Long-running Vikings stadium debate could drag on for years yet

Experienced onlookers at the edges of the long-running Vikings stadium debate believe there’s not going to be an end any time soon.

Yes, there is to be the first of a couple of public hearings Wednesday on a Ramsey County charter amendment to counter the proposed stadium financing plan.

Yes, a report by the Met Council and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission on the viability of the Arden Hills location is due in a couple of weeks.

And yes, the Vikings claim they have no Plan B if the Arden Hills proposal won’t fly.

But such veterans of stadium wars as Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein, Sports Facilities Commissioner Paul Thatcher and Twins executive Jerry Bell predict that nothing will happen in the next legislative session.

Mark Stenglein
Mark Stenglein

Stadium ‘veterans’ discount the Vikings leaving
When the dust settles, there seems to be a general feeling that the Vikings will get a new stadium but that it likely will end up on the Farmers’ Market site at the edge of downtown Minneapolis near Target Field.

They also discount any implied threat that the team might leave if a new stadium isn’t been approved in the next few months.

“To their everlasting credit, they have never said they are leaving if a deal isn’t done,” said Thatcher. “But there’s this implication that the moving vans are parked just down the block from the Metrodome because their lease is up [at the end of the current season].” 

Why wouldn’t the team go, particularly with a lucrative market such as Los Angeles just waiting?

Thatcher ticks off the reasons:

• Three-fourths of the teams in the league must sign off on any move, a difficult number to achieve, especially given that franchises such as Jacksonville, Buffalo, St. Louis and even San Diego are considered less viable markets than Minnesota.  
• The dome’s lease automatically extends itself and the Vikings likely would face a court battle to get out of town.
• Any team that moves into the L.A. market must pay a substantial “relocation fee” to the  league. That fee would likely be in excess of more than $200 million.

 Thatcher, Stenglein and Bell don’t claim to have any inside knowledge of the Vikings’ plans.
In fact, Bell, who patiently dealt with pols for a decade before getting the Twins’ deal done, hasn’t been on the Vikings’ list of favorite people since 2006, the year the Twins/Hennepin County arrangement squeaked through the Legislature.

“They tried desperately to get on our bill,” said Bell. “I rejected that idea as strong as I could with everybody I could. If they had been our bill, we both would have been taken down.” 

Jerry Bell
MinnPost/JayWeiner
Jerry Bell

Different dynamics between efforts by Twins, Vikes
The Vikings haven’t been soliciting advice from Bell ever since — a loss to the team, given that few in the state understand how the system works better than Bell.

“You have to have a relationship of trust with legislators on both sides,” Bell said. “It’s the only way you can get things done.”

Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, has taken on the difficult task of trying to come up with stadium legislation.

He noted that though the Vikings’ Lester Bagley has been the Vikings’ representative at the Capitol for years, he doesn’t have the advantage that Bell had.

“We knew it was a trusted friend and adviser to [the late Twins owner] Carl Pohlad,” Lanning said of Bell. “We knew when we were dealing with Jerry, it was the same as dealing with Pohlad. The current situation is different. We don’t know the Wilfs [the Vikings’ New Jersey-based owners].”

The Vikings have a number of political problems.

Beyond the Ramsey County commissioners who cooked up the Arden Hills deal with the Vikings, the Arden Hills plan seems to have the support of very few leaders in the county. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and the St. Paul City Council are on record opposing a plan that calls for county residents to pay a 0.5 percent sales tax that would raise about $350 million, the county’s share of the proposed $1.1 billion stadium.  (That’s more than three times higher than the 0.15 per cent Hennepin County sales tax used to fund the public portion of the $522 million baseball stadium.)

Additionally, Republican legislative leaders — House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch — recently surprised Lanning by announcing during the State Fair that they support a referendum on any sales tax increase in Ramsey County. That would be a deal breaker, most agree.

Lanning said he’s always believed that Ramsey County should be treated the same as Hennepin County, meaning its officials should have the final say on a referendum.

It remains to be seen whether Zellers and Koch will back away from their politically popular but deal-killing proposal for a referendum.  

The Arden Hills plan also calls for the state to come up with $300 million in funding.

“Can you imagine this Legislature paying as much as $1 into this?” asked Stenglein.

Remember, the state paid nothing for Target Field, and legislation required to give Hennepin County authority to levy a sales tax without a referendum passed in the Senate by just two votes.

Arden Hills site faces lots of skepticism
The tax issues are only a part of the problem for the Arden Hills site.

Although Gov. Mark Dayton is a supporter of a publicly subsidized “people’s stadium,” he always has been tepid about the Arden Hills location.

Stenglein and Bell suggest that the business community isn’t excited about Arden Hills, either.  

“How do you think the people at Rosedale [shopping mall] feel about (Vikings owner] Zygi [Wilf] getting all that land to develop?” Stenglein said. “Do you think Rosedale wants to end up looking like Brookdale?”

By profession, Wilf is a developer. The Vikings haven’t been clear about how they would develop the land around the stadium, but a shopping complex is a probability.

Bell said that businesses — crucial to purchasing the luxury boxes that make these new stadiums so profitable for the teams — likely would prefer a downtown Minneapolis location.

Stenglein and Bell do differ on the amount of clout businesses play in the stadium game.

Stenglein says that before the dust settles and a stadium deal is done, “big business is going to have to step to the table.” By that, he means corporations need to come up with some money.

Bell says that won’t happen: The big business crowd may buy luxury suites, but the days of backing boosterism with cash are over.

“When we had family-owned businesses, they would step forward,” said Bell of business leaders of a different generation. “CEOs aren’t going to go out on limbs.”

There’s one big factor that would make the move to the Farmers’ Market site, or any other site in downtown Minneapolis, problematic, according to Lanning.

“The Vikings have to be willing,” he said.    

Although Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat was the lead player on getting the Twins’ stadium deal done, Stenglein also played a major role.

Despite his belief that the Vikings are a statewide asset that should have the state as a public financial partner, Stenglein suspects that in the end, Hennepin County will again have to step into the breach.

Stenglein floats ‘the big idea’
But he doesn’t think that will happen until 2013. But he hopes that a Vikings’ stadium would be part of what he calls “the big idea.” It goes like this:

• The Vikings stadium is built on the Farmers’ Market site. That would mean that Mary Jo Copeland’s center for the poor, Sharing and Caring Hands, would be surrounded by the football stadium and the baseball park.

All that exposure, Stenglein said, is actually a good thing for Copeland.

“I like the idea of all the richest kids in the world playing in the same area where our poorest kids are,” Stenglein said.

• The Metrodome would be razed. “Grind it into dust and build the University of Minnesota Medical School on the location.” This would solve all sorts of problems, according to Stenglein. As it is, the med school is spread out in a number of locations. This would create, one up-to-date center, accessible for people all over the state. The facility, he said, would “tear down the walls between Minneapolis and the University.”

Most importantly, he said, this medical facility could become the center for caring for the indigent, currently a huge, costly expense for the Hennepin County Medical Center.

• Energy from the garbage burner used to heat the Vikings’ stadium and anything else in the neighborhood.

It’s all there to be had, said Stenglein.

“But the thing you have to understand about this process is you’ve got a lot of people saying ‘no’ before you get to ‘yes,’ ” he said.

Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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Comments (38)

  1. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/27/2011 - 10:36 am.

    The lease at the dome automatically renews? Without the Vikings signing it? I thought Wilf has been claiming he won’t sign a lease beyond this year?

    I say we lock em out of the Dome and ask em where they’re gonna play in 2012. If they want a place to play they have to sign another ten year lease. If they want to upgrade the dome, they can.

  2. Submitted by louis revilla on 09/27/2011 - 11:09 am.

    I SAY, let it drag on. In fact, I say let the “job creators” CREATE the money, they and the rest of the business people. Make it a private enterprise.
    Particularly when the economy is so bad. Who cares about a “new stadium?” What does it prove?
    So, when you run out of money at home, and your “shoes are getting worn,” you have CHOICES…

    Wear the same “old” pair, and deal with it, until you can AFFORD to buy a new pair,

    Buy a new pair and get further into debt, so you can maintain “appearances.”,

    Steal a pair (most illogical)

    So, ENOUGH of this gibberish…

    Either “steal” the funds, by propaganda means, or lobbyist efforts or “convincing the public of the “logic” of building an UN-NEEDED frivolity, or PACK the legislature with “lackeys” who will vote YOUR WAY, the the “taxpayers, once again, get “stolen” from,

    Or, YOU “job creators” PAY FOR IT YOURSELVES. You got “rich” on “your own,” right?
    Do it again.

    Enough of this silliness. Use the money (saved revenue) to FIX the streets.

  3. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 09/27/2011 - 11:23 am.

    “I like the idea of all the richest kids in the world playing in the same area where our poorest kids are,” Stenglein said.

    And there, in a nutshell, is the biggest problem with Liberals….spending tons of money without actually doing absolutlely anything for the poor. But it’s just a warm, fuzzy idea that makes Stenglein feel good about himself.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/27/2011 - 11:33 am.

    Ya know it’s little disingenuous to credit the Vikings for not threatening to leave anyways. In fact Wilf has flatly stated he won’t sign a new lease at the dome, which is actually a very thinly veiled threat. And it seems to me a few weeks ago we were all aflutter about the urgency of getting a deal done with a special session and what-not. Why the sense of urgency if this thing is going to drag on until 2013? Are you asking us to believe that that sense of urgency wasn’t being orchestrated? No one was exploiting the implicit threat to move to L.A.? Please. Listen, one of the things that really bugs me about stadium supporters is this constant flat out dishonesty. All summer long we had to get a deal done… and now we ALL know not only won’t it happen in Arden Hills, but it’s gonna happen until 2013.

  5. Submitted by John Olson on 09/27/2011 - 12:04 pm.

    The quality of the product on the field is, at present, putrid. If it gets much worse, I would not be surprised to see Ragnar show up wearing a hazmat suit.

    If the Vikings find themselves on home dates with a losing record, vacant seats, and local TV blacked out, I suspect Rep. Lanning and most other pols are not going to risk political suicide in an upcoming election year.

  6. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/27/2011 - 12:09 pm.

    The lease at the dome automatically renews?

    That came as a shocker to me, also. If we can extend the lease, the Vikings bargaining position becomes substantially weaker. I would like a less interested source than Thatcher for that, and perhaps a more in depth explanation. My own understanding was basically that the lease does automatically renew, but only with the agreement of both parties. Obviously, the Vikings won’t agree to extend if they decide to move.

    There is quite a bit here to comment on, and I do note that a lot of folks commenting here have a dog in the fight, and aren’t necessarily telling what you really they think.

    For starters, let me touch on this point:

    “• Three-fourths of the teams in the league must sign off on any move, a difficult number to achieve, especially given that franchises such as Jacksonville, Buffalo, St. Louis and even San Diego are considered less viable markets than Minnesota.”

    Thatcher is pushing the limits of disingenuousness here. The league does want the Minnesota Vikings to stay here. That is by far the path of least resistance, the one that causes them the fewest headaches. But what Thatcher knows but isn’t telling you and what is certainly true, is that Vikings will not stay here indefinitely without a new stadium. The Vikings are patient, the league is patient. But if the Vikings and the league at some point come to the conclusion that a new stadium will not be built, the Vikings will leave, and the vote will be unanimous.

  7. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 09/27/2011 - 12:11 pm.

    Good reporting Doug; first class. Covers a lot of material about roadblocks in short order.

  8. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/27/2011 - 12:17 pm.

    “Additionally, Republican legislative leaders — House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch — recently surprised Lanning by announcing during the State Fair that they support a referendum on any sales tax increase in Ramsey County.”

    A political game is being played here. Of course Republican leadership supports, in public at least, a referendum on any sales tax increase. Given their opposition to tax increases, they could hardly do otherwise. That they would support a referendum to increase taxes, is itself a departure from the anti-tax orthodoxy, one that no one seems interested in calling them on. But the real question, isn’t whether they support a referendum, rather it’s whether they would force one. I have always assumed that once the backroom deal is done, that the Republican leaders would cast a nominal vote and meaningless vote for the referendum, it would fail, and the stadium would ultimately pass. Always bear in mind, the stadium has a lot more support in the legislature than it does votes, and that’s why mysterious things happen in mysterious ways.

  9. Submitted by David LaPorte on 09/27/2011 - 12:39 pm.

    I’m puzzled by why Los Angeles is often floated as a likely destination for the Vikings. L.A. has proven to be economically inviable for NFL franchises.

    The Oakland Raiders moved from Oakland to L.A. in 1982, they moved back to Oakland in 1994. Apparently, the grass was NOT greener in the other fellow’s yard.

    The Rams had a longer stay, from 1946 until 1994, but then left for Saint Louis.

    Why would anyone thing that the Vikings would be more successful than the Raiders or the Rams? In my opinion, Los Angeles is a 900 lb gorilla with little interest in football that’s being used for fear mongering by stadium supporters.

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/27/2011 - 12:54 pm.

    //But the real question, isn’t whether they support a referendum,

    It’s important to remember, and this keeps getting lost for reason… current law requires a referendum, it doesn’t have to forced, it has be repealed. That’s what they did with Henn Co. In essence, the people of Ramsey County currently have the right to vote on a stadium deal like this, the vote would be to disenfranchise them and take that right away. So not only would Republicans be voting to raise taxes, they’d voting against local control, and voting to take rights away from taxpayers.

  11. Submitted by John Reinan on 09/27/2011 - 01:07 pm.

    This deal could settle the fate of the Star Tribune. That sounds overly dramatic. But the paper emerged from bankruptcy with about $100 million in debt.

    According to MinnPost’s David Brauer, a good year in 2010 allowed the paper to pay off about $15 million of its longterm debt.

    If the paper were able to sell its downtown land for $45-50 million, you can see what a tremendous impact that would have on its long-term financial picture.

    But from everything that’s been written recently, the Strib land is No. 3 of 3 alternatives right now.

  12. Submitted by craig furguson on 09/27/2011 - 01:13 pm.

    “Despite his belief that the Vikings are a statewide asset that should have the state as a public financial partner, Stenglein suspects that in the end, Hennepin County will again have to step into the breach.” You go Mark, I live in Ramsey and don’t want to pay the vikings. And what about the UofM stepping up and taking care of the indigent? What’s to stop the indigent from walking across the Washington ave foot bridge now, besides the light rail construction? The U isn’t going to volunteer to pick up uncompensated care, unless you can enrich a few doctor’s pockets by doing it.

  13. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 09/27/2011 - 01:15 pm.

    Koch and Zellers “support” a referendum because it allows them to avoid taking a position on a tax increase. In reality, they both would love nothing more than to see a Vikings stadium paid for by people who can’t judge them at the ballot box. Everybody’s happy!

    Lost in all of this, and something that no journalist has ever mentioned (to my knowledge) are the downsides of having Ramsey County pay for it. Doug Grow does mention that they’re asking three times as much money in sales tax as Hennepin got saddled with. But Ramsey only has about one-third the population. So that’s really nine times as much per capita. Then you factor in that Ramsey is the poorest (relatively speaking) county here. Finally, Ramsey probably hosts far fewer visitors than Hennepin, so fewer outsiders are helping pay that tax.

    The Twin Cities’ biggest problem is that we’re all chopped up and divided. Someone could write a PhD thesis on all the problems this has caused.

  14. Submitted by Jerry Buerge on 09/27/2011 - 01:18 pm.

    How is there any validity and requiring people who do not have the funding to purchase a ticket to watch a football game be required to build a stadium for those who do have the funding enjoy themselves?
    And, to do without allowing them the simple courtesy of voting to do so is political suicide.

  15. Submitted by louis revilla on 09/27/2011 - 01:38 pm.

    “The Metrodome would be razed. “Grind it into dust and build the University of Minnesota Medical School on the location.” This would solve all sorts of problems, according to Stenglein. As it is, the med school is spread out in a number of locations. This would create, one up-to-date center, accessible for people all over the state. The facility, he said, would “tear down the walls between Minneapolis and the University.” ”

    What the heck?

    That is one LARGE “medical school.” What utter nonsense. And then we “tear down” all the other vacant buildings, in order to build an “elitist” medical school?
    What, for 20,000 medical students? Give us a break!
    Man, are people believing this hype? The “grift” is in, folks.

  16. Submitted by Ed Kohler on 09/27/2011 - 01:45 pm.

    Building on what Paul said in comment #4, the Vikings have indeed threatened to leave at the end of this season. Or, perhaps I’m misinterpreting this tweet from the Vikings stadium lobbying Twitter account, @MNMomentum:

    http://twitter.com/#!/MNMomentum/status/116889094595952640
    —–
    From our friends at @SavetheVikesorg –> “Vikings to L.A.? 100 Day Countdown!” http://t.co/Fg4mTe2K
    —–

    Is it just me, or does a Tweet by the Vikings organization that states “Vikings to L.A.? 100 Day Countdown!” sound like a threat of leaving at the end of this season?

  17. Submitted by louis revilla on 09/27/2011 - 01:53 pm.

    Mr Cage,

    Even IF you are right(which I doubt): “And there, in a nutshell, is the biggest problem with Liberals….spending tons of money without actually doing absolutlely anything for the poor.”

    Would you RATHER “spend tons of money on the poor…, or STEAL,CONNIVE, and RE-DIRECT “tons of money,” FOR the rich?

    Thusly increasing the NEEDS of the poor (and long-term costs.Think about it for a minute. Which option is most logical to you?

    Oh yeah, I forgot, “job creators.”

  18. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/27/2011 - 02:02 pm.

    Between his first and third points, Thatcher may be engaging in a touch of misdirection:

    “Any team that moves into the L.A. market must pay a substantial “relocation fee” to the league. That fee would likely be in excess of more than $200 million.”

    It’s unlikely that the Vikings would be the team to move into LA. And it’s also unlikely that should the Vikings move, relieving the NFL of the Minnesota problem, the NFL would impose a substantial “relocation fee”. Although watch out for creative NFL accounting on that. The NFL love to talk about 100 million dollar player contracts that are no such thing. Similar hijinks can be used for relocation fees, and indeed all other NFL accounting.

  19. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/27/2011 - 02:12 pm.

    “It’s important to remember, and this keeps getting lost for reason… current law requires a referendum, it doesn’t have to forced, it has be repealed.”

    Bear in mind, the referendum issue cuts at least two way. As is generally understood, and actual referendum is a deal breaker. But the possibility of a referendum can be used to move the process along. That’s because the Republican leaders, who control the legislative calendar, while categorically opposed to raising taxes, can argue that should a referendum pass, it’s the people not the legislature, who is raising taxes. Once the bill gets to the floor, the leadership’s job is done. They can safely vote against the bill, knowing that there are enough out state legislators who like football, but don’t want their constituents to pay for to pass the bill. This is always why the bill is carried by people like Sen. Rosen, and Rep. Lanning, moderate legislators who are perfectly fine with raising someone else’s taxes, especially when they get the benefit from it.

  20. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/27/2011 - 02:16 pm.

    “How is there any validity and requiring people who do not have the funding to purchase a ticket to watch a football game be required to build a stadium for those who do have the funding enjoy themselves?”

    Well, if the law passes, it’s valid.

    “And, to do without allowing them the simple courtesy of voting to do so is political suicide.”

    The trick, the political problem really, is to support the stadium without being seen to support the stadium. The stadium has huge political momentum. It doesn’t need support, it already has that. What it needs is for the obstacles in it’s path to be removed. That’s the key thing to understand about the statements of Sen. Koch and Speaker Zellers. The stadium doesn’t need their support, it simply needs for them to get out of the way.

  21. Submitted by frank watson on 09/27/2011 - 02:45 pm.

    A few more reasons why no team will move to LA.

    The $700 million in naming rights is going to build the stadium not into the the owners pocket.

    Suite money is also going to be going to the owners of the stadium (AEG?) not the team.

    PSL’s will go to the AEG to help pay for the $1.2 Billion dollar LA stadium.

    On top of the $200 million in relocation fees why would ANY NFL team move to LA? With revenue sharing no NFL is hurting.

    I’d be surprised if a stadium is even built in LA.

  22. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/27/2011 - 03:22 pm.

    Holy cow!

    I just gathered interesting information on MinnPost! Guess it had to happen sooner or later.

  23. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 09/27/2011 - 03:59 pm.

    “A few more reasons why no team will move to LA.”

    You forgot the most important reason. LA is the threat. It can be used by any team: build us a new stadium or we’ll go to LA! But if any team really DID move to LA, that threat is vanquished.

  24. Submitted by Bob Quarrels on 09/27/2011 - 06:27 pm.

    A response to #23: If the Vikings move to LA, the threat isn’t “vanquished,” it simply moves up here. Mpls./St. Paul becomes the threat, a much better threat than San Diego (if the Chargers moved to LA), Buffalo or Jacksonvilled would be.

    And Stenglien needs to sit down and shut up. He’s like the guy on the brewery tour who keeps asking questions while everyone else is in it for the free beer. We, the people of Hennepin County, already pay the freight for one pro sport, those of us in Minneapolis two. Let Ramsey County, the other metro counties or the state pay for this one. Let us sit this one out. It would be nice if he and Opat considered the interests of their residents rather than their desire to brown-nose business guys and attend ribbon cuttings.

  25. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/27/2011 - 08:37 pm.

    Does anyone know what happened up in Anoka a few years ago anyways? I got the impression at the time that something hinky happened up there.

    On another note, the conversation thus far assumes a stadium is a inevitable. I still say that what we have here a pro-sports bubble, or a collection of bubbles. Furthermore, resistance to these stadiums bills is getting more traction, and the bag of tricks usually used to get these unpopular and unsupported deals by voters is looking emptier all the time.

    Then of course there’s the fact that these stadium deals are the product of hijacked democracies, class warfare, and really bad public and economic policy.

  26. Submitted by Rick Prescott on 09/27/2011 - 10:47 pm.

    “And there, in a nutshell, is the biggest problem with Liberals….”

    Really? All “Liberals” are X and all “Conservatives” are Y? All “Republicans” are A and all “Democrats” are B? Do you really believe that?

    Further, is it now required that every political discussion include the demonization of anyone who disagrees with you — preferably using broad stereotypical characterizations?

    You may not have noticed, but most of America is some shade of purple.

  27. Submitted by John Reinan on 09/28/2011 - 04:23 am.

    Paul (#25) makes an interesting point about a pro sports bubble — I think he may be onto something.

    Pro sports has expanded to the point that I think they’ve run out of prime markets and they’re more often getting into unsustainable markets. Jacksonville has only had an NFL franchise for 15 years or so, yet there’s been talk of moving the team for at least the last 5 years. Several other teams (not even including the Vikings) are struggling in their markets.

    Several NHL teams are in trouble. Atlanta just lost its second hockey team to Winnipeg, which had previously lost its team to Phoenix, which has been one of the league’s basket cases for several years now.

  28. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/28/2011 - 08:23 am.

    “Pro sports has expanded to the point that I think they’ve run out of prime markets and they’re more often getting into unsustainable markets.”

    I do think the second tier pro sports, basketball and hockey, have clearly oversaturated their market but that just isn’t the case with NFL football.

  29. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/28/2011 - 08:51 am.

    John #27,

    To flesh out my statement a little, it looks like pro-sports can no longer function without public subsidies and realize the profit margins it’s wants. They have the revenue to pay for stadiums, but they don’t have the revenue to pay for stadiums AND pay 56 athletes $150 million a year. Meanwhile, they’ve hit a revenue wall of sort, they can’t attract more eyeballs or sell more tickets to they needs these stadium every couple of decades to increase revenue. As I say in one of my blog enteries:

    “The reason owners push for these new stadiums is they have hit a pay wall of sorts regarding revenue. They can’t attract more eyeballs so they have to figure out a way to charge more for the eyeballs they attract. New stadiums give them the luxury boxes, new naming rights deals, etc. they need to grow revenue. It’s been estimated that the Twins are making $50-$70 million a year more because of their new stadium. What happens when the public subsidies stop or something else pops the bubble? If the bubble pops or even deflates a little pro-sports franchise owners will have to do what every other industry does, extract concessions from it’s workforce. As I’ve pointed out before all bubbles pop. You would think that people would be more sensitive to bubbles given the economic catastrophe as of late. Maybe the pro-sports bubble is just as unpopable as the real estate bubble was eh?”

  30. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/28/2011 - 09:02 am.

    Hiram,

    I’m not sure you can separate out different pro sports that neatly, they’re all competing for the same eyeballs. If they can’t afford to build new stadiums for existing teams, why would they be able to build new stadiums for new teams in new cities? I think we’re saturated with pro-sports period, and Football can’t extricate itself from that.

  31. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/28/2011 - 10:19 am.

    “I’m not sure you can separate out different pro sports that neatly, they’re all competing for the same eyeballs.”

    I think I can. Basketball and hockey are bush league operations. Losing them would be economically and socially tantamount to losing a Target location or two. No one would really notice. The big league sports are football, and to a lesser extent, baseball. They are sports that people follow and that make a difference.

    As for competition, there probably isn’t a single person or business in Minnesota who says to themselves, I am going to give up my Vikings season tickets so I can go see the Wolves and Wilds play. Although the football, and hockey and basketball, are all supports, they simply are not in the same market.

  32. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/28/2011 - 11:41 am.

    If it is true that a stadium full of fans is merely a great backdrop for televised games (TV being where the big money comes from), why should any fan vote to be treated with such disrespect?

    Voter registration well prior to the November 2012 elections becomes more important every day if this referendum and some other bad ideas are to be soundly defeated.

  33. Submitted by louis revilla on 09/28/2011 - 12:32 pm.

    They can keep “ramming this stadium idea,” down our throats and eventually we will swallow the hype.

    And they can come up with all types of explanations and reasons. “why” such a stadium building would be logical.
    But, unless one is a “die-hard” fan or a business-person, it is doubtful there is a need, for such a facility. The FEW jobs during the course of construction, by no means makes up for the LONG-TERM losses of revenue and the overall costs.
    For example, by the time such an enterprise would be paid for, it ALSO would be obsolete, and the “building process” would begin again.
    More gibberish about every ten years or so.

    People don’t care that much where the game is played. Strictly for the benefit of a few. While the taxpayers do without.

    MOST LOGICAL USE OF THE STADIUM:
    Let the Vikings, leave the state, heck how many states are there, and how many teams? Who cares?
    Go to California (what blackmail now).

    Turn the empty Metrodome into a massive “Chinese Language Academy.” Much better use of the space.

  34. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/28/2011 - 02:02 pm.

    //I think I can. Basketball and hockey are bush league operations. Losing them would be economically and socially tantamount to losing a Target location or two. No one would really notice.

    I think we have a football fan on the line. You know Hiram, they only play something like ten games a year. That leaves 350 days a year without the “big” sport. I guess football games are just “bigger” than all the other games.

  35. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/28/2011 - 07:09 pm.

    I think we have a football fan on the line.

    Not as much as you might think. My season tickets are to the Guthrie and the Chopin Society. Looking forward to the concert on Sunday. I haven’t attended a Vikings game in Minnesota since they moved to the Metrodome.

    “You know Hiram, they only play something like ten games a year.”

    Eight in the regular season. I personally don’t count the exhibitions. But they matter. The wolves and the wilds play hundreds of games and none of them matter.

  36. Submitted by Bruce Pomerantz on 09/30/2011 - 06:01 pm.

    #4-Jerry Buerge

    “. . . to do without allowing (Ramsey County residents) the simple courtesy of voting to do so is political suicide.”

    I wish you were correct but you are demonstrably wrong. I actively campaigned against the proposed Anoka County Viking stadium. I quit when the Hennepin County commissioners voted the sales tax without the public referendum and none of them suffered politically. I concluded that because the Hennepin County voters did not repudiate the Hennepin County Commissioners, the Anoka County politicians would not fear ballot retribution.

    #29 (Paul Udstrand) essentially makes the point, and I agree, that major league sports owners are in the business of stadium building, which is where they make their money. Taking years to accomplish the goal of a new stadium is simply the cost of doing business. Unfortunately, like terrorists (and yes, I use that incendiary term purposefully), they only have to win once. There is no business or profit in opposing using public moneys to pay for stadiums. Major league sports stadium business people play the waiting game and wear down the amateur opposition, who must focus on their paying jobs before they can work against politicians funding stadiums with tax dollars.

  37. Submitted by Brian Simon on 09/30/2011 - 08:23 pm.

    “”But the thing you have to understand about this process is you’ve got a lot of people saying ‘no’ before you get to ‘yes,’ ” he said.”

    There’s only one guy who has to say yes: Zygi. He’s the developer & the owner. Seems like a match made in heaven into which the rest of us should not insert ourselves.

  38. Submitted by William Jewell on 10/07/2011 - 06:20 pm.

    A Mall of America Stadium with a Phase II will bring Tourism and Jobs to Minnesota and it could be the change needed for MN Gopher Football. Top talent wants National TV Broadcasting MOA Stadium with worldwide recognition will get games on TV, Gopher Rival Games with Wisconsin, Iowa & Nebraska
    will all that will travel will sell 100,000 tickets which gets the games on TV and the Talent here to play, just need Governor Dayton to help and that’s the viking buzz…

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