Taxpayer Field and Us Stadium

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
U.S. Bank Stadium

Driving up Hiawatha onto I-35W two weeks ago, I noticed that workers had just placed U.S. Bank’s “US” insignia on the southeast end of the new Vikings stadium. They should have stopped right there. No need to add the words “Bank Stadium.”

According to the Vikings’ website, we the taxpayers, in order to form a more perfect NFL union, are footing 48 percent of the $1.027 billion construction costs. The Wilfs claim to be paying 52 percent, but that includes money from fans purchasing Stadium Builder’s Licenses — a fee paid for the right to buy season tickets. In actuality, the Wilfs are paying 40 percent ($404 million) of the construction costs, and for that minority share they acquired the naming rights to our stadium, which they sold to U.S. Bank for a reported $220 million over 25 years.

I’m no businessman, but that seems to be what economists would term “a really bad deal.” I’m pulling the red flag: I’d like that play reviewed. The Twins and the Vikings can sell the naming rights to our stadiums, but we can call them whatever we’d like. May I suggest ‘Taxpayer Field’ and ‘Us Stadium’?

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/07/2015 - 08:43 am.

    Naming rights

    In thinking about naming rights it’s important to understand what they are, and what gives them value. We have an idea, in part facilitated by a self interested and gullible media, that naming rights are mostly what’s on the sign over the door. While this is true, it is the smallest part of a much larger truth. What naming rights are really are statement of the name on the national media, along with any logos that might be visible when scenes from the stadium are shown. In other words, the association of the name with the actual building is meaningless, and without value. What is valuable is the link to the Vikings and their various forms of intellectual property. That being the case, it’s not unnatural that Vikings feel entitled to command the larger share of the value their brand creates.

    Contrast this with what happens with other important public buildings in the area. The Guthrie,Orchestra Hall,, since none of these buildings are on national tv none of them have naming rights of any significant value,

    We have a basic misunderstanding about sports venues, especially single use sports venues like Viking Stadium. As a community, we are under the impression that we have an ownership interest in something of significant value. This is not the case. The only thing that gives these facilities value is the fact that sports teams play in them. Take the teams away and the buildings become worthless. This is demonstrated by the fact that once these buildings do lose their teams, they are torn down. Met Center, Metropolitan Stadium, the Metrodome, all of these buildings were destroyed when they lost their main tenant because they had no other value besides association with that tenant.

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