Vikings Stadium Myths Exposed, Exposed Part V

Welcome to Part V of my epic response to Skol Girl’s epic justification of public welfare for private businessman, Zygi Wilf, so he can move his football team 10 miles, build 21,000 parking places, and charge us $600,000,000 to do so. The first four parts looked at the article Skol Girl wrote for the Daily Norseman. This one looks at some of the additional gems she dropped in the comments.

Skol Girl:

It would really screw up the NFC North if the Vikings moved to California.

And that would be a shame because the division was just getting back to its roots of being a tough, smashmouth division—if you could win there, you could win anywhere.

That sounds more like an NFL problem than a Ramsey County or State of Minnesota problem to me. Perhaps the NFL could chip in a chunk of the $2 billion they’ll make from their Monday Night Football contract with ESPN to Save the NFC North?

Skol Girl:

You really would hope that state leaders would see the bigger picture…

Rather than the few cranked people who call and tell them a stadium would be noisy. Unfortunately, they seem to be looking at short-term gains rather than long-term growth in Minnesota.

I’m pretty sure that politicians would be lining up to add their name to a bill that provided long-term growth for their constituents. So, either politicians can’t count the money or the money doesn’t add up. Which is it? Politicians seem to be pretty good at counting money, so I’m going with the latter.

Skol Girl:

Considering the popularity of the idea of taxing the rich when it comes to balancing the state’s budget, you’d think they would do more to keep rich people who pay the 8% state income tax in the state.

Paul Ulstrand explained that fallacy in the comments at Minnpost a few months ago. Player salaries come aro around $12 million. “5% of $12 million is $600,000. The debt service will be $15 million a year. So we’re spending $15 million to get $600,000 back.”

Skol Girl:

And, this would be a good opportunity for lawmakers to counter the belief that Minnesota is hostile toward business.

Hostile? Minnesota has more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other state. If a company chooses to hold the state hostage in exchange for welfare payments as ransom, we may come across as hostile, but that’s a rational reaction to such a request.

Skol Girl:

Great point.

You are so right about how when you go cheap you end up having to replace things sooner. One would hope that massive projects like a stadium are built with an eye toward the future, but too often they seem to be built with an eye toward the next election cycle.

Against, it looks like someone is confusing a want with a need. The Vikings don’t “have” to replace the Metrodome with a new brand new heavily publicly subsidized stadium in Arden Hills. They simply want to do so. And, blaming politicians for having less extravagant tastes is seriously misplaced. Wilf could build a new stadium today for $420 million, but his tastes are more than double what he’s willing to spend for the stadium he really really wants but doesn’t need.

Skol Girl:

People might be apathetic right now to the potential loss of the Vikings, but in 2012 if the Vikings aren’t in Minnesota there will be significant fallout. Because the market in the Twin Cities has proven it can support an NFL franchise, Minnesota will automatically become the next city people talk about as a potential location for a disgruntled NFL team to relocate to.

Fallout? Are you suggesting that a politician would lose their job over NOT spending the public’s money on something we don’t need? That seems highly unlikely.

Additionally, a recent study ranked the Twin Cities 9th in overextended professional sports markets. As in, as much as we like having the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB in our metropolitan area, we don’t really have the population and resources to support all of them. Compare that to Dallas, where fans have spent as much as $150,000 per seat for the right to buy season tickets.

Skol Girl:

Of course, no NFL team will relocate to Minnesota to play in the Metrodome so a new facility will have to be built. Do you know how much the cost of stadium construction will go up if it is delayed even a year? The current project cost is estimated to go up $54 million each year it is delayed. And, I would be willing to guess that no team considering relocating to Minnesota would be willing to pay as much of the construction costs as the Vikings currently are.

I think we can all agree that we wish the Minnesota Vikings were owned by someone who put Minnesota first. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case. So why are you blaming politicians for the lack of loyalty the franchise is showing to our community?

While construction costs do tend to increase over time, inflation effects money too, so don’t be so alarmist about this. But, if you want to be alarmist by suggesting that this will be our last chance to build a stadium because they will soon become unaffordable, I think we both know that that won’t happen.

Skol Girl:

The Metrodome is just across from Hennepin County Medical Center. If there’s one thing you can count on with hospitals, it is that they always need new construction. As one of the two Level 1 trauma centers in the tri-state area (the other is at Regions Hospital), HCMC probably needs a new emergency room. It isn’t a stretch to believe that a large portion of the current Metrodome site could be used to enlarge the HCMC medical campus.

It sure seems like the blocks Hubert’s bar or Lehman’s Garage are on would make more sense. As I see it, HCMC’s future growth is more likely to be tied up due sports stadium welfare than a lack of available real estate nearby.

One thought on “Vikings Stadium Myths Exposed, Exposed Part V”

  1. Great series, good points abound, but I think you are too generous to politicians here:

    “I’m pretty sure that politicians would be lining up to add their name to a bill that provided long-term growth for their constituents. So, either politicians can’t count the money or the money doesn’t add up. Which is it? Politicians seem to be pretty good at counting money, so I’m going with the latter.”

    Politicians at the state level have become increasingly focused on short-term posturing than long-term planning, and unfortunately we’ve all seen plenty of evidence on this point. However, I don’t think opposition to major league sports facilities is evidence of this political behavior, as SkolGirl suggests — if anything, political support of stadiums is more about short-term gains, or at least the appearance of short-term gains, than long-term planning, as any serious, thorough look at the finances of such deals will illuminate.

    I think a lot of lower-profile elected officials — particularly those at city/county levels — do indeed oppose this plan for the proper reasons, but some of the more prominent opponents at the state level probably don’t deserve any commendations for their long-term planning skills. Their ideology just lucked into a logical stance, for a change.

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