The StarTribune has an editorial running that suggests business owners and local corporations need to step up their game if they want to see the Vikings in a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis:
It’s not just a matter of keeping pace with the competition to the east and the rest of the NFL. Just ask the downtown restaurant, bar and hotel owners who are coping with the growing possibility that the NBA season will be lost.
It’s the owners of those businesses, along with the leaders of the area’s largest corporations, who should be joining the stadium debate and pushing the governor and legislators to finally get serious about a stadium solution that includes a responsible investment in a statewide asset.
I applaud the StarTribune for asking business leaders to “finally get serious about a stadium solution” but find the StarTribune’s example of action depressing. Are they really suggesting that local businesses who stand to benefit financially from a new stadium beg the government to build it?
Why not ask local businesses to chip in? It’s been done before. In fact, it was done with the U of MN’s football stadium. Wikipedia has a nice round-up of corporate funding of the Gopher’s stadium:
TCF Financial Corporation of Wayzata, Minnesota is contributing $35 million over 25 years in exchange for the TCF Bank naming rights and other agreements. The university projected earnings of $2.5 million per year or $96 million over the life of agreements with TCF that will include marketing debit cards to alumni and ticketholders. If unable to fulfill its contractual obligations, TCF Financial Corporation must propose an alternate name subject to the approval of the university. Other corporate donations have been pledged as well, including Best Buy ($3 million), Dairy Queen ($2.5 million), Target Corporation ($2 million), Federated Insurance, General Mills, and Norwest Equity Partners.
Instead, the StarTribune’s editorial reads like they want to socialize the costs of a stadium while privatizing the profits.
If local business owners and corporations aren’t willing to put real money toward stadium construction costs, I can only assume that they can live without the team.
If a local corporation like Target, General Mills, or Best Buy decides NOT to help subsidize the stadium, then buys stadium naming rights from the Vikings, we’ll have a good feel for where that local corporation’s loyalty resides.