There was talk that the Minnesota Vikings were going to move. The Metrodome is old and not built to take advantage of the revenue streams available in today’s market. Further, the dome collapsed recently and is showing it’s age.
Given the popularity of the team in Minnesota, the state legislature, run by republicans at the time, along with the governor, a democrat, passed legislation that created a publicly assisted stadium to be built.
At them time I was conflicted. I hate it that private business is able to successfully lobby the government to get taxpayers to build them infrastructure while keeping all the profits. But given all the money going the other way, I felt a guilty and legitimate pleasure on being on the receiving end of the public dole. I don’t like it but I do get to keep my team.
Gov. Mark Dayton wrote a stern letter Tuesday to the owners of the Minnesota Vikings threatening to undo the stadium deal if they pass on the cost of building the $975 million project to the fans.
“The project’s strong support came from many regular Minnesotans, not just rich Minnesotans, because they believed the Vikings are also their team,” Dayton wrote. “If a new stadium were to betray that trust, it would be better that it not be built.”
Dayton sent the letter to Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf.
I refuse to be shocked and outraged over the fact that the governor feels the Vikings ownership is going to increase their wealth as a result of the Viking’s stadium being built with taxpayer money. But the governor continues to prosecute the issue:
“I strongly oppose shifting any part of the team’s responsibility for those costs onto Minnesota Vikings fans,” Dayton wrote in his letter to the Wilfs. “This Private Contribution is your responsibility. Not theirs. I said this new stadium would be a ‘People’s Stadium,’ not a ‘Rich People’s Stadium.’ I meant it then, and I mean it now.”
The stadium legislation gives the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is working with the team to oversee development of the project, the right to own and sell the seat licenses, although the revenue then goes to the Vikings construction costs. “Reportedly the purpose for this arrangement is to shield revenue from taxes,” Dayton wrote in the letter dated Nov. 13. “If true, I deplore it.”
He added that since it is the Authority which will make the decision on whether to sell the licenses, “I will urge its Board not to proceed.”
I don’t know what kind of tool thought otherwise; of COURSE building stadiums for sports teams is being done for the rich at the expense of the non-rich.