Mark Dayton and RT Rybak have both, embarassingly, called the corporate welfare gift of more than half a billion dollars to Zygi Wilf’s private business a “people’s stadium”. The problem with that characterization is it implies that the “people” have access to it. In reality, the “people” would pay, but have very little access to the stadium. This is outlined in the senate’s version of the bill, where less than 5% of the days in a year would be legally devoted to use by amateur and high school sports:
Sec. 4. USE OF THE STADIUM.
69.31 Subdivision 1. Amateur sports use. The lessee of the stadium must make the
69.32facilities of the stadium available to the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission up to
69.33ten days each year on terms satisfactory to the commission for amateur sports activities
70.1consistent with Minnesota Statutes, chapter 240A, each year during the time the bonds
70.2issued pursuant to this act are outstanding. The commission must negotiate in good faith
70.3and may be required to pay no more than actual out-of-pocket expenses for the time
70.4it uses the stadium.
70.5 Subd. 2. High school league. The lessee of the stadium must make the facilities of
70.6the stadium available for use by the Minnesota State High School League for at least seven
70.7days each year for high school soccer and football tournaments. The lessee of the stadium
70.8must provide, and may not charge the league a fee for, this use, including security, ticket
70.9takers, custodial or cleaning services, or other similar services in connection with this use.
Over 30 years, that brings the average subsidy per amateur event to more than one million dollars. These are events that DO NOT REQUIRE a new stadium. In fact, they may not even want one since the baseball configuration of the Metrodome is more baseball friendly for baseball than a football shaped stadium.
Also, notice that there is no mention of using the stadium for inline skating or running. The Vikings talk about how many events the current Metrodome hosts per year. Would a new stadium cut more than 100 events from what the Dome holds? It’s not clear what the “people” are being asked to pay for.