Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Contrarian Thoughts on the Stadium

Just a few thoughts on the Vikings’ stadium situation (feel free to argue with me on Twitter if you disagree):

  • Anyone wondering about why the Twins’ and Gophers’ efforts to get a stadium were successful but the Vikings’ current effort looks doomed to failure should remember a few words: It’s the economy, stupid. We're not in a recession right now, but there's still a lot of ways the current recovery could go wrong quickly (the Eurozone, slowing growth in China, the massive federal tax increases & spending cuts looming in 2013, etc).
  • If I told you that the state legislature was about to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to a corporation with billions in revenues and that those subsidies would mainly serve to further enrich the ultra-rich owner, and that the corporation had spent almost a million dollars on lobbyists, you’d probably have a hard time keeping your inner Occupy Wall Street (or Tea Party, if you’re on that side of the political spectrum) from coming out. Kind of funny how people’s views change when the rent-seeking benefits something they are interested in.
  • Stadiums are not really beneficial economically. They provide some temporary construction jobs, but they don’t increase tourism or entertainment revenue. At best, they shift entertainment spending from one area to another. And how often would the Vikings' stadium actually be in use?
  • It’s really hard to justify subsidizing the Vikings’ stadium when the last state budget debate led to a two week shutdown of the state government and when there is a billion dollar shortfall in the state education fund. There's a budget surplus now, but the state is still looking at another billion dollar shortfall in the budget for 2014.
  • The Vikings might start threatening to move to L.A. now, but the good news is that there isn’t a stadium (or really, any concrete, approved plans for a stadium) for them to move to. The better news is that they aren’t the only team that wants to move to L.A.

3 comments:

  1. Good points. hard to argue with those. I do believe that the Vikings add implicit value to the state though, intangibles that are challenging (if not impossible) to measure. also, I pay taxes to fund all kinds of other programs that I am NOT a fan of and I don't complain about those (much!), so how about a few million more on the already embarrassingly oversized pile? It's not Wilf-fare as much as it is supply and demand.

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  2. It's nice to hear something other than the constant pro-public-funding propaganda that comes from certain other Vikes blogs. As much as I want a stadium to be built, professional sports franchises are way down on my list of organizations I'd like to see publicly subsidized.

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    1. Bismuth and PP:

      I think because Viking blogs are run by Viking fans, we don't exactly take a clear-eyed view of this issue. I don't (and never have) lived in Minnesota, so it's no skin off my ass if the stadium is partially funded by taxpayer dollars or not. The only thing that sticks in my craw about this of late is all the Packer fans who think the stadium troubles indicate some lack of passion among Viking fans for the team. I won't assume that's the majority view among Cheeseheads, but what a bunch of turds.

      Pacifist Vikings is going to tackle the stadium question is his latest National Friday League. I suggest you come back and read that post when it's up later this week. I think it will generate some good online discussion. (He usually posts it on Thursdays.

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