Gov. Mark Dayton called the Vikings stadium debate at the Capitol "a fiasco" today. It's hard to argue the point when you track the history of the stadium effort and who's in favor of what and when.
The latest wrinkle is the notion that a new stadium could be built that could, if and when money allows, get a roof later.
"We have a consultant who has worked on a number of stadiums around the country, and the financing of them," Dayton said. "And he's not aware of any stadium that was 'roof ready' that ever had a roof added to it. Why wouldn't you do it all in one piece and get it right? When will the time come to get the public support, political support, legislative support to put another $100 million, $120 million into putting a roof on? And until that happens, you have a stadium sitting empty for 355 days a year."
Presumably, Dayton is speaking on behalf of the Vikings, who have been relatively calm on the question, other than to say they don't support the idea.
Mike Ozanian of Forbes, says the Vikes are likely hedging their bets.
Seems to me the Vikings are merely hedging their bet.They understandably prefer Dayton's $975 million stadium plan but are concerned it may not get enough votes to pass given it is unpopular with taxpayers and would be subsidized by the public to the tune of $77 per ticket, per game, for thirty years. That plan includes $427 million from the team, $150 million from the city of Minneapolis and $398 million from the state, paid through an expansion of charitable gambling.
So they need backup plan endorsed by republicans, who control both chambers of Minnesota's legislature, that would significantly shrink the state's contribution and finance it with state general bonds rather than tax money from an expansion of legal gambling. According to the StarTibune, under the new proposal about $200 million in stadium infrastructure costs would get lumped in with a larger state bonding bill that would pay for repair of roads, bridges and buildings, including restoration of the Capitol. Republican leaders said the details would be worked out in coming days. But this proposal calls for a roofless stadium, which would have limit the stadium's ability to host amateur sports and special events year-round.
But it's an idea the Vikings liked the last time their stadium proposal was circling the drain at the Capitol.
It was 2006 and then the deal was a proposal to locate the stadium in Anoka County. At the last minute, the Vikings announced they were ready to give up the roof.
Anoka County officials were the ones who were reluctant to build a stadium without a roof, because they wanted to use the stadium for other functions.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, on the other hand, said an outdoor stadium would give the Vikings a competitive advantage over teams from milder climates, according to MPR reporter Tom Scheck's 2006 story on the subject, when the Vikings were trying to get a stadium that cost almost half then what it would now.
Lester Bagley, the point man on the Vikings stadium push at the Capitol this year, was whistling the no-roof tune.
"Green Bay has an open-air stadium. Chicago has an open-air stadium. Buffalo has an open-air stadium. Seventy percent of the fans would be covered. There are ways to heat the floors and the seats and to provide technology to keep our fans comfortable," he said at the time.
Meanwhile, one prominent Vikings stadium proponent is branching out. Cory Merrifield, who runs the Save the Vikings website, has an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution urging Georgia to build a new stadium for the Falcons.
Nowhere in our Constitution is it written that we are entitled to an NFL team. I won't try to justify the economics of the NFL. They are predatory and absurd. It's a limited market and we have to pay for a team if we want one. But what you can do is strike a balance: a public-private partnership in which Atlanta retains its status as one of the top regions in the U.S. while securing its NFL franchise for another generation.
"subsidized by the public to the tune of $77 per ticket, per game, for thirty years"
Why not just raise ticket prices $77 each. They are already out of the reasch of all but the well to do. Problem Solved! You're welcome!
Everyone forgets that part of the Anoka County plan was written into the Twins bill:
Sec. 20. VIKINGS STADIUM PROPOSAL.
Representatives of Anoka County and the Minnesota Vikings shall negotiate an
agreement for the development and financing of a stadium that meets the programmatic
requirements of the National Football League, and that has a retractable roof, to be located
in the city of Blaine. A report on the agreement must be presented to the legislature by
January 15, 2007.
Sec. 21. ANOKA COUNTY SALES AND USE TAX AUTHORIZATION.
Subdivision 1. Authorization. To provide local government revenue to finance a
football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, located in the city of Blaine, Anoka County
may impose a general sales and use tax on sales subject to taxation under Minnesota
Statutes, chapter 297A, within its jurisdiction of not more than 0.75 percent. The tax
imposed under this section must terminate 30 days after the county board determines that
sufficient revenues have been received from the tax and other sources to retire or redeem
the bonds issued to pay for the stadium. The tax may be imposed notwithstanding the
provisions of Minnesota Statutes, section 477A.016. The requirements of Minnesota
Statutes, section 297A.99, subdivisions 2 and 3, do not apply to the tax imposed under
Subd. 2. Contingency. The tax under this section may be imposed by Anoka
County only after the legislature at the 2007 or later legislative session has enacted a law
that provides for the development and financing of a stadium for the Minnesota Vikings in
the city of Blaine that includes the tax as part of the financing plan.
Subd. 3. Exemption from local approval requirement. This section is not subject
to the local approval requirement under Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021.
Oh, that came out looking awful. Here's the link instead: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?id=257&year=2006&type=0
An open-air/roofless stadium might also be a deterrent for those warmer climate fans to travel to Minnesota. Who would want to spend money to watch the Arizona Cardinals get beat up in 20 degree weather? That would be lost revenue and we all know Zygi wouldn't want that.
Isn't NewsCut supposed to be about giving us news we want to read about, think about in a new way, and derive some meaning from?
I think we could all do with one less stadium story.
I think the importance is not in the reporting of the no-roof option, but in the juxtaposition of yesterday's responses to the proposal against the same people's responses a few years ago.
Bob is our institutional memory, willing to call people out when they go against what they said before.
People are allowed to change their mind, but then we're allowed to ask for the reasons why their decisions changed, and what is different now vs. then.
Seems ridiculous to weather-proof a stadium (provide for drainage, waterproof outlets, heated field, etc). only to throw a roof over it later. I would imagine you end up paying more!
I, for one, am sick and tired of hearing about the stadium, couldn't care less about the Vikings staying or going, and disapprove of my taxes subsidizing the team.
//Isn't NewsCut supposed to be about giving us news we want to read about, think about in a new way, and derive some meaning from?
Well, let's see now. I usually write about 7 different posts a day, and the first one usually has about 10 items in it. That's 17 items.
If you have a place where you go 17 for 17 day in and day out, you not waste your time with me.
Tyler, you are so right. It's kinda like proposing fishing opener a week early because of the nice weather and forgetting about all the other things that go along with it--staffing patterns, reservations, travel plans.
And honestly that was more a grumble towards ALL the News on the stadium. NewsCut is where I go to get real news, and a breather from the broken record conversations.
So, true, NewsCut is the only place I can go for 17 things I care about a day.
Today, 16 ;)
An open air stadium has been the only reasonable option all along. A closed stadium would create zero value, as the events it could host wouldn't even cover the cost. The tax take on one superbowl and a pair of final fours wouldn't approach 150-200 million dollars. The rest of the events a stadium could host could just as easily be held at the convention center, the Target Center, or the Xcel. It's not like the Twin Cities are sorely in need of more enclosed event space. Save money and build it open air.
I will come to Newscut's defense here. I think Bob is one of the few journalists who really have bothered to "get" vikings fans. And he does.
And guess what! Yes there are Vikings fans who are MPR/NPR fans! Shocking isn't it!
So I appreciate Newscut adding to the information conversation.