Can a Vikings Stadium Fit to the East of the Metrodome? #wilfare

How does one fit an NFL stadium to the east of the Metrodome? I’m trying to figure that out. It’s a fun game to play while the Vikings and Vikings fans continue to beg for corporate welfare.

The shot above shows the Metrodome via Google Maps.

If you stuck another Metrodome next to the current one (using the Dome’s parking lot) you might end up with something like this:

To me, it looks like a second Metrodome would take out part of the 511 building, most of the Xcel Energy substation, the LRT line, 5th Street, 4th Street, and 3rd street.

But, one of the complaints about the Metrodome is that it isn’t large enough for today’s NFL fan, who require bigger seats and bigger concourses than fans 30 years ago. So, let’s try sticking the Indianapolis stadium in that spot:

Looks like The 511 Building would take a bigger hit. And even Valspar starts to loose some ground.

As I mentioned last week, if the idea here is to build a stadium in close proximity to the Metrodome, the StarTribune’s property seems to fit the bill. Here’s what the Indy stadium looks like on the StarTribune’s property:

Indy Stadium on Startribune

In the end, the Vikings should build (and own) a stadium wherever they like with money they raise privately.

19 thoughts on “Can a Vikings Stadium Fit to the East of the Metrodome? #wilfare”

  1. @Ed You certainly are bringing up a good point about whether or not this new site can adequately fit a stadium. In any event, it is an indication of how bad Rybak managed this deal, because this idea should have been vented many months ago. Rybak is trying to act like a Mayor should and he is attempting to save the Vikings for Minneapolis, but if his Dome idea and Linden idea had been thoroughly reviewed in the first place—this 11th hour alternative proposal would not have been delayed until now.

    As I see it, everybody is dancing around the central issue and they have to eliminate the possibility of a Minneapolis site before migrating to Arden Hills, which is the Vikes first choice. (The NFL’s resistance to using TCF for 3 years must have triggered realization that the existing Dome won’t work at all.)

    Eventually, if Arden Hills is the only site, and this remains what the Vikings really want, the legislature will have only one proposal to vote on.

    Arden Hills won’t happen without Racino. Pat Kessler reported that Senjem thinks he nearly has the Racino votes lined up.

    The GOP has long wanted to get the Indians to fork up more money and Pawlenty sent them a letter in 2004 that he hoped would raise $350 millionish for the State. The Tribes will fight this, but nobody knows if they will prevail. The Tribes have hired everyone and anybody to lobby for their interests and are feverishly dishing out contributions to politicians of both parties. (Who knows how many folks are being paid to assist the tribes on this matter—you ought to consider posting about it?)

    My guess is that Dayton advocated Minneapolis sites because he is ducking the issue of dealing with MIGA since they have given so much money in the past to Democratic causes. The only way Arden Hills works is with new gambling competition and Racino is the best possiblity, but not so many years ago Caesars casino folks were active at the Capitol with an offer to help State cashflow by building a Casino at the Mall. Stay tuned……

  2. @Rick, I think the public should come up with the money it can realistically justify, then leave it up to fans and the Vikings to come up with the difference. Racino should not be on the table. It’s poor public policy when applied to state needs and horrible public policy when application to corporate welfare for NFL franchises.

  3. Hey, How about a stadium design with huge verandas that overhang the adjacent streets and neighboring structures to accommodate the bleachers. (Imagine the saucer from Independence Day posters) They could raise the stadium floor and put parking underneath. That way they maintain the area footprint and double the revenue by capturing parking fees.

  4. Ed. Seems to me that the effectiveness or perhaps the purity of any major decision involving government varies quite a bit. We would always wish that everything done by Congress is also good “public policy”–but it ain’t so at all. Stacked up against the decisions that were made in the NFL cities that chose to go the public subsidy route. You are basically standing hand-in-hand with Sen John Marty and refusing to budge.

    Sure, it would be great if the Vikings and private parties could work out a deal requiring no taxpayer involvement and no legislation. Wouldn’t that be just ideal???

    It is ideal. It won’t happen either. The NFL has such power over it’s fans that it can get public subsidized stadiums. Think about the advertising gold mine for the Superbowl where people actually want to see the commercials. Normally advertisers hope that watchers don’t change channels when the ads come on. You are missing the boat here in that the NFL is the most powerful TV revenue generator of all time and unsubsidized stadiums don’t fit with the business model.

  5. @Rick, I’m not looking at a stadium deal from the perspective of NFL revenues generated from commercials during the Superbowl. What’s good for the NFL or a local NFL franchise and what’s good for the public are not necessarily aligned. In fact, it’s quite clear that they are not when the NFL demands public subsidies in excess of even what they return to a community through payroll and sales taxes (which is a seriously low bar for a business’s contribution to a community).

    Sen. Marty’s position seems pretty darn rational to me. He supports it with real-world financials and has plenty of examples to pull from across the country.

    While few legislators are as pure as Marty on public subsidies for a stadium, there are plenty who take the view that:

    1. We shouldn’t expand gambling so we can earmark money for an NFL franchise.

    2. We shouldn’t take on debt that exceeds what an NFL franchise would return to the public in taxes.

    3. We shouldn’t spend the public’s money to build a stadium in a location that doesn’t leverage previous public infrastructure investments.

    I believe that a final plan will need to address those issues to win enough votes to pass. As in, it will still involve some public money, but not as much debt as the NFL / Goldman Sachs would like to see the state/county/city irrationally take on.

  6. Hidden among the many weaknesses of the NFL’s stadium hostage plan is the lack of acknowledgement of–
    1) The substitution effect — Both in (a) fans switching rooting interest/buying power to other local and international sports; and (b) gov’t switching funding from stadium boondoggle to more deserving local business opportunity and job development projects, since there are already long lists of projects that could be funded if we didn’t strap a 40 year debt gorilla to taxpayers backs.

    2) The privatized profits and public debt — While this existence should be obvious, what is not mentioned enough in this is the public debt is local economic debt while the privatized profits are all flowing east (a) to NYC banks who arrange this onerous debt for huge fees and interest amounts for 40 years; and (b) to NJ Wilf family who of course own the team inflated by the value of the public funds benefit flooded in. None of these monies will ever be shared back to the community–tangibly or intangibly.

  7. @ Ed I have one word to describe your position. UTOPIA. The concept goes back to the 15th century at least.

    Who in the world thinks that the NFL’s interests and public interest are aligned at all? I sure don’t.

    Whether or not the “votes to pass” and the public interest is actually served– is a purely dream on your part. I can think of dozens of stupid things that have been passed by the legislature and the US congress that didn’t serve the public interest. Perhaps you forgot about Tom “the Hammer” DeLay. Stuff gets passed in legislative bodies for a myriad of reasons and the interest of the “little guy” isn’t always equally represented.

    Go ahead and follow John Marty. He is a nice honorable guy who stands by principle. He ran for Governor some time ago and got absolutely crushed in nearly a 2 to 1 landslide. My advice is to find another Pied Piper.

    What the hell does Goldman Sachs have to do with this? This is a pipsqueak size deal for them and if MN tax exempt bonds are issued, the investors who benefit from them are the residents of MN that pay state taxes here in MN. (A NY resident, for example, would never bother to buy MN muni bonds.)

    @Other mike I am perplexed where you get your ideas? You must be some sort of “expert” in public finance. Is it a good thing to have an “expert” like you posting here???

  8. @ Rick: we all know the NFL has a lot of power. So what’s your solution? Just give them exactly what they ask for? As far as I know, the Vikings have yet to compromise on anything — they still want more public financing than almost every other NFL stadium, and they clearly still prefer the real estate development rights in Arden Hills. And frankly, I can’t blame them — they know they have some power in this.

    I think Ed is just playing the Vikings game, and taking the opposite position for sake of negotiation. Many legislators are doing the same (although probably not John Marty). Ed also seems to be taking a negotiating stance with the legislature too, hopefully leading to a more reasonable funding source for the project. In the end, they’ll probably end up somewhere in the middle, although definitely closer to the Vikings side if history is any indication.

    If you want to criticize Ed for being too extreme, what’s the point in being less extreme at this point if the Vikings aren’t willing to negotiate yet anyway? Even if he advocated a less “extreme” position (i.e. 25% public funding), that would just be the public negotiating against itself. I say, save the concessions until the Vikings are willing to come to the table, and we’ve got a funding solution that’s more than half-baked.

  9. @ Tony. I never thought of the possibilty that Ed might not be THAT extreme or that he might not actually believe what he writes in his own posts.

    To get to the point, my solution is that we let the process of Rybak’s shaky ideas play out and when they are all exhausted, the focus moves to Arden Hills. At that point, it will be obvious that the deal cannot get done without gambling expansion most likely in the form of Racino. Senjem will then place Racino up for a vote and he claims to nearly have the votes in hand. The MIGA group will do everything possible to stop it. My guess is that the Tribes will end up financing the stadium in one way or another–perhaps with some level of public funding. The GOP has been irritated by the fact that Perpich gave away too much to the Tribes by exempting them from taxes and competition. Mystic Lake makes obscene profits and fight all attempts to disclose publicly–if you look into the history of the excesses of the Tribes monopoly, you will want to puke. In any event, Ed is right that the Wilf’s should not be subsidized, BUT, in the end they will be–/and to the Tribes chip in here–the public will pay less.

  10. @Rick–You have to get out more, do more reading, your gambling to the rescue financing argument is weak. There is a reason only the tribes in MN have gambling and that is because gambling is a net negative on society and the state is hard pressed to expand it, even to save an out-of-state billionaire’s zgyiworld wet dream.

    I’d suggest you start reading here–
    http://real-economics.blogspot.com/
    –and come back in a week or so.

  11. Anyone following this discussion about the role of public subsidies in building a new stadium for the Viking might enrich their knowledge by reading the 11 article published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The owners of NFL franchises propagate a lot of baloney about the value of their stadiums, but this research was produced by economists who in all probability have no dog in this fight. It’s a bit dated, but will make you a lot smarter–especially if you want to argue about this stuff!! The authors try their best to do a complete analysis of all of the factors including the intangibles that I was trying to force down Ed’s throat. This article can be accessed at the following link:

    Should Cities Be Ready for Some Football?
    Assessing the Social Benefits of Hosting an NFL Team

    http://www.phil.frb.org/research-and-data/publications/business-review/2004/q2/brq204jc.pdf

    Apparently, the action on the Stadium is on hold this week because the legislature –didn’t want to get too much done –and took the week off. (This probably also explains the timing of the GOP caucus meetings yesterday.) But when they get back in session– and the Minneapolis sites that Ed keeps shooting holes —are finally off the table– we just might get a chance to discuss gambling.

    And, the legislature already opened the gate to the most regressive form of gambling, which is the State Lottery, that actually buys advertising on public media and suckers in the poorest of our society. Perhaps the worst “public policy” was transgressed when the lottery was approved. Casino gambling, in comparison, is upscale compared to the lottery and attracts folks who have too much money to spend.

  12. @Rick,

    That’s interesting — I had never seen that study before. Reading it, I thought the conclusions were highly suspect, and at least 3 noted sports economists agreed with me in this reply:

    http://tinyurl.com/7649jvw

    “The authors claim that “rents are 8 percent higher in central cities”… with an NFL team… On practical grounds, we find the magnitude of this effect to be implausibly large, considering that the results indicate that the estimated effect on rent of having a garage is also about 8 percent and that an additional bedroom raises rent about 6 percent. Further, holes in the floor lower rent about 8 percent, while abandoned buildings in the neighborhood and junk in the streets lower rent 6 and 7 percent, respectively. Curiously, the parameter on the average income per capita variable is not statistically significant. It seems highly unlikely that the presence of an NFL franchise in a city has about the same impact, though in the opposite direction, on the rent of a house or apartment as do holes in the floor, and is more important in explaining observed variation in rent than the level of per capita income.”

    Limited sample and variable isolation seems to be the biggest problems. Money quote from the end:

    “…after carefully examining the evidence presented in C & C’s paper, we conclude that it is too weak to stand unchallenged”

  13. @Rick…who owns these casinos/racinos that will save our state?

    And as Tony points out, this study is bogus…The whole concept of studying this NFL factor screams self-justification; besides being conducted by the same FED economists who stood by and enabled the entire housing bubble that crashed the world’s economy.

    Have they completed a study on the economics of allowing an interstate bridge to collapse into the Mississippi yet? How about the impact of two government shutdowns over tax ideology in one year and how next year’s funding of NFL stadiums suffer?

  14. And here Rick…since it seems you didn’t take my Real Economics advice and today there was exactly the type of posting you should read, I’ll bring the link to you–
    http://real-economics.blogspot.com/2012/02/cold-snap-triggers-renewables-milestone.html

    Please read it and the comment I made, as it explains exactly why taxpayers need to tell the NFL to pay for their own game. They produce nothing, they and the gambling they wish to use are merely a drain on society.

    Recall Clint Eastwood and Dodge/Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad, where they claim America is in halftime and needs to get the second half going?
    –The NFL was merely the halftime entertainment and needs to get off the field so the American production economy can get back into action.

  15. @tony There is little question this is a complex issue and it is not easy to establish the true cost of public stadium subsidies. Personally, I was a bit surprised by their conclusions that public subsidies overall pay for stadiums. Part of the problem here is that they did a generalized study where each market area is quite different. NYC, it seems, has the biggest payoff. Some markets have little payoff. All of this is just an academic exercise until there is a concrete Vikings stadium proposal in hand and some independent researchers can take a look at it. In any event, I hope I made some readers aware that this issue isn’t cut and dried and or black and white nor simple.

    @other mike Give us a break. You claim the Federal Reserve economists acted as a group to deliver the real estate bubble. I already spent too much time reading your garbage.

  16. @Rick … well of course it is ‘garbage’ when you exaggerate it. Read the words I wrote…’stood by and enable’ does not equal ‘acted as a group to deliver.’ My comment was on the FED economist’s abilities to analyze anything given their lack of ability to handle the housing economy.

    But feel free to ignore my ‘garbage’ but you ignore Real Econ at your own loss.

  17. This is actually NOT a complex issue, people are making it complex.

    The issue is easy–it is NOT cost-justifiable. Period.

    But some people want it, some people who have deluded themselves into thinking a want is a need. There is no way any of these taxpayer-supported deals should be done. Period.

    But for the ‘but I want it’ crowd, all of these deals would have been DOA. And we can point to all the halftime entertainment deals that were taxpayer supported in the past and think…but but Johnny got a stadium so where is my stadium and throw ourselves on the floor pouting.

    But halftime is over folks, and it’s time to get back to work. Real work, building real businesses that produce things and not entertainment businesses that want a Billion dollar circus tent to host their 10 circuses a year. How silly is that, Rick?

  18. @SkolVikes, that’s on top of the current Metrodome’s footprint. If it wasn’t, the stadium would be built while the Dome was still used, requiring no off-site games.

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