A deal has been reached that will bring a new stadium to downtown Minneapolis that will house the Minnesota Vikings! Now it just has to meet the approval of elected officials at the state and city levels. I do not see this as being much of a hurdle due to the fact that Governor Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor Rybak are behind the newest deal 100%. At a price tag just under a billion dollars (975 million) there is obvious reason for concern on the effects this new field will have on the local and state economy. The main reason for the push for a new stadium is money, as is the main reason for almost anything that happens in our global ecosystem. The Minnesota Vikings big wigs, headed by Zygi Wilf, are looking to add luxury box seats/suites so they can pull in more revenue from their wealthier patrons. They will say that they are simply trying to offer a better experience for those who can afford it, but they are not fooling anyone. Some other reasons are the increasing disrepair of the Metrodome and the lack of tailgating space and other entertainment issues that contribute to the fan experience. The Vikings should pay for this entirely then, right? I mean why not, they will be reaping the benefits, they will be making the money. Let’s look at a breakdown of how this stadium will be paid for.
The Minnesota vikings will contribute roughly half to the proposed project at $427 million, the state would pay $398 million and the city would pay $150 million. The city would also have to subsidize the Vikings $6 million in annual operating expenses and $1.5 million for capital improvements. Opposition of the proposed plan tout the school systems that are financially deprived and other areas of the city that could use some sort of repair as an alternative to where the money for the stadium can be spent. These are good points, but if people would research what has happened and is happening around the country where new professional stadiums are built they would see that the money generated in the long-term from projects like this greatly outweighs the upfront cost. In very simple terms I will break it down like this, 8 weeks out of the year (10 if you include preseason and sometimes more if the Vikings make the playoffs) the city of Minneapolis is flooded with paying customers to hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, bars, clubs and other shops and establishments throughout the metro area of people from all over the state and the country. These people are contributing to the local economy through local and state taxes and general business the establishments would not regularly experience. This creates jobs, as many establishments in the area when questioned stated that they would hire far less employees and possibly go out of business if the Vikings left town. That’s something I forgot to mention earlier, without this new stadium it is likely that the Minnesota Vikings will become the (fill-in-the-blank) Vikings very soon and no longer belong to Minnesota. These players making thousands of dollars a game pay their state taxes to the state of Minnesota for every home game. That includes opposing teams, so when Aaron Rodgers plays in Minnesota once a year, the state of Minnesota is receiving his state tax contribution, same as Calvin Johnson, Brian Urlacher and anyone else who plays the Vikings in Minneapolis. The state is paying roughly 400 million upfront for the stadium. The salary floor for an NFL team will be roughly 110 million this year, if you take that number and double it to get the total for two teams playing you have 220 million. The Minnesota tax rate for people making the salaries these players make is 7.85%. 220 million at 7.85% leaves a state income tax total of roughly 17.3 million. That is total for two teams playiing a full season, dividing that in half to achieve the rate Minnesota would receive because only 10 games (including preseason) are played in Minneapolis you are left with 8.65 million; this number is only if teams have the league minimum for total salary and this number goes up every year. That number compared to 400 million seems very small, but that does not include state taxes contributed by everyone building the stadium, working in concessions, as ushers, referees, coaches, broadcasters and property taxes paid in. I do not have the wherewithal to compute these numbers so I can not give you a good estimate, but put that on top of state tax revenue received by every patron buying a ticket, purchasing a hotel room and a few meals around the area and this money will be brought back in sooner than many in the opposition-camp think. You can say the same for the city money being utilized.
Being a resident of Minneapolis I am used to construction, ever since I have lived here there has been some sort of project going on, when I moved here in the winter/spring 2008 it was TCF Bank Stadium, while this was still being constructed they started building Target Field downtown, and most recently they have been working on the light-rail line between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul. The city of Minneapolis, like most major cities, is used to construction and congestion and will fully adjust to the traffic problems that will come with this construction.
Unless the people of Minnesota do not care about having the Vikings (and from a financial and cultural standpoint, I believe they should) then this stadium proposal should be approved as soon as possible. As the weeks and months pass by the price for a new stadium creeps up and up, they need to approve this proposal and start construction as soon as possible, once they do this they can discuss where the Vikings will play when the Metrodome is bulldozed to make way for the new Vikings house.