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Don’t pull Vikings stadium funding [UPDATED]

Published 4:37am Monday, August 19, 2013 Updated 6:41am Monday, August 19, 2013

It is likely Minnesota legislators who, upon hearing of the legal troubles Vikings owners Zigi and Mark Wilf face in New Jersey, may be tempted in the potential special session this summer to propose to pull back the state’s funding piece for a new Vikings stadium.

To those legislators, please avoid such notions, if you can help it.

The Legislature approved a $498 million funding piece paid for by the state of Minnesota and city of Minneapolis for the $975 million stadium. Legislators certainly did not vote for it based on the likeability of the Wilfs. It was clear that, without a new stadium, the owners ultimately would move the team.

The Wilfs certainly are not above criticism if they are found guilty of wrongdoing in New Jersey. But the bottom line is, no matter what legal troubles the Wilfs are in, it does not alter the fact that the new Vikings stadium is the only way to keep the team in Minnesota.

With a Forbes’ estimated value of more than $1 billion, the Wilfs clearly could find a buyer should their financial troubles become too deep. It is also likely the National Football League would guarantee the Wilfs’ $477 million share.

It is clear Minnesotans want the Vikings to stay here. While Legislators can’t ignore the Wilfs’ situation, they shouldn’t quickly react to it either by pulling state funding.

  • BWD

    Who ever wrote this tripe for the FFDJ should be fired. You promote your Socialist Liberal Journalism by urging that the RICH should pay their fair share while urging that our hard earned TAX Dollars be given to the RICH to pay for their NEW STADIUM. A Political Thinker You are not & You don’t know what you are writing about.

  • Walt Henry

    Here come those darn facts again–Taxes on game tickets, team merchandize, sales tax on concessions, income taxes on Viking players, visiting players and owners and employees of the Vikings totaled $21.5 million dollars in 2010. If taxes are not increased and the lease is for 30 years, it is safe to multiply $21.5 million by 30 and reach the tax contribution to the state due to the building of a new stadium. To whatever extent that number exceeds the Minnesota taxpayers share of the cost of building the new stadium that profit should be called what it is–profit on an investment.
    Now remember folks if the Vikings moved the state would collect zero dollars.

  • Jake Krohn

    Ok, I’ll bite:

    $21.5m x 30 years = $645m in 30 years

    $645m – $498m = $147m net

    $147m / 30 = $4.9m/year

    $4.9 million per year isn’t chump change, but what’s the opportunity cost for doing something different with that money/not issuing bonds/that parcel of land in downtown Minneapolis? Heck, putting $500 million in a 30-year treasury will give a better return than the Vikings will — approximately $20m/year.

    All this for 12 home games a year at most? One marvels at the sway professional sports has over our culture.

    • Walt Henry

      There wouldn’t be that money to invest if it weren’t for the taxes paid by the Vikings and on goods and services on those game days. That’s the point. It is not as if we would have the opportunity to invest in something else and get that return for we would not have the tax dollars the stadium generates.
      I’ve watched a fair amount of high school football at the current dome. I’ve come close to being hit by rollerbladers using the concourses of the stadium for an exercise venue. I’ve heard the roar of the monster truck pulls (another source of tax revenue but one which could continue without a new stadium so is not part of the conversation.)
      This was a very wet spring. The high schools and colleges were having a hard time getting their fields dry enough to play on. A quick call to the dome managers and many of the teams were able to get a few games in at the current dome.
      Could the land be used for something else? Probably. Just because I don’t know what that might be doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be some possible use. But would that other use net the taxpayer $4.9m/year? Many cities use their stadiums as a destination anchor to attract other businesses and consumers to an area. Our current dome helped to create one bar/restaurant so far as I know. Private investment did not follow the construction of the dome. We got the Mall of America instead; its anchor, an indoor amusement park. It is not the best location for consumer traffic but then again the “Dome” was built on the cheap.
      And Jake, I don’t like the idea one city can bid against another city for a sports team or any business for that matter. I would like to see something become a “community assist” at some point in time and not be allowed to move without fully repaying community in which it began for they have made, as we have made, a significant investment in the original success of that business. Lot’s of people object to companies moving their facilities over seas but some how think it’s “normal” for one city or state to enrich the pockets of a business owner at the expense of another. That state of Texas grows their economy this way just as China grows theirs.

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