be fine with it. People desperate for the smell of testosterone and sweat can rather easily find alternative sources here.

    • Submitted by Joe Musich on 03/26/2013 - 09:50 pm.

      I too

      Pre buyers remorse here as well. I still got a referenum sign in my garage. Wait until the isues tied with football and health really gets crank up. It maybe that football will be a thing of the past in the form we know it to be. Few heroes in this debaucle that continues. When cold Omaha comes up check out the their employment rate. And furthermore I have kids older then the Dome and there isn’t anything wrong with them.

  8. Submitted by chuck holtman on 03/26/2013 - 12:58 pm.

    Well, “remorse” suggests

    one thought it was a good idea at the time. So no remorse here, just a sense that gaming shortfalls and land use disaster are only two of the many ill outcomes about which opponents expressed concern and that likely will cause this to be one of the more disastrous state/municipal decisions of modern times. If the course can be reversed, even at a substantial cost, by all means. But that would require at least a few elected officials admitting they used very poor judgment and voluntarily undertaking to bear alot of unpleasantness from those into whose pockets all the public dollars will flow. So hope would not seem appropriate.

  9. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 03/26/2013 - 01:48 pm.

    The state’s part of the stadium funding will have to be re-opened; it’s insufficient to depend on wildly exaggerated charitable gambling proceeds. Or those flimsy taxes on Vikings suites and whatever in the law.

    It’s obvious the state’s general fund will have to bear a hefty part of the costs.
    One does wish that people would have listened a year ago to those of us who were shouting that The Numbers Don’t Work. Including the DFL’s Senator Bakk, who assured me last year that this stadium is free–even to Minneapolitans, because the dedicated .5% sales tax WE pay for the stadium is a tax we’ve been paying, so there’s No New Tax on us.

    Pure Kafka.

  10. Submitted by Kevin Watterson on 03/26/2013 - 01:55 pm.

    “It was the Republican majority in both legislative houses that ram-rodded the deal through. Just actually why should the current DFL majority have any stomach for bailing them R’s out. Let that sour deal forever be hung over the Republican reputation.”

    I can’t tell if that’s real or sarcasm and I’m not sure I want to know.

    We’ve been through a sort of three stages of blame from the governor since learning the revenues were coming up short. First it was Republicans’ fault because that’s the default, second it became the charties’ fault for taking too much of the money away from the stadium for themselves, now it’s the Gambling Control Board’s fault for not being transparent enough about the projections, although from MPR we learned that the Board was transparent about where the numbers came from. Oops. “I was not aware…” is the governor’s last excuse for when he’s really in a bind, and this is the first time he’s ever tried to scapegoat someone within his administration. It will be interesting to see where he turns next to avoid responsibility as he has never had to go this far before. If the back up funding sources can’t provide enough money to bridge the gap left by low revenues, that will be a significant problem that I could easily see him punting to whomever is governor in 2015. (Pun…intended) Having to clean up the failure of your most significant achievement would be kind of embarrassing.

  11. Submitted by Jim Halonen on 03/26/2013 - 02:21 pm.

    Bail the R’s out?

    The MN House vote was 73 – 58 for Vikings new stadium. 40 DFL, 33 GOP made up the “Yes” votes.

    The MN Senate vote was 38 – 28 for stadium. 22 DFL, 16 GOP made up the “Yes” votes.

  12. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/26/2013 - 03:10 pm.

    The first shovel

    The whole point of last May’s charade wasn’t to provide a sound funding mechanism for the stadium. Rather, it was to get to a point in the process where the politicians could tell us that it is too late to turn back. Only after that point of no return is reached and has been passed would we really get down to making the hard and painful choices about how the stadium is actually to be paid for. There is a part of me that thinks that the stadium package is unraveling just a bit prematurely for the comfort of the politicians. But as long as the tough questions still aren’t being asked of the right people, we may yet get to that turning over of the first shovel of dirt, that point where the politicians can tell us that this deal really is done.

  13. Submitted by Gary Doan on 03/26/2013 - 04:01 pm.

    Blame, blame, blame

    This was not the GOP’s deal at any point. This was Dayton’s baby and Rybak ramrodded the Minneapolis location down his throat.

  14. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 03/26/2013 - 04:21 pm.

    Not GOP this time

    This was Dayton’s baby and was supported by many DFL, at least in the end. I was told by my representative that it was a no-go, but she voted for it, anyway. I have no remorse–I didn’t think we should be forking over all that dough to mollify Wilf. Especially in such lean times. If we were living high on the hog, as we did in the ’90’s, it might be a different story. Still, the Vikings should pay far more than they are. This is a huge expense, and I had no illusions that this brand new type of gambling would do what they claimed it would.

  15. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/26/2013 - 04:21 pm.


    Members of both parties wanted the stadium. One problem was that the process rushed, something that was used as cover by a lot of legislators involved. Time, in the sense of taking hard and careful look at stadium proposals, has never been on the side of stadium supporters. No stadium supporter ever, in the history of stadiums, I think going back to Roman times, as ever won the economic argument about stadiums. It’s now becoming clear that the e pulltab financing component could never hold up to any kind of scrutiny. All this goes toward explaining why tactically, the decision to build a stadium had to be rushed, and that was the strategic choice stadium supporter made to get their bills passed.

    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 03/27/2013 - 01:41 pm.


      We’ve only been talking about building a Vikings stadium for, what, a decade or so? The e-pulltab plan was introduced as legislation two months before the final votes on the floor, and the e-pulltab revenue estimates were released in November 2011, some six months before the final vote. The notion that this was somehow rushed is absurd.

      That said, the Vikings stadium debate (as all of them have been) are exercises in political cowardice. Few legislators want to be considered the one responsible for “losing the team” — and we know that the end result of losing the team is that we pay at least twice as much later to bring a new team in — but few have the guts to put together a responsible financing plan, either.

      Supporters should have included a more robust back-up plan for the e-pulltabs because it was apparent that there was way too much uncertainty in the existing estimates.

  16. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 03/26/2013 - 04:35 pm.

    Plenty of “projects” to have real

    Bad buyers’ remorse: TCF stadium – LOL; ridiculously expensive Stillwater bridge – more expensive than the I-35 bridge; stealing money from schools to balance the state budget for years and years; building both Target Center and Xcel. Nothing new here!

  17. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/26/2013 - 05:05 pm.

    The state should never have agreed to subsidize

    a business (because that’s what the Vikings are, a business) owned by a billionaire.

    If it’s such a good deal, he should dig into his pockets and build it.

    If it’s not a good deal, perhaps he’s pulling the typical trick of privatizing profits and socializing losses.

  18. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/27/2013 - 08:11 am.

    Collective guilt

    I see the governor is suggesting that we are all to blame for the stadium mess. Well, no. The people to blame are those who forced the bill through during the last days of the legislative knowing that no one would have sufficient time to evaluate the assumptions on which it was based. The reasons for that are becoming increasingly clear now. The fact is, stadium financing plans are just so much hot air. We have committed ourselves, at least according to the politicians, to the building of a stadium with no clear idea of how we are going to pay for it. We didn’t all make that mistake. That mistake was made by the governor, and it was made by stadium proponents who sought to evade scrutiny of their proposals, by rushing them through the legislature.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/27/2013 - 11:25 am.

      Well said

      The Vikings stadium was a bad idea from the start, and I can’t believe that every member of the Legislature did not know that. The only debate was how to give themselves cover when voting for it. Hence the speed: No one had time to call the whole thing out. The speed was a mistake from a policy standpoint, but was intentional on the part of the proponents.

      Why legislators wanted to vote for it is another matter. As unpopular as the stadium was, I think there was a lot of fear for being held responsible for the Vikings leaving the state or the city.

  19. Submitted by James Hamilton on 03/27/2013 - 11:15 am.

    Remorse my

    tucchus. A substantial minority opposed government involvement in this fiasco to begin with, regardless of whose backs would carry the financial burden. As it now appears that it won’t be the gamblers among us, we’re seeing a sudden conversion among members of the majority of Minnesotans who supported the concept in the first place.

    If there were ever a time to re-visit the situtation, it is now, before we award any more contracts or spend any more money on this project.

    Perhaps a special session is in order, Governor Dayton.

  20. Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 03/27/2013 - 01:13 pm.

    Vikings Stadium

    I think we should just stop building the Vikings stadium. We should let them move. They are a lousy team, with lousy fans who want to build them a lousy stadium on the cheap as Minnesota always does. In the meanwhile I will keep going across the border to a winning team, with winning fans in a winning stadium that for the 5th or 6trh time in the last few years has been upgraded again. I always surprises me how a small town like Green Bay can build such a beautiful stadium and make money off of it, but the entire State of MN which millions more people than Green Bay can’t figure out a way to get it done, much less make money at it. The State of MN can buy one of the secondary gates at Lambeau for a million bucks a year, maybe they can get some tourists to come over..

  21. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/27/2013 - 04:28 pm.

    A major difference between the Vikings and the Packers

    is the Packers are actually owned by the city of Green Bay, not by some billionaire.

    That’s right: it is a socialist team.

    This means that it is truly THEIR team, not one that some billionaire crybaby can pack up and move if he doesn’t get the candy, er, I mean, stadium that he demands.

    However, the NFL no longer allows the creation of new publicly-owned teams.

    • Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 03/28/2013 - 02:38 pm.

      Packer ownership

      The Packers are not owned by the City of Green Bay. The Green Bay Packers are non-profit corporation, Prior to the 2011 stock sale, there were 112,015 people, representing 4,750,934 shares, who could lay claim to a franchise ownership interest.[25] Shares of stock include voting rights, but the redemption price is minimal, no dividends are ever paid, the stock cannot appreciate in value (though private sales often exceed the face value of the stock), and stock ownership brings no season ticket privileges. While newly purchased shares can be given as gifts, once ownership is established, transfers are technically allowed only between immediate family members.[24] No shareholder may own over 200 shares, a safeguard to ensure that no individual can assume control of the club. To run the corporation, a board of directors is elected by the stockholders. I am not sure but I think they sold another 200,000 shares in 2011.
      Lambeau Field is owned by the city of Green Bay, and controlled by the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Stadium District. The Packers occupy the stadium under terms of a 30-year lease signed in 2003. The stadium was renovated from 2000-2003, with funding from the sale of Packers’ stock to the public and a Brown County sales tax increase. The Packers have chipped in several million for the new renovation. The City of Green Bay and Brown County made 12.3 million per game off of profits from the stadium in 2011, the last year figures are available.

  22. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/27/2013 - 08:55 pm.

    The Pack Is In Good Company

    Oh it’s not just the Packers that are socialist.

    First, all of the TV revenues are shared equally. So even if the NY Giants get a better ratings share than the Kansas City Chiefs, it doesn’t matter.

    Second, merchandising revenues are shared.

    Finally, this socialist organization punishes success by having the Super Bowl champion pick last in the following draft.

    And of course as we all know in Minnesota, they play in publicly owned stadiums.

    It’s a wonder free market conservatives don’t boycott these elitists who create dependance this way. The food stamp program should be a corporate sponsor.

  23. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/28/2013 - 07:00 am.

    The NFL

    It’s possible to think of the NFL in many different ways. In business terms, I think it’s helpful to view it as a de facto partnership. And it should be noted that the business they are in is making money by selling rights to their games and associated properties, not winning football games as such. Viewed this way, the Viking’s competition isn’t the Packers, it’s dinner and a night out on the town, or maybe the movies. In other words, other leisure time activities. To the extent we are subsidizing the Vikings, we are hurting other, competing businesses, a big reason why economists argue that those subsidies often amount to pretty much of a wash in terms of overall economic development.

  24. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/28/2013 - 09:51 am.

    Let’s straighten the record just a little.

    I can’t add much to the comments already written, but let’s be clear about one thing: There is no “we” here. The truth is that stadium opponents won the argument but lost the vote on this. There never was a credible constituency for this stadium in MN. The majority of Minnesotan’s opposed public financing, in one poll 70% said they’d rather lose the Vikings than build a new stadium for them. In fact widespread popular opposition is the reason legislators ended up with these cockamamie funding schemes in the first place, if they could have just raised someone’s taxes they would have. Absolutely nothing is happening here that was not predicted, this was predictable, and it was predicted.

    I think if you step back and look really large picture one of the criticisms people like myself (yes, I’m saying I told you so) had was systemic, not just stadium deal related. The problem with this really huge subsidies for private business is that they’re essentially business deals, and our form of government doesn’t do business deals well. Our government is designed to collect revenue in order to pay for the services it delivers to constituents. We have large numbers of elected officials, in different compartments at many levels so that we can decide what services to deliver and to whom. Government on a very basic level in democracies is not a business model. Large subsidies for private business are not government services, they’re more like banking arrangements that typically occur in the private sector. You just can’t expect a governor with over a hundred legislators who are all subject to re-election will function like a business when making a really big deal outside their usual purview. What usually ends up happening is the business boys outmaneuver the government. That’s exactly what happened here. The problem is systemic, it’s not just about this particular deal.

  25. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/28/2013 - 10:23 am.

    By the way…

    Whatever happened to Ted Mondale? He was supposed to be the “point man” on this?

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 03/28/2013 - 09:55 pm.

      There’s a lot of hand-washing going on…

      …from the Governor (laughably) pleading, “We’re all in this together”…to the weak-minded City Council members (the ones who voted FOR it) saying they always had reservations …so maybe Mr. Mondale is a little red-faced and thinks it’s a good time to make himself scarce.

  26. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 03/29/2013 - 01:59 pm.

    There’s that 10 days a season nonsense again

    The Metrodome is in use almost every day, and such frequent use of the new stadium was part of the deal. I don’t understand why stadium opponents refuse to get it out of their heads that it’s used only for Vikings games. If gambling doesn’t bring in enough revenue, the there’s already at ticket tax in the law, and that’s the more fair way to pay for it anyway. Put a tax too on concessions, parking, and especially luxury suites if more revenue is needed. Those using the stadium would be paying the state’s share of the cost.

    • Submitted by Ed Kohler on 03/29/2013 - 07:24 pm.

      @Eric, the current stadium fulfills the needs of the non-Vikings events that happen every day, and the needs of the Vikings. The only reason a new stadium would be built is to satisfy the WANTS of the Vikings and Vikings fans, which is something that Vikings and Vikings fans are perfectly capable of paying for themselves. If they want to lease it out on the 355 days they’re not using it, great. But, there really is no need for public subsidies. Or, if there is, the public subsidies should be in line with the specs needed to host college baseball, high school football, and rollerbladers, which would represent a very small percentage of the new stadium’s billion dollar price tag.

      And, the stadium should be taxable property since it’s primary design and function is for a private business.

  27. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/29/2013 - 04:32 pm.

    Stadium use

    I have no doubt that there will be an effort to put events into the Vikings Stadium to help justify the decision to build it. But the fact is, we have a surplus of stadium space in this community. The Vikings Stadium itself is the third such project we have built in recent years. Now, the new stadium will compete with the Twins and Gopher Stadiums for events with a negative effect on overall revenues.

    Without doubt, the Vikings Stadium has always been at the very least, and implied acknowledgement of the policy mistake we made in not building a stadium that could accommodate both the Vikings and Gophers. And one of the consequences of that decision is that in the Gopher Stadium, we have a venue sufficient to fill any need we have for a stadium. No other stadium is needed, for example, for a U2 concert. The new Vikings Stadium fills no market gap except the absence of a stadium suitable for the NFL.

  28. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/30/2013 - 09:09 am.

    10 days and counting…


    In addition to Hiram and Ed’s comments I have two more.

    First, to the extent that the dome is currently a public asset, you have to remember we’re losing it. The reason the dome is used year-round, unlike the new Twins stadium, or the new Gopher stadium is it’s a dome. As far as I know no decision has yet been made as to whether or not the new stadium will have a roof or what extent it will be climate controlled even if it has a roof. This stadium will be designed to maximize profits for the NFL, not the community. This is NOT a “peoples” stadium. The new stadium could well end up sitting there empty for six months out of the year like all the other new stadiums.

    Second, the numbers have long since been crunched on this and there’s no way the “users” can pay for this stadium by themselves, THAT’s how we ended with ponzi scheme funding in the first place. If funding were THAT easy there would have been no debate. The Vikings have always apposed “user” funding methods of financing because it drives the ticket and other sundry prices up to high for this market.

    OK, I’ll add a third… ALL of this was well debated and clearly exposed before the stadium vote by voices loud and soft. Stadium PROPONENTS don’t seem to get that.

    • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 03/30/2013 - 07:00 pm.


      Remember, we own the Metrodome, so we tear it down and give he Vikings an ultimatum, put up or leave. If they leave, big deal. The Governor and most of the legislators acted in relatively good faith in response to the NFL threat of moving. There is no stadium deemed good enough for a team to move into right now

  29. Submitted by Randall Ryder on 04/02/2013 - 04:13 pm.

    Faded Memory

    Oh, yet another article written after the fact lamenting a decision that had clear implications to the taxpayers when it was being presented at the legislature. Professional sports stadiums benefit no one but the owners. They don’t produce many jobs, they don’t make life better for most citizens, and they generally lead to many years of additional costs as roofs collapse, heating and cooling systems need to be replaced, and as renovations are “required” to provide more luxuries to those who can afford the tickets. The citizens of Minnesota had the wool pulled over their eyes, but there are more financial costs in the future.

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