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Minnesota Governor explains decision to pay for part of Vikings stadium

Vikings Stadium Football AP

With the Minnesota Legislature officially signing off over a week ago on a new stadium for the Vikings and the Minneapolis City Council less than a week from applying (or not) its official approval to the project, Governor Mark Dayton recently explained his support for the effort in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio.

Asked whether the citizens of Minnesota got the best deal possible, Dayton offered up a lengthy, but informative, reply.

“I believe it’s the best deal available under the circumstances,” Dayton said.  “I’m not one to defend the economics of professional sports.  It’s a world unto itself.  Any deal you make in that world doesn’t make sense from the way the rest of us look at it.  That’s just a given.

“The bottom line was:  do we want to create several thousand jobs by building this new facility?  Do we want to keep the Minnesota Vikings in Minnesota?  Do we want an NFL franchise here in our state?  We accomplished all that.  We’re going to have a chance to build something that I think Minnesotans can be very proud of.  It’s going to distinguish the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota for decades to come.

“It can be used 355 days a year when the Vikings aren’t playing in it as the people’s stadium, for all sorts of other uses that will enhance the quality of life in our state.  Time will tell whether we get a deal or not, I think it’s going to be a good deal when we look back with the perspective of time.”

Dayton’s point is a valid one.  Regardless of whether it’s “right” or “wrong” or “competition” or “extortion,” the presence of 32 NFL teams in a country with more than 30 metropolitan areas that want to host one means that the metropolitan areas that currently host an NFL team may, from time to time, have to take steps to keep the NFL team from moving to one of the metropolitan areas that don’t.

Especially when there are now a couple of metropolitan areas outside of the country that may be interested in hosting an NFL team, too.

And to the extent there’s any confusion as to whether the Vikings and the NFL would have gone to one of the other metropolitan areas, Dayton was unequivocal as to the choice the Vikings faced.

“[W]hat the Vikings and the NFL impressed upon us, is that we can’t do it both ways,” Dayton said.  “We can’t not do a new stadium.  We can’t just keep the team here on that basis.  It’s either do we want a new stadium?  Do we want the thousands of jobs it will create?  Do we want to keep the Vikings here and move forward?  Or do we want to just say goodbye?  The majority of the Legislature, and I think the majority of the people of Minnesota, were in favor of continuing.”

So while some may have real — and legitimate — problems with taxpayer money being used to make a rich man even richer, sometimes those concerns need to be set aside, or else the NFL franchise may step aside.

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33 Responses to “Minnesota Governor explains decision to pay for part of Vikings stadium”
  1. thankheavenfornumberseven says: May 19, 2012 1:00 PM

    I think he stated that very well. Hard to believe that there are so many commenters on PFT who are less insightful than Mark Dayton.

  2. ejmat2 says: May 19, 2012 1:04 PM

    For those that are so worried about tax payer money going towards the stadium let me break down simple math.

    State pays approx $500M
    State has 5M tax payers
    500M / 5M = $100 per person
    30 year term = $3.33 per person, per year.

    It’s not going to break anyone’s bank. In fact the state and their tax payers will actually benefit from it over time. Besides, how was the state going to make up for the lost revenue of the Vikings if they were to leave?

  3. tres79 says: May 19, 2012 1:14 PM

    ejmat2… The money would get spent on other leisure/entertainment activities, none of which require the taxpayers to fund their place of business. I support the stadium deal by the way.

  4. thankheavenfornumberseven says: May 19, 2012 1:19 PM

    @ejmat2 -
    You forgot about the interest, so it’s actually a lot more than $500 million. On the other hand, this isn’t distributed across every person either. It’s only people who choose to gamble with electronic pulltabs and other games, or who pay sales tax in Minneapolis. Regardless, it isn’t costing any one person a significant amount.

  5. citizenstrange says: May 19, 2012 1:29 PM

    The taxpayers give money to Wilf while he flies around in a private jet.

  6. briang123 says: May 19, 2012 1:41 PM

    There’s that “The People’s Stadium” again. What is this, Pyongyang or Minneapolis?

  7. contra74 says: May 19, 2012 1:53 PM

    citizenstrange says:
    May 19, 2012 1:29 PM
    The taxpayers give money to Wilf while he flies around in a private jet.
    ——
    So!? You’re going to strike down a man because he did well for himself by being smart and taking risks to realize the Ametican Dream? Why dint you get mad at GE for not paying taxes instead of at Wilf who does pay his taxes.

  8. dcpowergator says: May 19, 2012 2:10 PM

    I think the Gov has done as good a job as I’ve seen articulating the contradictory stadium propositions in a way that makes sense. i.e., it probably doesn’t make good economic sense to pay for a stadium but let’s do it anyway, for other reasons, and we’ll make the best of it.

    Wonder what the stadium, over a 30-40 year period, really costs when compared to the state funding poured on an annual basis into other non-economic generating niceties like museums, symphonies, public art, state parks, etc. Funny how comparisons like those are never mentioned in the press. It’s because a stadium is a large, one-time capital expense (two or three if you’re St Louis) and the other items are just annual budget lines that don’t sound so bad… until you multiply them by 30 or 40.

  9. 86chawk says: May 19, 2012 2:10 PM

    Not a Vikings fan, but the new stadium is a no-brainer if you ask me. My only question is why is it going to take so long to build? I believe i read that the Vikings are shooting for an open date in 2016? Who are they getting to build this thing…..Willie Wonkas’ oompa-loompas?

  10. mungman69 says: May 19, 2012 2:12 PM

    Let the Vikings move.

  11. skolvikesskol says: May 19, 2012 2:14 PM

    The fitst logical and honest comments about this issue… However with interest this will cost 1-2 billion.

  12. lbpackfan says: May 19, 2012 2:18 PM

    Gonna have to agree with contra on this one…it pains me to admit it :)

  13. chatham10 says: May 19, 2012 2:24 PM

    I always read about let the rich owners pay for the whole thing but nobody wants to bring out what the city and state will receive for having a team in their state, I say let the city or state have some skin in the game as they will receive a great deal of revenue.

  14. ejmat2 says: May 19, 2012 2:26 PM

    For the people that commented on my post, yeah there will be interest and other things that factor into it. However, my point was merely to put things in perspective that it is really not much. By the way it’s only $498M so that portion of it can make up for the interest. Don’t forget the revenue that will be made for other functions and events when the Vikings aren’t playing. Not only that, one superbowl (two-week event) will more than pay for the stadium.

    The fact is the state will be stronger with the new stadium. If the state would have lost the Vikings they would have to make up for the revenue lost as well as the tourism that go to Minnesota just to watch or play the Vikings.

  15. ejmat2 says: May 19, 2012 2:28 PM

    citizenstrange says:
    May 19, 2012 1:29 PM
    The taxpayers give money to Wilf while he flies around in a private jet.
    ———————————-
    LOL at this statement. Yeah, the taxes go right to Wilf. (sarcasm off).

  16. spellingcops says: May 19, 2012 2:31 PM

    “It can be used 355 days a year when the Vikings aren’t playing in it…..”

    I guess with 2 preseason & 8 regular season games, even the Governor realizes the Vikings won’t be hosting any playoff games.

  17. zaggs says: May 19, 2012 2:36 PM

    “The presence of 32 NFL teams in a country with more than 30 metropolitan areas that want to host one means that the metropolitan areas that currently host an NFL team may, from time to time, have to take steps to keep the NFL team from moving to one of the metropolitan areas that don’t.”

    Unless of course you’re the Panthers, or Giants/Jets. Then you have adults in charge who build their own stadiums.

  18. mcqphx says: May 19, 2012 2:39 PM

    They used the ‘People’s Elbow’ for the ‘people’s stadium’.

  19. mediasloppy says: May 19, 2012 3:05 PM

    If this is going to be paid for by people gaming, why is it always labeled as tax payers money?

  20. esotericmindguy says: May 19, 2012 3:24 PM

    500 million from ziggy. Now subtract naming rights over 30 years, 300 million, seat licensing that he’ll drop on season ticket holders -around 100 million, increased value for his franchise probably around 200 million, and revenue from additional luxury boxes over 30 years is probably over a billion. Mark Dayton, I can see the future, it was a horse sh*t deal.

  21. jluns275 says: May 19, 2012 3:31 PM

    Excellent!
    You’ve again proven my point.

    Thanks for being so consistently predictable like good little socialists.

  22. contra74 says: May 19, 2012 3:39 PM

    lbpackfan says:
    May 19, 2012 2:18 PM
    Gonna have to agree with contra on this one…it pains me to admit it
    —-
    Skol! :)

  23. Herb Deluxe says: May 19, 2012 4:07 PM

    jluns275 says:
    May 19, 2012 3:31 PM
    Excellent!
    You’ve again proven my point.

    Thanks for being so consistently predictable like good little socialists.
    ______
    Stop throwing around the term “socialism” as if you have any idea what its definition is, because you clearly don’t.

  24. brewdogg says: May 19, 2012 5:19 PM

    Herb Deluxe says: May 19, 2012 4:07 PM

    jluns275 says:
    May 19, 2012 3:31 PM
    Excellent!
    You’ve again proven my point.

    Thanks for being so consistently predictable like good little socialists.
    ______
    Stop throwing around the term “socialism” as if you have any idea what its definition is, because you clearly don’t.
    ——————–

    Hey!! I was going to jump on him for that one!!

    Maybe some of you should actually do a little research and find out what socialism truly is. In a pure socialist society, the concepts of money and materialistic wealth do not exist. Work is provided for everyone, and the needs and wants of all are met, regardless of the work they do. The farmhand is just as important to the community as the the lawyer is, and so they are granted an equal amount of the products of the community.

    Unfortunately, achieving pure socialism is next to impossible. There is this thing called human greed that gets in the way. Until the concepts of materialistic wealth and power derived from wealth are abolished from our society, we will continue to be subject to capitalist whims.

    So before you toss around “socialist” in regards to the wealthy, try to keep in mind that the wealthy are the ones who would lose everything under socialism.

  25. clintonportisheadd says: May 19, 2012 5:45 PM

    “It can be used 355 days a year when the Vikings aren’t playing in it as the people’s stadium….”

    ———————–

    EXCEPT that “the people” (in spite of their legal right to do so) were purposely kept out of the process because “the people” would have voted no to this outrageous example of corporate welfare.

    Since the plan ( approved by a very slim one vote majority of the Minn City Council) has been altered so much by the State Legislature one hopes one of the folks on the Council will do the right thing and switch votes and sink this idea for good.

  26. citizenstrange says: May 19, 2012 6:15 PM

    ejmat2 says:
    May 19, 2012 2:28 PM
    citizenstrange says:
    May 19, 2012 1:29 PM
    The taxpayers give money to Wilf while he flies around in a private jet.
    ———————————-
    LOL at this statement. Yeah, the taxes go right to Wilf. (sarcasm off).
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It’s pretty simple who the money goes to. If the taxpayers pay $500 million that is $500 million LESS hat Wilf has to pay. Capiche? Can you follow?

    Who do YOU think they money goes to?
    Education? Veterans? Healthcare?

  27. corvusrex96 says: May 19, 2012 6:30 PM

    zaggs says: “Unless of course you’re the Panthers, or Giants/Jets. Then you have adults in charge who build their own stadiums.”

    Sorry have to disagree. The Meadowlands New Jersey stadium was Owner/NFL funded because the NY Giants/ NY Jets have absolutley no leverage against the taxpayers.

    New Jersey would never be able to get their taxpayers to fund a stadium for the two New York teams and there is no affordable land to build on in New York City. It would have cost $2 billion in Manhattan or one of the boroughs.

    The Giants and Jets could not threaten to move. Where are they going? It would have been rich seeing the NY mayor trying to plead with New Jersey to pay for the NY team’s stadium

    The redskins stadium in Maryland was paid for by the owner but only b/c the Maryland taxpayers would never pay for a facilty used for a city that is not in their state.
    The Maryland taxpayers did pay for the only Maryland team’s stadium, the Baltimore Ravens

  28. tomtusa says: May 19, 2012 6:43 PM

    I received a copy of the State’s financial report regarding a stadium from my local House rep. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep it to copy and paste.

    The report stated that with interest, capital improvements, general operating costs, the State’s contribution will ultimately be $1.6B. The Vikings will contribute in sales and income tax of nearly $1B, or $600mm state shortfall. Essentially, the report indicated, the Vikings would contribute an average just short of $33mm annually in tax revenue.

    If the Vikings left Minnesota, that nearly $1B in tax revenue is gone. So, is it better for the state to have a $1B shortfall with no Vikings over the next 30 years or to have a $600mm shortfall with them and a new stadium?

    But, the reality is this: As Governor Dayton alluded to, the Vikings will generate nearly $1B in tax revenue to use the stadium a minimum 3% of the time. That leave the Metropolitan Sports Commission 10,500 available days (or 97% control) to make up 2/3 the revenue of the shortfall the Vikings create with 3% usage.

    If the MSC cannot host enough events to make up the shortfall, then, that certainly cannot be blamed on the Wilfs. Period.

  29. conormacleod says: May 19, 2012 8:25 PM

    It never gets old hearing people state that Wilf isn’t contributing any money because his share will come from stadium naming right, personal seat licensing, luxury boxes, etc. In other words, the Wilf’s will be spending $500 million from their future revenues to help pay for the stadium. Ask any Accountant if spending revenue means you have spent money. I think the answer is yes.

  30. thankheavenfornumberseven says: May 19, 2012 9:46 PM

    brewdogg says:May 19, 2012 5:19 PM

    Herb Deluxe says: May 19, 2012 4:07 PM

    jluns275 says:
    May 19, 2012 3:31 PM
    Excellent!
    You’ve again proven my point.

    Thanks for being so consistently predictable like good little socialists.
    ______
    Stop throwing around the term “socialism” as if you have any idea what its definition is, because you clearly don’t.
    ——————–

    Hey!! I was going to jump on him for that one!!

    Maybe some of you should actually do a little research and find out what socialism truly is. In a pure socialist society, the concepts of money and materialistic wealth do not exist. Work is provided for everyone, and the needs and wants of all are met, regardless of the work they do. The farmhand is just as important to the community as the the lawyer is, and so they are granted an equal amount of the products of the community.

    Unfortunately, achieving pure socialism is next to impossible. There is this thing called human greed that gets in the way. Until the concepts of materialistic wealth and power derived from wealth are abolished from our society, we will continue to be subject to capitalist whims.

    So before you toss around “socialist” in regards to the wealthy, try to keep in mind that the wealthy are the ones who would lose everything under socialism.
    ____________

    Comrade Brewdogg, would you really like to work twice as much as someone else so you can take care of his family? Under true socialism, no one has any incentive to excel. That’s why socialism has failed everywhere it’s been tried and why the USA is the most prosperous country in the history of the world. Poor people in the US are better off than 90% of the other people in the world. That’s because of capitalism. It has nothing to do with greed, it’s just simple human nature to want to be rewarded for your efforts. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  31. ejmat2 says: May 19, 2012 9:53 PM

    citizenstrange says:
    May 19, 2012 6:15 PM
    ejmat2 says:
    May 19, 2012 2:28 PM
    citizenstrange says:
    May 19, 2012 1:29 PM
    The taxpayers give money to Wilf while he flies around in a private jet.
    ———————————-
    LOL at this statement. Yeah, the taxes go right to Wilf. (sarcasm off).
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It’s pretty simple who the money goes to. If the taxpayers pay $500 million that is $500 million LESS hat Wilf has to pay. Capiche? Can you follow?

    Who do YOU think they money goes to?
    Education? Veterans? Healthcare?
    ————————————-
    So let me ask you this. Wilf is putting $477M into it. Do you not believe the state would be making any money off of it? Do you really believe the stadium will only be used for the Vikings and Wilf? SMH. The more the state makes, the better for the residents. Capiche?????

  32. joshvanklomp says: May 20, 2012 12:21 AM

    “Not a Vikings fan, but the new stadium is a no-brainer if you ask me. My only question is why is it going to take so long to build? I believe i read that the Vikings are shooting for an open date in 2016? Who are they getting to build this thing…..Willie Wonkas’ oompa-loompas?”
    ______________________________________
    Here in Minnesota, we have these things called winter.

    Also, just because we have the legislation passed, doesn’t mean we’re ready to build. Stadium plans still have to be drawn, contractors need to be hired, etc.

    Groundbreaking will happen in 2013, Considering a normal MN winter, probably not until late March or April. Then, you also have to consider that much of the construction will be taking place with the Metrodome still in place. While crews are working around the exterior of the Metrodome, it will still be used for events in 2013 and possibly 2014. That also delays the process more than usual.

    Finally, you also have to consider that this is a conservative schedule, meaning it could move along quicker, but its better to plan for worst-case scenario because of weather and other possible delays.

  33. shinypennyinc says: May 21, 2012 4:42 PM

    Of course it’s going to take years to build it. When state money is involved they are forced to use union workers who are about 1/2 as productive as non union and twice as expensive.

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