MinnPost ran a good article last week on Minnesota United owner Bill McGuire and how he’s all sad that his fellow Minnesota sports team owners got subsidies and he’s striking out. But I’d rather focus on one paragraph in the article:
McGuire isn’t exactly impoverished. Neither are the other members of the group he pulled together to buy the franchise and build a stadium just west of Target Field. The former CEO of UnitedHealth, who bought the team to keep the franchise from folding, described his ownership group as committed to making big league soccer work in the Twin Cities. But he has said the tax breaks are needed to have the franchise reach an operating break-even point.
This is seriously McGuire’s argument: You can’t make me pay taxes, then I’d lose money on this deal. What, you might ask, are the costs that would make paying taxes prohibitive? Well, he’d have to pay for building a stadium and hiring players and all the usual stuff, and, let’s see, anything else?
The team will pay Major League Soccer a $100 million expansion fee for the franchise officially awarded to Minnesota on March 25.
That $100 million fee isn’t written in stone — it was set by MLS as what they think they can get away with demanding for a franchise. So if you believe McGuire’s claims that $48 million in future property taxes would make his team a money-loser, that’s because MLS is insisting on getting $48 million more in expansion fees than a Minnesota team can profitably afford. If McGuire would only go to commissioner Don Garber and point out that his franchise would be a money-loser at the price the league has set, and demand a break from him … but we all know that’s not going to happen, right?
Of course, Orlando City S.C. is somehow managing to afford to pay both an expansion fee and property taxes, so maybe McGuire could open his books to prove his claims? Sorry, I’m just full of crazy thoughts this morning.