List of Minneapolis Companies Donating to the Vikings Stadium (in 1982) #wilfare

The head of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, and member of Home Field Advantage, Sam Grabarski, recently penned an editorial in the Downtown Journal explaining how important the Vikings are to downtown businesses. As Grabarski put it: “We all lose BIG if nothing gets done soon at the State Capitol.”

Home Field Advantage happens to be the group that put out a very misleading push poll about how much support their is for a stadium. That’s one contribution that the group has made to get a stadium deal done.

Now, compare that to Minneapolis’ business leaders from 30 years ago. They also lobbied hard in favor of having a Vikings stadium built in downtown Minneapolis. But, unlike today’s business leaders in downtown Minneapolis, they put their money where their mouths were.

The book, Uncovering the Dome (by a name you’ll recognize, Amy Klobuchar) has a table that lists the contributions of local businesses to help get the Metrodome Built.

Uncovering the Dome

At the top of the list of donors? Minneapolis Star & Tribune Company/Foundation. Today, they pen multiple fear mongering pieces a day questioning will the team leave or not rather than explaining to the public whether the stadium bill is a smart financial decision or not. Frankly, the average reader of the StarTribune probably assumes that our politicians are idiots for not backing such a great deal for the state based on the paper’s boosterism.

As Klobuchar’s table illustrates, the Strib put in $5,137,000 in investments and contributions toward getting the Metrodome built. In today’s dollars, that would be $12,328,800. A $12 million contribution from the StarTribune would be one heck of a great start toward eliminating the need for sales taxes from Minneapolis residents.

Should the StarTribune put in $12 million to match their 1982 generosity? Perhaps. But, here’s another variable to consider. Wilf doesn’t want to build a cost-effective Metrodome. He wants to spend 6X more money to build a Metrodome replacement. For the StarTribune to contribute the same percentage of stadium costs toward a new stadium as they did in 1982, they would need to kick in $73,655,515. Should the StarTribune do that, half of the demand on Minneapolis taxpayers toward construction costs would be covered.

In 1982, Dayton Hudson Foundation/Corporation contributed $1,253,000 (in 1982 dollars) to help get the Metrodome built in downtown Minneapolis. Now we have a governor named Dayton who’s working to exploit gamblers in order to subsidize a New Jersey businessman’s private business. If Dayton’s (now Target Corp.) wanted to match their generosity from 1982, they could chip in $3,007,200 in 2012 dollars. But, do match their generosity on a percentage of stadium costs, they could come up with $17,965,809.

A few more interesting nuggets:

– If the top-10 largest corporate donors to the Metrodome project contributed the same amounts (on a percentage of stadium cost) to help finance Wilf’s stadium, that would generate $154,207,720. As in, it would cover the entire local share of the stadium deal without having to have a city-wide tax, a downtown restaurant tax, a beer tax, a hotel tax, etc.

– If every corporation that contributed in 1982 re-upped in 2012 for the same percentage of the stadium cost, that would raise $223,260,662.

I’ve transcribed the table into a spreadsheet to make it easier to see what businesses paid then, and what they’d need to pay now to be equally as generous.

Will local businesses contribute toward a new Vikings stadium, or continue to rely upon push polling to mislead the public into subsidizing a private business owned by a guy in New Jersey? You don’t lead by misleading.

File this under: Things you won’t see in the StarTribune.

7 thoughts on “List of Minneapolis Companies Donating to the Vikings Stadium (in 1982) #wilfare”

  1. @Ed. So far nobody has bothered to comment on your analysis and I could shoot a zillion holes in it but will wait for others to take their shot.

    Since the Old dome housed the Gophers for many years, I wonder how much corporate money already got taken up in the new Gopher stadium and into Brewster’s incredibly lavish locker-room?

    The Twins and Vikings supported the metro dome but you seem to have a reckless calculator. More than a bit of apples compared to oranges is assumed in your post.

  2. @Ed. There are plenty of folks in Mn that thought much like you do at one time or another in feeling that subsidies should not be granted. But, given the alternative of the team leaving, more than half are willing to go along with it. They moved on.

    As I see it, You and Other Mike are a bit unusual in that like pit-bulls you never give up on your original arguments. A long time ago I might have agreed–to some degree. I don’t like to see rich owners get public money one bit, but the alternative is either to have the Tribes finance it or watch the team leave.

    The politicians didn’t have the guts to take on the Tribes–so we are stuck with either a subsidy OR
    losing the team. The majority of voters are TV fans and are willing to pay a subsidy because it is a
    modest amount per capita–unless you live or play in Mpls. Legislators who have been opposed to the stadium appear to be wobbling in their opposition because much of the population wants the deal and really don’t care if Mpls eats more of the cost. From what I can observe, the Vikings are part of culture—dollars and cents in your posts and reasoning don’t matter anyone—they reluctant folks
    have moved on. Most of my personal friends, for example, firmly believed that the state would never approve a subsidized stadium. Today, that’s all changed—nobody is saying it will fizzle.

  3. @Rick, there is no doubt that then plan is designed to put the cost burden on gambling addicts and Minneapolis with the votes coming from outside the urban core. Quite a deal.

  4. @Ed. Look at it this way, if you close all of the bars at 8Pm—do you think it will realty think it will reduce the number of addicted alcoholics to any significant degree? If you do–I would be all for closing the bars at 4pm.

    The gamblers (some are addicts) already know where to access gambling venues–Tribal casinos, Vegas, bookies, and even the Internet. If the stadium is funded by gambling, most of the money is likely just being reallocated from other venues. It ain’t new money. The tribes are well aware of this.

    If you want to go on a crusade to stop regressive taxation–I suggest you take on the lottery which recently was hyped by the media and sucked in huge amounts of cash from the poorest folks.

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