Cory Merrifield Can Live Without Subsidized Professional Sports? #wilfare

Shakopee Patch has a nice profile of Save the Vikes’ Cory Merrifield. It helps explain where the guy in coming from with his constant demands for other people’s money to subsidize his Vikings season tickets.

The most interesting part of the article to me was this quote:

Merrifield also remembers too well when the Minnesota North Stars hockey team left the state, in 1993, and he doesn’t want to see it happen again.

“I grew up playing hockey,” he said. “But after the North Stars left, I was done with hockey.

He was done with hockey after the North Stars left? Life went on without a professional sports franchise subsidized by the public? Wow.

Were the Vikings to leave due to a lack of fan support, would life continue to go on for Merrifield? I have a hunch that he’s be just fine.

And, the public would be better off financially without the weight of $50 million/yr in debt payments to subsidize Vikings season ticket holders.

So, again, it comes down to a want vs. a need. Cory’s experience with the North Stars illustrates that he doesn’t really “need” 10 days a year of entertainment subsidized at a cost fo $5 million/game. But, if he truly “wants” it, he knows where he can send a check to make it happen.

11 thoughts on “Cory Merrifield Can Live Without Subsidized Professional Sports? #wilfare”

  1. The argument that the public will be subsiding each Vikings game with $ 5 million apparently assumes the public also gets NO benefit.

    I Guess that this also implies that a vast number of Vikings fans who never buy tickets and number perha

  2. Continued from last post inadvertent abbreviation.

    Are there really about 2 million regional Vikes fans who take pride in a local team and only watch on TV and never buy a ticket–who REALLY will not miss relocated Los Angeles Vikings and agree it just wasn’t worth public assistance? That is a question that cannot be answered until the team leaves. Other cities that lost NFL teams like Baltimore and StLouis spent huge amounts of public money to get teams back.

    Apparently the politicians and civic officials in those cities didn’t understand that this was a simple issue and voters didn’t want it and wouldn’t miss it.

  3. @Rick: I think among that 2 million are many people, who, while opposed to public financing of professional sports stadiums would say to bite bullet and give in to the nefarious Wilfs if the team’s departure was staring them in the face.

    While I’m a rather indifferent and benign pro football viewer, my interest would fall to zero without a Minnesota Vikings. A Twins departure would have been a steel-toed boot to the stomach. I’m glad I wasn’t confronted with having to deal with that. Outside of some volunteer work for the Democratic Party (which I no longer do) the Twins stadium was a personal foray into political involvement. I wrote letters. Even ended up on the front page of the Pioneer Press.

    You should have seen me, Ed. I was A Force.

  4. @Rat The question here seems to be IF enough other Democrats like you are also willing to bite the bullet on public financing?

    If the masses follow Ed and refuse to allow public funding then the only solution here is to use new gambling. Since the idea of using pull-tabs is now being exposed to serious flaws– because of existing charitable gambling then Racino or a new Casino may be the only solution.

    Raising ticket prices simply won’t work under the NFL business model and revenue sharing. The NFL allows the home team to keep 60% of gate receipts. The other 40% goes into a pool which is shared by all NFL teams.

    No so long ago Jerry Jones of the Cowboys exposed a secret that the Vikings operating out of the Dome are being heavily subsidized by the other NFL teams. He claims the Vikes receive the biggest subsidy and isn’t necessary in a market of 3.5 million.

    The bigger problem here is that the NFL business model relies on TV and shared revenues. This is just not well understood.

    The Packers for example in 2008 collected $47 million a year at the gate and they only keep $30 million. The rest of their revenues are from shared sources or unrelated to tickets sold. They do get to keep money from luxury boxes, and this is part of the reason that they Wilf’s want to move out of the Dome.

    The NFL is all about TV money and how to maximize it and the league wants all stadiums to produce a fair share of ticket revenue, but this is only a part of the bigger picture including public TV contracts, NFL merchandise, private-pay foreign TV rights. Stadium revenue is important, but if Los Angeles can deliver more to the bigger picture here, the re-location becomes more inevitable.

  5. @Rick, gambling IS public funding. People don’t support it for building bridges, health care, or education, much less earmarking the public funds earned through gambling exploitation for a NJ businessman.

    You’re describing problems Wilf and the NFL can solve. Increasing the value of Wilf’s business is the responsibility of Wilf and the master franchise.

    The Governor, legislature, and Minneapolis city council have not agreed to extract money from non-fans to subsidize Vikings fans. Until that happens (if it actually happens) fans are free to write checks to Zygi to bridge the enormous gap between what Zygi wants and what Zygi is willing to pay.

    I am a fan of the Vikings as a sport, but an appalled their behavior as a business. That’s a view shared by the majority of Minnesotans based on the popularity of the games on TV, but the lack of support for providing Wilfare to the team.

  6. @Brad DFL, I imagine that a Kickstarter campaign would help illustrate how little Vikings fans are willing to support covering 62% of a stadium’s $1.1 billion cost, but it would be cool to see them at least give it a try rather than begging for tax dollars.

  7. @Ed. You are absolutely right in that some forms of gambling are the same as public funding. The State Lottery, which is even advertised by the State is no more than a highly regressive form of optional taxation financed by the very poor.

    Other forms of gambling are a bit different. The money gambled by local folks who choose to fly to Vegas is definitely not to be confused with public funding at least for the state of MN.

    I think you continue to be extremely unrealistic in your belief that the Wilf’s and fans can work it out. I also suspect you have little idea what motivates the league and the other owners excluding the Wilf’s. The NFL isn’t interested in subsidizing the Vikes if better opportunities lie elsewhere. Wilf’s have no bond to MN.

    FYI- The very latest KSTP poll shows that majority doesn’t want public funding but new gambling is supported by a ratio of 5 to 4. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out where the politicians will be heading. Pull-tabs might be the official stance of the favored gambling selection but nearly everyone knows it won’t happen. The Tribes could stage an uprising before long.

  8. @Rick, I’ll looking at this from the perspective of what is best for taxpaying Minnesotans. Wilf and the NFL should do what is best for them. Everyone should protect their interests, which is why a $1.1 billion stadium proposal has reached a stalemate in MN.

  9. @Ed. I think you might have a bad case of myopia complicated by tunnelvision.

    You are making this in a plato’s cave exercise because you are apparently not bothering to see beyond the shadows of the Wilf’s and “their” fans.

    Not much to debate.

  10. Until the Wilfs make a rational case (or something bordering rational) on why the public should hand over public revenue to their business, there isn’t much to debate. As of now, with a $650+ million gap between what Wilf and Vikings fans are willing to pay vs. what they want, the stalemate continues.

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