Why is the Vikings stadium plan bad? Let’s count the ways

Our old pal Tom Goldstein (former publisher of the late, great Elysian Fields Quarterly) has a long article in this week’s Minneapolis City Pages outlining all the ways in which the Vikings stadium plan is godawful. Among them:

  • The Vikings haven’t explained why they need a billion-dollar roofed stadium when teams like the New England Patriots ($340 million) and Pittsburgh Steelers ($281 million) have thrived with cheaper buildings. And the Pats’ Gillette Stadium was mostly privately funded, something the Vikings could do as well if they just cut their price tag.
  • While the city and state would be expected to put in $600 to $650 million toward a stadium with no certain payoff, the Vikings’ entire $400 million share would be supplied by new stadium revenues: personal seat licenses, naming rights, parking revenue (though this appears to refer specifically to the now-defunct Arden Hills plan), and an NFL G-4 loan.
  • As a job creator, the stadium would be a dud, as “each full-time equivalent job would cost a staggering $475,000 to create — five times the much-criticized $93,000 per job cost of President Obama’s stimulus plan.”
  • There’s no reason to worry that the team will move to Los Angeles without a new stadium, as any revenue offered by AEG would pale in comparison to what the Vikings owners would have to give up in such a deal.

Meanwhile, the stadium bill faces its first hearings in the state senate today, with the state house expected to follow suit on Friday. Expect lots of angry church bingo operators to turn out.

5 comments on “Why is the Vikings stadium plan bad? Let’s count the ways

  1. Neil, off-topic…

    This NY Times editorial about Goldman Sachs is absolutely blowing up today. I love it.


  2. Neil:

    Thanks for the article mention. Unfortunately, trying to get legislators to debate the cost of the stadium rather than how to pay for it is an extremely uphill battle. Although the bill in the Senate committee today was laid over for possible further action, the lion’s share of the discussion was spent on the how and little about the why or the who. The Vikings and the city of Mpls both brought forward the usual exaggerations, leaving opponents like myself about 3 minutes time to try to debunk the laundry list of mistruths. Of course, this is generally how the Twins stadium campaign worked as well, and I’m sure opponents all across the country have faced similar frustrations in their own stadium battles. To the chair’s credit, opponents were allowed to testify, though there was only time for three of us, two of whom are simply opposed to the gambling aspect of the bill, not the overall cost. The only positive for now is that an amendment was added requiring a 40-year lease for the Vikings, something the NFL will surely nix because, after all, this is about what is in the best interest of the league, not the citizens. And we can’t build in guaranteed obsolescence if we require the team to be there for 40 or 50 years. Stay tuned.

  3. In the print edition of “City Pages”, Mr. Goldstein’s article appears opposite a full-page ad for the “Real Pirates” exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

  4. Ha! You think a modern stadium with 100+ luxury boxes and 3,000+ club seats can be built for under $500 million?

    You must be drea– err…


  5. I am just an average Minnesota citizen. When is my opinion on the Vikings stadium going to count?
    I DO NOT want their new stadium in Minneapolis!
    I am sick and tired of the same old politics that control our state and our growth.
    I am all for a new stadium at the old munitions plant. I would vote to support a State/Indian casino at the site to support this venture. Get out Minneapolis. Mr. Wilf, get tough!