Tom Powers has an article in the Pioneer Press that makes the sophomoric justification that we need to pay now or pay more later when it comes to NFL stadiums.
The ironic thing about this whole debate is that the anti-stadium crowd has staked out the high ground of fiscal responsibility. In fact, it is just the opposite. Anti-stadium forces will end up costing the state tens of millions of dollars when the facility eventually gets built. Because costs surely will rise.
No doubt costs will rise. In fact, Wilf is already demanding the 3rd most expensive stadium in the history of the NFL. I doubt Wilf’s taste in spending other people’s money will change.
Fine, so the team leaves and the anti-stadium crowd cheers and shouts “good riddance!” One year later, after Minnesota has gone dark during an NFL season, the politicians begin to stir as a great wail goes up from the masses. Clearly they’ll have to find a way to bring the NFL back.
Flash forward a couple of years and the state commits to a new facility after receiving a promise from the NFL to provide a team. At that point, figure that the construction costs have doubled.
Now, who won?
This is where Powers loses the anti-stadium Wilfare crowd. It’s already idiotic to for the public to borrow $650,000,000, and make debt payments on that money for 30 years. Based on the demands the NFL is putting on cities with stadiums younger than the property you probably live in, it’s darn likely that they will demand even more from the public in the future. But, unlike Powers, that is in no way a justification for giving an NFL team what they are demanding today. It’s already a bad deal.
For people opposed to the stadium today, arguing that it would cost more in the future is irrelevant. Taking a stupid idea and making it twice as stupid doesn’t justify the original idea.
Right or wrong has nothing to do with it. Sometimes, you just have to hold your nose and swallow.
NO. YOU. DON’T. Right or wrong has everything to do with it. Socializing costs while privatizing profits for the NFL is not something we should want or need to do. The market is perfectly capable of deciding whether Minnesota is a worthy NFL market without public subsidies. If the NFL can’t survive without receiving $650 millions of dollars from a state with only 5.2 million people, it sounds like the NFL needs to figure out how to change their business model rather than demand welfare ransoms.
Would we like a new stadium? Yes.
Would we like a new stadium at any cost? No.
Would we like a new stadium where we have to borrow and pay interest on $650,000,000 over 30 years? No.
Would we support a new stadium if Zygi Wilf, Vikings season ticket holders, and local sports writers pooled their money to build it? Of course.