MN senate leader to MLS: Don’t come asking us for money for your stadium

Minneapolis’s not-yet-officially-announced MLS team hasn’t yet officially announced its desire for public subsidies, either, but state senate majority leader Tom Bakk isn’t waiting around, declaring that he’ll oppose any plan to use public money for a private pro soccer stadium:

“The league ran into this problem in Miami,” Bakk said. “They gave a franchise out two years ago, and they don’t have a field to play on. So I don’t know if they’re going to make that mistake twice or if this group of owners is going to figure out how to finance a $150 million soccer stadium or not.”

That’s a line in the sand, anyway, or a shot across the bow, or one of those things. The Minnesota legislature eventually gave big piles of public money to the Vikings and Twins owners for new stadiums (or voted to allow the county to give its money without a public vote in the Twins case, anyway), but not until after decade-long public battles, so MLS could actually be in for a tough slog here. Or face the choice between playing for years in a temporary home vs. announcing a franchise and then having to de-announce it if they can’t get the subsidies they want. This shaking down the public for money thing is hard, guys!

8 comments on “MN senate leader to MLS: Don’t come asking us for money for your stadium

  1. I think Miami, Minnesota, and NYCFC will all do temporary homes until the right moment (read: gullible legislature) to fleece the public arises

  2. What the MN senate is really saying to MLS: Use our brand new Vikings stadium, even though the Vikings ownership group did not get awarded the MLS franchise, to help justify the enormous pile of public money already dished out to build this monstrosity.

  3. I don’t see why they can’t play in the new football stadium. That building will be searching desperately for events to host. The field is large enough. It was more than enough seats and parking.

    I just don’t see an issue.

  4. It really says something about the state of subsidies when the MLS, a league that can barely manage its own finances, is able to get stadium subsidies for their questionable on field product. The player’s union of MLS recently got a new CBA, and it barely gives a bump up to players. When some of your players are receiving public assistance, its bad.

  5. @ MikeM

    MLS no longer allows their clubs to play in NFL stadiums unless the MLS club is owned by the local NFL owner. Kraft owns Revs and Pats, Allen owns the Sounders and Seahawks, and Blank owns Atlanta FC and the Falcons.

  6. @MikeM I was also reading somewhere that MLS wants their stadiums to be open air. The other NFL stadiums fit that criteria.

  7. I don’t give a lot of weight to anything said by legislative leaders or politicians about potential subsidies for an MLS Stadium in Minneapolis. If you look back at the history of both the Twins and Vikings stadiums, numerous political leaders said there is “no appetite for public funding” or that they could “not envision public funding for a stadium,” etc. only to turn around to be the same politicians who voted in support of these egregious deals. So, what Bakk is really saying “no public funding for now.” In fact the governor didn’t say he opposed funding the MLS stadium, only that without the political support right now, they should look for “private” financing. So just give it time. Once the potential heavyweight owners start throwing money around, we’ll hear the same arguments about how great pro soccer will be in Minneapolis and geez, a new stadium is only $150 million and we can have all sorts of high school and college games there as well–the same b.s. argument that was used to justify the Saints new “palace” in St. Paul that will be a huge boon for the Saints and bupkes for the city.

  8. All statements by politicians have expiration dates. Those that expire fastest are the ones that include the words “No new taxes” or “No more subsidies.”