Vikings Fans Rally to Demonstrate Lack of Financial Support for Stadium #wilfare

Several hundred people @mallofamerica for Vikings Stadium ral... on Twitpic
BLOOMINGTON, MN – Vikings fans gathered at the Mall of America at noon to demonstrate their lack of financial support for a stadium. Fans called upon state legislators to extract money from Minneapolis taxpayers, and gamblers across the state, to subsidize their game day experience to the tune of $77 per ticket for the next 30 years.

Fans were joined by Vikings defensive end, Jared Allen. Allen, who’s $73,260,000 6-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings would cover nearly half of Minneapolis’ $150 million share of the stadium construction costs, asked fans to extract money from thousandaires for the benefit of millionaires.

Governor Mark Dayton also attended. He encouraged fans to call legislators to vote to redistribute money from non-Vikings fans to a private business owned by a guy in New Jersey to make up for the lack of stadium support from local businesses. Thirty years ago, Dayton Hudson Corp was the second largest private donor to support the construction of the Metrodome in Minneapolis. As a percentage of stadium construction costs, Target Corp today would need to put nearly $18 million toward the construction of the stadium. So far, Dayton has failed to convince a single private business to contribute a single dollar toward building a new NFL stadium.

Vikings corporate welfare bill sponsor, Senator Julie Rosen, made no comments about the Forbes article Vikings Stadium Not Likely To Help Minnesota’s Economy.

Minneapolis Mayor, RT Rybak, did not mention that the costs just for the City of Minneapolis portion of the stadium bill are projected to be $675 million over 30 years (and could go as high as $890 million) to cover construction costs, interest on construction debt, operating costs, and capital improvement costs.

Vikings fans considered the rally – which asked nothing of fans but to call legislators to demand corporate welfare for a New Jersey businessman – a success worthy of a trip to Hooters:

Corporate Welfare Rally Roundup

35 thoughts on “Vikings Fans Rally to Demonstrate Lack of Financial Support for Stadium #wilfare”

  1. We get it, you don’t like football. Other people, quite a few people do. Is the financial impact going to be so great on you that blather on about it constantly?

    In addition, your arguments always seemed based on the premise that the Vikes can just use the Metrodome. This is faulty. The options are new stadium, or relocation. The Vikes are near or at the bottom of revenues for the NFL and rely on revenue sharing to survive. Regardless of whether you agree public money should be used (although you often ignore the fact that it would be used for other events 355 days a year and isn’t owned by the Wilfs; you could argue about why private money should be used to fund a public building…), the precedent has been set by other cities.

    The simple question is whether Minneapolis and MN value having a professional Football team enough. Most cities would gladly have an NFL team, and having the triple threat (NBA, NFL, MLB) is a hallmark of any major city and has many hard to quantify trickle down benefits. In addition, history has shown that cities that have lost an NFL team often pay more once they realize they need an NFL team several years later (see: Ohio, Cleveland).

    You might think its not fair to charge non-NFL fans for an “NFL stadium” (even though it’s used the majority of the time for other things), but if the duly elected representatives of the people vote for it, youre not obligated to pay anything. Living in Minneapolis or MN for that matter is a choice, and other venues are available.

  2. Move if you dont like it, We need a stadium, North Dakota doesnt have one and no etabs either, you could go live there.

  3. @Casey, if everyone who doesn’t support subsidizing the Vikings left, those who do support subsidizing the Vikings could do what those opposed to it support.

  4. @Brandon, I do like football. I watch the games. I’ve been to quite a few Vikings games. But, I don’t think publicly subsidizing the NFL is smart public policy. I don’t happen to enjoy NFL football enough to give them money beyond what the team makes off me when I attend games or watch the games on TV, but if you want to, go for it. If not enough fans see enough value to do that, then the team should find a community that support the team.

    The Vikings aren’t dependent on revenue from the stadium to survive. TV revenue dwarfs that.

    Wilf could build a stadium, privately, and rent it out on the 355 days he doesn’t use it per year. If we want to build a facility that supports winter baseball practices, HS football, running and rollerblading, we could do for for a tiny fraction of a billion dollars.

    The simple question is, do VIKINGS FANS value the Vikings enough to pay to subsidize what Wilf is unwilling to pay for a new stadium. If other cities are willing to pay what MN Vikings fans won’t, Wilf should move. If the only way to “save” the team is to lose money saving them, the public should say no and leave it up to fans and local businesses to solve. If the decision is already bad, it would only be worse in the future, so saying no will only become easier for the public. Fans can do what they want with their own money.

    Pretending that a few hundred people running in a concourse is somehow justifies spending $1.6 billion on a stadium shows that you don’t understand the difference between what Wilf is demanding and what the public can justify.

    If you are honestly saying that I should leave the state if this bill passes, you’re admitting that this is a downright horrible deal for the public that you support shoving down the public’s throat rather than having enough Purple Pride to pay for yourself.

  5. The team makes team the city millions over the 30 years. Sorry the author of this article looks at it as the rich getting richer. Look at it as the wilfs own a business that brings on businesses and supports thousands of family’s. The stadium will benefit more people then people would benefit of it left!

  6. Sorry ed you must be immune to see the millions of advertising dollars and fundraising dollars the team brings on for 12 weeks a year the rest is state money. Take the blinders off and see the whole picture Ed

  7. @nic, I’ve compared what the Vikings say they contribute to the state to what the state says it would cost the public to meet Wilf’s corporate wilfare demands in previous posts. If you think there is an economic argument for public spending of $1.6 billion over 30 years to subsidize a business that creates far less than that in public revenue over 30 years, prove it.

  8. Once again, you’re pinning all the costs of the stadium to the Vikings. How many days a year would the Vikes use it? Is it exclusively for use by an NFL team? The proposal isn’t for a privately owned stadium subsidized by the state. If anything, it’s a public building subsidized by a private business.

    That’s not even including the shot in the arm to the chance of landing major events like a Super Bowl, which greatly raises the profile of the city and state.

    You may not like it, but a key hallmark of major cities and states is having pro sports teams. It raises the quality of life, makes MN a more attractive destination, including for businesses recruiting top talent.

    MN is currently hovering the line between small market and big market, not quite pushing into the latter; if it was a bigger market, perhaps a subsidy as you call it wouldn’t be needed. But as it stands, a bigger market will steal out prized, rare commodity of an NFL franchise, and MN will be one step farther away of becoming a big market.

    Your attitude of “if I don’t use it, why should I pay for it” is amusing. I don’t use 35W in my commute, who cares about rebuilding the bridge? I don’t go to parks, why should my tax dollars pay for it? I haven’t needed the fire department lately either. Hyperbole, yes, straw man perhaps, but it illustrates your flawed argument. Every day we pay for stuff we don’t benefit from, because our neighbors collectively felt it useful. All of us our free to move to, say, South Dakota, where taxes are likely cheaper and pro sports teams are not to be found.

  9. The fact that you’re pointing to vikings fans enjoying a meal at hooters (fan money going to a local business) as a degrading point, shows how ignorant you are, if the vikings pack up and say deuces what does that do for the economy? Just like the lakers and north stars, after the team leaves the state, and the state figures out how much of a benefit having an NFL team is, they’ll be a day late and a dollar short…

  10. @webs, would those Vikings fans have skipped lunch on the first Saturday in May if there wasn’t an NFL team in MN for 10 days in the fall?

  11. @Brandon, considering that college baseball and football teams, high school baseball and football teams, college and high school soccer teams, runners, and rollerbladers aren’t the ones threatening to leave the state if a new billion dollar stadium isn’t built for them, how much of the cost should those amateur sports cover of the cost?

    Considering that the new stadium would absorb land that is currently taxed by the city to meet the size requirements that Wilf is demanding, how much of the cost should non-NFL uses pay for that land?

    If the deal is a good deal for the public, let’s flip the terms. The public can pay $425 million plus a fixed operating cost with a fixed inflation adjustment while Wilf covers $550 million, cost overruns, operating costs with an annual, arbitrary, inflation adjustment, and property taxes.

    Asking MN to spend money to “compete” with big market cities is like buying a car you can’t afford in order to “compete” with the Joneses.

    You understand the difference between paying for public infrastructure and subsidizing your private relationship with a private company own by a guy in New Jersey, right? No? Well, that explains a lot right there.

  12. No but why would they have a need to go out to eat if they stayed home? That’s not to say they would have, your point of view can be skewed either way, just like mine, the only difference is I know that and am willing to address it, you failed however to see the fact that if the team leaves the state whose going to cover the taxes on the Vikings’ employees that leave as well? And who’s going to pick up the amount that’s not being spent from out of state people? I mean to an extent are there still going to be tourist coming here? Yes, there are, I’d be naive to say there wouldn’t be, but how much would it drop off? I’ve been working in Iowa the last month and you wouldn’t believe the RIDICULOUS amount of Viking fans here, and most are upset because politics are threatening something they love

  13. @webs, there are a lot of people who like the Vikings, but not enough to spend their own money subsidizing a stadium. You and I both seem to fall into that category.

  14. @webs, this is why I think the legislature should approve commemorative bricks as a funding source this year. Give fans a year to demonstrate their Purple Pride one brick at a time.

  15. We are all paying an arm and leg, but we only have two arms and legs…it has to stop now.

    These stadium/arena deals are all extractive schemes, and even worse now given our post 2007 economic/real estate collapse–is your mortgage underwater…how that job market treating you?

    But don’t take my word, the internet is full of solid economic studies showing failures and defaults like the Target Center here in town.

    Neil deMause of wrote an article for The Nation with a good summary of the failed econ of stadiums/arenas–

    But here are a couple money quotes–
    “Studies demonstrating pro sports stadiums’ slight economic impact go back to 1984, the year Lake Forest College economist Robert Baade examined thirty cities that had recently constructed new facilities.

    His finding: in twenty-seven of them, there had been no measurable economic impact; in the other three, economic activity appeared to have decreased.

    Dozens of economists have replicated Baade’s findings, and revealed similar results for what the sports industry calls “mega-events”: Olympics, Super Bowls, NCAA tournaments and the like. (In one study of six Super Bowls, University of South Florida economist Phil Porter found “no measurable impact on spending,” which he attributed to the “crowding out” effect of nonfootball tourists steering clear of town during game week.)

    Meanwhile, numerous cities are littered with “downtown catalysts” that have failed to catalyze, from the St. Louis “Ballpark Village,” which was left a muddy vacant lot for years after the neighboring ballpark opened, to the Newark hockey arena sited in the midst of a wasteland of half-shuttered stores.

    “Public subsidies for stadiums are a great deal for team owners, league executives, developers, bond attorneys, construction firms, politicians and everyone in the stadium food chain, but a really terrible deal for everyone else,” concludes Frank Rashid, a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan and college English professor.”

  16. Man you should spend your time doing something worthy. Half arguments are a waste. How do you feel about the state or city spending ANY money on anything that supports business?

    I didnt ask to fund any arts/parks/schools etc…but all of these things make up the Twin Cities for the greater good. I dont see where your “economic” theory of replacing the taxes on the players salaries or the 25% of people that come outside the Twin Cities that spend thousands in downtown 8 times a year? The taxes that go to the state on the companies and employees that will build this place and work there? I can go on and on, but your mind will not be changed. I hope I can come back and rub a stadium bill signed by Gov. Dayton in your face! By the way I dont live in MN any longer and I am a Vikings season ticket holder. My discretionary income comes all the way from TX. If I dont come to Mpls to see games thats 8+ times that I will spend the money here in Dallas. Your stupid ass wont see a dime of my money converted into taxes. Figure it out, your arguing against something that will only help the state and city. By the way, the very internet that big corporations make billions of $ off in online sales and services was funded by tax payers dollars. So maybe we should be charging you to blog and me to comment? Oh wait, you like blogging and the internet, so then its ok. Your a lost fool and I hope to god I dont call you a fellow U of M grad, I may start claiming St Cloud st or UMD to distance myself.

  17. @PissedinDallas, it’s great that you bring money into MN’s economy. If you value the team, I imagine that you’re cool with covering the cost of a new stadium through a 15% tax on Vikings related spending. Sen. Howe’s proposal would allow you to show some Purple Pride with every purchase of a ticket, beer, or jersey. Pretty cool, eh? Sure beats begging for other people’s money to subsidize Wilf, eh?

  18. Im also cool with charging everyone a 15% tax on anything they buy in the new stadium when they use it for non Vikings events. Should be a two way street right? Otherwise find a new place for your event. We have a convention center.

  19. Howe is an interesting case. He has no issue with $30 million going to a new St Paul Saints stadium. But he is fully against anyone from his district having to pay for a Vikings stadium. He also voted against Target field. Which has completely financially ruined the state and Hennepin county. I guess he has no problem pissing away your tax dollars $30M at a time in various bills. This guy is not doing you any favors by standing against a Vikings stadium.

    Do you have a link to Howe’s proposal? I cant seem to find it online anywhere. I thought the 15% was from John Marty.

  20. Howe and Marty are working together on that.

    Based on the annual attendance to Saints games and the multi-use nature of that stadium, while it also shouldn’t need public subsidies, it’s a much easier case to make than spending 18X more on an NFL stadium.

  21. I think that what a lot of stadium opponents don’t understand is that the stadium would be state owned and every non-football event would be there for the state to profit from.

    CSL estimates $500 million in cash returned to the state over the 30 years. This does not include state taxes payed by everything operated in relation to the NFL being here. That is just for the non-NFL events. This leaves the state out $390 million, or roughly $13 million a year. The Vikings payroll is currently over $120 million a year total, and the state collects almost 10% of that.

    The reason the Vikings are paying $420 million plus 65% of the operating costs over 30 years to use the place 10 days a year is because the State has calculated that this is approximately the “break even” point. That is to say, the point at which economically the state does not spend more than it receives.

    That leaves the local government. Hennepin pays less than $200 million. 40% of Vikings attendees live outside of the entire metro area and it is estimated that they will spend $343 million total in Hennepin over the course of 30 years relating to Vikings games (hotel, restarurant, etc). That is why Hennepin is on the hook for what they are on the hook for.

    In truth the State has done a good job of squeezing about $150 million more than the team wanted to pay. But we need to understand that the Vikings are already paying roughly 50% of the total cost over 30 years just to have free rent. They can’t be squeezed much more without it simply being cheaper for them to build their own stadium (with a local contribution of course, but not state owned).

    Stadium opponents have a right to be heard but they are generally ignorant to the true fincances. They hear a big number like $890 million and can’t understand what that means. They don’t understand that if you divide it by 30 years and 5 million state residents we are talking about like $6 a year per citizen which is less than $0.50 a game (games are broadcast free over the air as well).

    And we’d rather the team leaves the state? Seriously stadium opponents just want to get attention so they are opposing something that others passionately want. You won’t notice the money because it is a financial break even for the state. You just want to see others be as unhappy as you are. That or you just don’t understand the numbers.

  22. @Jake, were your numbers accurate, your take on those numbers would be more accurate. But, you are far from correct in your analysis. For example, you seem to be forgetting that both the state and city are borrowing the money they’d put toward the stadium, making the costs FAR higher than $13m for the state, etc.

    I think this may help explain the errors in your math.

    I agree that, were the stadium financing plan to be such that the public would break even on the deal over 30 years, it would have a chance of passing. But, it falls $600 million short of that goal over 30 years. As I explain in the link above, breaking even should NOT be the goal here. Breaking even would mean that a private business operating in the State of Minnesota would not contribute a single dollar to the economy over three decades.

    Additionally, if this is such a good deal, why have 7 of 10 of the most recent stadiums built gotten a better deal for the public in the communities where those stadiums were built?

    One last thing: there are no “stadium opponents”. There are simply disagreements over who should pay for a stadium that the Vikings and Vikings fans want. Personally, I support letting the Vikings and Vikings fans pay for a new stadium if they see enough value in having one. If they don’t, they shouldn’t, but that’s up to them.

  23. ED-

    I think you miss the whole point. Though you pretend to be long sighted your short sighted. Your linking every dollar that the state spends to be an investment. Sometimes things cost money, but the use and public use and the enjoyment of the events is the payoff, not a $ for $ over even a gain. With your logic almost everything that we spend money on would be a loss. Roads, parks, theater etc…those dont return $2 for every $3 invested. But what we do get is use of the roads and ease of transport/commerce etc…

    Also do you think that Marty and Howe are going to squirrel away the states/county/cities proposed investment in the Vikings? No they will tuck it away in 15-20 bullshit little projects that are spread out through the state and those wont do shit. The fact that we can keep the Vikings is the point. I would not want to see the Guthrie move, or any parks to be bulldozed simply because they are not a ROI as you seem to be hung up on. So all your #’s are crap because its not about a dollar ROI and never has been. Thats why it makes sense to people. Get off your high horse and go work at a food shelter or homeless center instead of writing replies on here if you really want to do something for the people of hennepin county.

  24. @PissedInDallas, you are asking the state to pick a winner for discretionary income within the state of MN. Why the Vikings?

  25. This proposal defines all that is wrong in america–
    –public subsidies of private industry which creates extractive profits out of insanely loyal fans while showing zero loyalty back to those communities.
    –bankster dealmaking whereby they create a riskfree stream of servicing fees and interest lending gov’t back the same money gov’t gives them via interest-free loans.
    –denial and delusion in gov’t entrusted with the public trust, but unwilling to make the tough decision to vote down these anti-social private businesses while explaining fully to the single-minded citizens why this deal is not good.

    This is about good governance serving the overall interests and not just a special interest, and this is about holding businesses accountable to all of society and not just their fans.

    Remember Clint Eastwood’s Super Bowl ad where he told us America is at halftime and needs to get back to work? God loves irony. Because getting back to work means America needs to get back to the work of producing things. It needs to stop playing and watching games and produce something…crops, widgets, whatever, but something real.

    Halftime is over, the marching band needs to get off the field…the NFL is the halftime entertainment of America’s history, it is past peak and needs to get off the field so our time and money can be invested in productive business and not the entertainment of watching grown men crash into each other.

    If we have 500 million MN dollars to invest, we should invest it in 15-20 little projects spread around the state to provide jobs…and it is the gov’t responsibility and duty to choose these projects wisely and to negotiate terms with these projects that represent the interests of all MN people and not just profit these project owners.

    This deal was 100% one-sided, negotiated without regard to the public of MN and needs to be voted down.

  26. Passed the house! Might as well pack up an move to Omaha or Des Moines. They have exactly what your looking for in a “city”.

  27. @PissedinDallas, my life would go on without the Vikings. But it also goes on with them. The thing is, I enjoy NFL football, but my identity and self-worth aren’t tied to the fate of a Delaware Corporation owned by a guy in New Jersey. If the team stays, I hope funding is user fees. I’m wiling to help pay for the stadium when I attend games, but don’t think we should exploit people through gambling or use regressive sales taxes to subsidize fans too cheap to pay the true costs of today’s NFL.

  28. I absolutely love it when cold, hard logic confuses and frightens the purple facepaint mafia. They keep repeating the same misinformation over…and over…and over….all they care about is being able to spray bud light vomit on the downtown sidewalks for ten days a year. But won’t you think of the _culture_ that football brings to our state?

    I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank Ed for keeping up such a great site-it’s a well-needed boost to those of us who don’t have a voice and are sick and tired of our elected officials playing bread and circuses like the Romans with our hard earned tax dollars. The documentation and supporting data pretty much brings hardcore fans to their knees….or into a swearing fit.

  29. @TheOtherMike “The NFL is the halftime of America’s history” Of the three college football games I attended, I always felt I’d have enjoyed the experience much more if the marching band played for four quarters, and the football team came on at halftime so I could get up and stretch my legs.

  30. Happy Dance, you can go back to your regularly scheduled life. Thanks for the entertaining conversation. I’ll continue to follow your blog.

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