Vikings Stadium Leadership = Getting Interested Parties to Work Together #wilfare

While some Vikings fans claim that state legislators, Governor Dayton, Mayor Rybak, or the Minneapolis City Council are showing a “lack of leadership” by not meeting Zygi Wilf’s corporate welfare demands as fast as they’d like.

Personally, I think questioning whether it’s in the public’s best interest to spend more money on stadium debt than stadium events would return to the public is a sign of leadership.

But, the real lack of leadership on the stadium issue is the poor job our leaders have done in convincing the Vikings, Vikings fans, and local businesses to work together to craft a plan that suits their needs. This lack of leadership can be seen in comments from fans like this:

 I will gladly pay for seat liscense or an extra tax on my season tickets, bring it on...its your liberal government that wont allow that to happen...move to Iowa if you dont like pro sports

And this:

I will pledge $2,000.

And this:

@edkohler @andrewwagner I would support and pay PSL's along w/ ticket surcharges. Don't presume to know what I would or wouldn't support, ed

And this:

@edkohler Idk, but i wouldn't have a problem doing so.

And this:

@edkohler Make that 2. I'm on the record that I'd gladly pay a $10k PSL over 20 yrs to keep #vikings from moving. (cc: @SaveTheVikesOrg)

In this case, it sounds like leadership could be defined as:

1. Enabling people to do what they want to do by staying out of their way.

2. Bringing Vikings fans, and local businesses and the Vikings organization together to find the money they need to build what they value.

3. Letting the market decide how extravagant a new stadium should be (if there is the financial will to build one once interested parties are faced with the true costs).

If Vikings fans and downtown businesses see enough value in the Vikings to support Zygi Wilf’s wallet, great. We don’t need to subsidize the Vikings or Vikings fans when the market is perfectly capable of deciding whether building a billion dollar stadium to replace our existing NFL stadium is justified.

22 thoughts on “Vikings Stadium Leadership = Getting Interested Parties to Work Together #wilfare”

  1. Ed,

    Thanks for all the great info. Most people don’t understand all the ramifications of this deal! I like the Vikings, but not at the cost of half billion dollars. We could/should pay back the money we owe the school districts, fix our roads or reduce taxes.

  2. Interesting that virtually nobody in a position of power really believes that a stadium can be built purely with private money. No one beleived it in any other NFL city and according to Ed all of these cities included ours are led by really dumb people who can’t see the obvious—isn’t that the contention of these posts. In my view, if there was an easier way to do this–it would have been considered already. Sure, any windbag can claim Mondale didn’t drive the optimum deal for taxpayers and be very smug about it as well –without knowing most of the detail or facts.

    What seems to be lost in this conversation is that the public may not want to provide Wilfare–if there is an alternative–but they will gladly accept a modest subsidy per capita if that is what is required to keep a popular team. It appears now that the NFL sent in the big horses to communicate the existing Dome economics is out of line with what could be available if the Vikes left town. Despite dome of the whining on this blog , I have never seen anybody here

  3. Continued… despite some of the whining on this blog, I have never seen anybody propose anything close to a possible alternative to a publicly funded solution.

    It also seems that the myth continues that a subsidy is going to be taken out of the pocket of schools or highways or something more worthy. The myth seems to keep going that if a stadium is funded–other needs won’t get met–but nobody can back it up with real facts.
    I wonder where these perceptions originated?

  4. @Rick, the best option is to use the existing Metrodome with a quality product on the field. Next, renovate for half the cost of building new. That was done in Vancouver.

  5. “The myth seems to keep going that if a stadium is funded–other needs won’t get met–but nobody can back it up with real facts. I wonder where these perceptions originated?”

    Rick, it seems to have originated with the ‘no new taxes’ ideology of the GOP. It led to an under-funded MN with a bridge collapsing into the Mississippi River and a state government shutdown based on cutting budgets past the breaking point.

    The NFL has negotiated one of the most extractive public subsidized proposals in USA history, by far THE most punishing in MN history…and yet we are somehow supposed to feel happy about it, and to even question it means we are whiney or disconnected from reality.

    There have been other options posed, both here and in the real world, and all have been rebuffed, most by the NFL since it insists on receiving all revenue streams, major public subsidization, and nothing short of a billion dollar stadium even in the face of these GOP anti-tax realities.

    Then somehow losing the Vikings is posed as being preposerous and regretful idea, even though this stadium deal has a negative ROI, and is being funded by exploiting uncertain gambling interests with shaky backup funding and by stripping a convention center fund that needs to use those funds soon to repair its own roof.

    You want other options–
    –How about raising the MN income tax rate on the highest earners, I’ll even let them earmark fund this 500 million dollar boondoggle?
    –How about an 750 million dollar stadium…then the public subsidy is cut in half?
    –How about MN issues Viking/People’s Stadium ‘stock’ certificates (instead of Zygi)…where the monies raised reduces the public subsidy?
    –How about MN issues Viking/People’s Stadium PSLs (instead of Aygi)…where the state/city gets those PSL incomes toward reducing the public subsidy?
    –How about MN construction companies MUST be used…and part of this deal is that they are paid-as-funds-are-collected over 30 years instead of funding via debt…thus reducing the need for public subsidy?

    How about your options Rick? You’re a smart guy, I bet you know many ways to tweak this proposal to make it less extractive while still trying to keep the NFL in MN.

  6. @Ed. You must have convinced yourself that nobody has ever considered remodeling the current Dome. It’s pretty amazing if the answer is so simple. How sure are you that the existing facility is a viable option—-do you have ANY credible source to back that up?

  7. @ other mike. It is puzzling how you somehow link the anti-tax GOP with the NFL’s market power to extract public subsidies. You got a bad logic chip.

    Personally , I think Dayton had a good idea when he campaigned to raise taxes. You might note that in today’s Strib mentions how anti-stadium opponents (like you and Ed) are fighting Dayton and aligning with the TParty. Of course, Dayton has to give some ground to the right-wing on compromises to get some of his own agenda. Dayton says that the stadium issue will not affect other legislation—and I hope he can do it—but it concerns me that you appear to making Dayton’s job a lot harder. He is trying to get things done—the stadium is just one item on the agenda . And if the same folks who normally vote DFL ( and who feared Emmer in office ) don’t think this through then there could be real implications of fighting Dayton here. If liberal DFLer actually keep aligning with the
    TParty on the stadium—there could be consequences in that Dayton might have to sign some of the
    stupid bills they recently passed. It could happen—horsetrading is done in politics–Dayton coils easily cave of GOP proposed tax cuts instead of tax increases.

    I suppose a 750 million stadium is possible but it doesn’t seem to be a proposal of any party.

    As far as using MN construction resources, I think you can be assured that since the unions had a heavy hand in getting Rybak to squeeze the council, this will happen.

    In the big picture, the MIGA tribes are clearly the winners. They apparently have succeeded once again in keeping the state out of their bulging piggybanks once again with unlimited lobbying. Much of this public subsidy business would be much different had Dayton and GOP leadership not chickened out with MIGA–but they did—and a big opportunity to redistribute fortunes made from bad laws under Perpich just evaporated. The largest Tribe, White Earth, lives in poverty and keeps getting neglected while Mystic Lake tribe members are awash in amazing wealth. Most of the stadium opponents just didn’t get it

  8. @Rick, it’s paid for, and based on Vikings fans’ lack of willingness to subsidize a new stadium for Zygi, it’s the obvious choice. Frankly, it’s not worth remodeling unless Wilf wants to spend his own money to so so.

  9. “It is puzzling how you somehow link the anti-tax GOP with the NFL’s market power to extract public subsidies. You got a bad logic chip.”

    My logic chip is doing quite well Rick my friend…but I admit it was a long posting so you might have forgotten what I wrote, let me help you–
    (1) You asked–“…if a stadium is funded–other needs won’t get met–but nobody can back it up with real facts. I wonder where these perceptions originated?”
    (2) I answered–“…it seems to have originated with the ‘no new taxes’ ideology of the GOP. It led to an under-funded MN with a bridge collapsing into the Mississippi River and a state government shutdown based on cutting budgets past the breaking point.”

    This is all recent MN political history, which you seemed well versed on, so I didn’t believe would need increasingly detailed explanation. This is what happened just before and in the midst of this past year’s flurry of stadium proposals.

    This is the foundation from which all public subsidies must be judged, no? Therefore, isn’t this the political environment upon which the “NFL’s market power to extract public subsidies” will be judged?

    If you have different logic, feel free to explain it, because this is the logic where I live.

    My understanding is money doesn’t grow on trees, and when it leaves the community, it is hard to get it back. There is a finite quantity of dollars the public/state has available to spend, the NFL demands we commit a large subsidy to build them a new stadium and also plans to extract a large quantity in annual income, which will leave less to spend here.

  10. @other mike. Building a stadium with specific financing on that property ain’t going to make a slight dent on the State’s ability to borrow in the future. The same applies to the list of projects that could be included in the bonding bill like civic centers. You have got general obligation funding totally mixed up with special use facilities.

    The collapsing I-35 bridge has zip to do with this stadium issue, unless of course they do it on the cheap with shoddy construction using Minnesota resources.

    You apparently haven’t got a clue how votes are lined up to support legislation. If one political party, such as the DFL in this case, they become weaker to implement other policy. The up and down votes on each price of legislation is often tied to other bills. You vote for my proposals and I vote for
    your proposals—that’s just the way things get done. In thus case, the shaky DFL support that Dayton is getting on the Stadium just hurts his ability to get other stuff done. If all of Dayton’s supporters acted like you, he would have no power to do much.

  11. @Ed. First of all, it is a very fair question why they are not considering a potentially much less expensive renovation of the current Dome.

    The answer is that the Vikings and Mondale did think of this early on in the process and probably long before it occurred to you. They looked at it and found severe shortcomings such as lack of bathrooms and not enough suites. To modify it, they would have to bow out the existing walls and, as I understand, the building footings are not adequate. They would literally have to knock the whole building down–so, understandably, they gave up on it– a remodel might be just as much or even more than a new building and still might have deficiencies.

    Anyway, they (Bagley and Mondale & Rybak) considered a remodel and understood why it was not a decent alternative and moved on.

    I don’t expect, however, you will agree and even if you do–you are unlikely to acknowledge it–and what’s worse–you might keep posting the remodeling idea until you die—just like a pit-bull!!!

    You could prove me wrong on this assumption–that is for a couple of days–I suppose but I really do expect you to keep the remodel idea alive forever.

  12. @Rick, my point continues to be that Wilf would like a new stadium to he can increase his revenues, bit not enough to spend or borrow money to build it. That is not the public’s problem to solve. But, fans are welcome to give the guy handouts.

  13. @Ed. Great point. Wilf wants a new stadium if it will increase not his revenues, but his bottom lime.
    From what I understand— and perhaps you have solid data to prove this assumption wrong– the Vikings playing in the current facility and paying salaries to get to the playlets are no better than break even cash gl

    If he gets a new stadium, the costs will increase too, especially the rent and cash flow needs to retire the NFL loan and probably private loans to cover his share. How much better off will he be? You probably wouldn’t have any idea, but whatever the number is— he probably

    If he keeps the old Dome as it is, he could start charging for personal seat Licences that you claim the fan base will pay—so why would they screw around with a new facility at all?

  14. FYI

    Forbes magazine has some insight as to the value of the Vikings stadium decision and why it make sense to intimidate local legislators and force it down the throats of subsidy opponents. It’s easy to understand—Money talks. The league owners will get paid a lot more for a new franchise in LA than if Zigy moves the team out there–or if Zigy sells the team to an owner who would eventually locate it in LA. There is no logic in the world than Ed can find in PSLs to offset this kind of MONEY.

    Read more at the following link:

  15. @Ed. You are right that the league has good reason not to move to LA, but if the Wilf’s get frustrated with MN politics, they can sell the team to LA based owners for a big profit. The LA based owners would then transfer the team to LA and pay the other owners a “transfer fee” of 200 million.
    If the NFL goes into LA with expansion–the owners get much more.

    Go back and read the article again. The league cannot prevent a sale to new owners and that is precisely what Goodell told Dayton last week.

  16. @Rick, yep, that could happen. If Vikings fans are concerned about that, they sure haven’t expressed much interest based on their lack of willingness to save Wilf’s profit margins.

  17. Rick, you know the political game, but you are ignoring the resource that fuels that game…citizen funding. It doesn’t matter whether it circles in via gambling, homeowning, store purchases, etc. It also doesn’t matter that these funds get allocated out into separate buckets of gov’t later. It all comes out of your and my pockets.

    Then, it needs to be spent wisely, on choices that make the state better able to run businesses and increase our quality of life. The Vikings used to be a contributor to society back when they paid taxes and rent, then they shifted into this extractive phase where they no longer did but it was close enough to shrug it off with the ‘intangible’ quality of life they brought fans.

    This deal breaks that social contract…it literally is a bridge too far.

    All that stuff about Forbes and LA, expansion versus moving, is NFL trying to maximize their profits. We do not have to contribute to maximizing NFL profits, we need to protect and serve our own citizens, not just those NFL fans and their ownership plutocracy.

  18. @Ed You know it is the fault of those damn cheapskate fans. I think the Wilf’s ought to stay in the current facility and jack up the price of beer to 15 bucks, install pay toilets, and use variable ticket pricing for the annual game with the Packers. The Wilf’s ought to charge them damn cheeseheads the same price a scalper would get….maybe some Packer fans would gladly pay a grand to seen the Vikings demolished in a game. There is just no need for a public subsidy to keep the Viking here if Wilf would just charge those damn cheapskate fans a fair price.

    @other mike Yup. You got the point. It is all about money and extractive businesses. We ought to pass a law barring Madonna from coming to the Twin Cities and charging extreme prices for concert tickets because most of the money will leave town and the concertgoers could spend their resources on something more to your liking. I think you also might have a point that this is a bridge too far and will inevitably lead to the downfall in society.

    Haven’t you noticed that things are already going to hell and nobody has been paying attention to your standards?

    Ever consider lowering your “social contract” standards?

  19. @Rick, Wilf runs a private business. If he provides something people value, they’ll pay for it at a price they find fair. If they don’t see enough value, it’s not the public’s responsibility to bridge the more than half a billion dollar gap.

  20. @Ed. Based on your reasoning, there should be ZERO legislators, mayors, governors, county commissioners that support public subsidies. But that is not the case.

    Where or why do you think they are missing the vision that you think is a black and white issue? This is a democracy–are are elected leaders so misdirected that only they can be wrong about a stadium subsidy—and only public subsidy opponents of your ilk can only possess the whole truth about this matter?

    I don’t think so. Check your logic for a missing link. Why would Rybak stake his political career on a decision that is bad as you claim it is???

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