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May 21, 2006

Minnesota okays Twins stadium funds

After 11 years of impatiently waiting, Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad got his new stadium not with a bang but with a pre-dawn whimper: The Minnesota state senate voted just before 5 am by 34-32 margin to approve the Hennepin County sales tax it had rejected last month, including the provision exempting the Twins from a voter referendum on the sales tax hike. The state house had previously approved the stadium bill late last night, meaning once it's signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the Twins will have their new stadium, and about $387 million in taxpayer funds to help build it.

"For all of our fans who have stayed with us, through all of the ups and downs of this debate, we are finally going to build a ballpark," Twins Sports president Jerry Bell said in a statement. "We're again going to have baseball outdoors, on grass, the way the game was meant to be played." Of the 34-vote majority that approved the bill in the senate, he added: "Kirby Puckett's number. How appropriate is that?" (Presumably Bell didn't mean that for Minnesotans, the stadium bill is like being strangled by an electrical cord.)

Citizens for a Stadium Tax Referendum immediately called on Gov. Pawlenty to veto the bill, noting his campaign pledges to "oppose and veto any all efforts to increase taxes" and to specifically oppose public funding for pro sports facilities. Don't everybody hold your breath at once.


This morning the local newspaper reported the naming rights for the new Twins stadium will be worth approximately $5 million per year. A thirty year agreement would mean a cool $150 million. Carl "The Crybaby" Pohlad will be making money even before he starts raking in more than $40 million in incremental stadium revenue from his new digs. After all the lobbyists go home and the newspapers actually have to work for stories, Minnesotans will be outraged by this pork-filled deal. Let's hope the truth comes out before the November elections.

Posted by Jim on May 22, 2006 01:59 PM

You can't actually pay off a $135 million expense (what Pohlad is looking at putting in) with $5 million a year in naming-rights money - you'd need more like $10 million a year to do that. So Pohlad will have to dip slightly into his incremental stadium revenues to pay off stadium debt. Still, $35 million a year isn't bad as windfall profits go.

Posted by Neil on May 22, 2006 02:21 PM

Any bets when St. Peter, Bell and the Pohlad family come hat in hand begging for a roof?

Posted by Mark on May 22, 2006 05:42 PM

Sooner than later they will ask for a retractable roof.

Posted by Daniel on May 22, 2006 07:13 PM

No they won't. The stadium as proposed is not "roof ready". A retractable roof cannot be built on it. They wanted a retractable, but that added $150MM+ onto the price tag.

Posted by Andy - Richfield, MN on May 22, 2006 08:40 PM

Isn't there some way locals can sue to stop this? I feel for you guys. At least we're required to have votes on these things in California.

What is the public sentiment on this? Overwhelming joy, indifference, or anger?

Posted by MikeM on May 23, 2006 11:59 AM

We Won!! Baseball the way it should be...outdoors. I live in Hennepin county and am more than happy to help pay for it!
Go Twins

Posted by Andrew on May 23, 2006 04:43 PM

Brace yourself for rain outs Twins Fans!

Posted by Daniel on May 24, 2006 05:39 PM

Public sentiment is fairly positive, I think, although it's hard to tell through the major media. Relief might be more appropriate. There really isn't much of an opposition to hype anymore since it's pretty much a done deal.

I *hate* the "baseball the way it should be" and "the way it was meant to be played" crap. I think the beauty of the sport is that it doesn't require a $500 million facility. I played for years on a makeshift field on a farm, listening to Twins games on the radio. That's what got me hooked, not a state-of-the-art facility with seat warmers and wide concourses. I've taken children to new ML ballparks and they couldn't care less. Let's not kid ourselves: I'm glad the Twins' future is secure from threats and blackmail for awhile, but this stadium isn't for the benefit of the fans, it's one billion-dollar entertainment industry trying to get their piece of the pie.

Posted by spycake on May 24, 2006 09:31 PM

Original Post
"Isn't there some way locals can sue to stop this? I feel for you guys. At least we're required to have votes on these things in California.

What is the public sentiment on this? Overwhelming joy, indifference, or anger?"
Posted by: MikeM on May 23, 2006 11:59 AM

We are required to have a vote too. It is clear that if you have enough clout and money you get special treatement in our political process.

As far as public sentiment: The word on my street is INCREDIBLE outrage and anger. Out of 100 hundred people that I have talked to only 1 is happy. And he has sports fanatic tunnel vision. I plan to work very hard this year to make sure State Senator Linda Higgins will NOT get re-elected.

Posted by Rebecca on May 25, 2006 02:41 PM

You guys are crazy! 3 cents on 20 bucks, or else we lose not only the team, but the business that other teams bring into the area, concession workers who are out of a job for 5 months; hotels, bars, and resturants in the downtown area trying to make up for not team from April through August(ask the business owners in St, Paul what life was like without hockey), and lets not forget about the payroll taxes collected on roughly 60 million dollars (likely to go up now taht the future of the team is secure). So Pohlad got his play pen, and kept the Twins in Minnie. This could have been avoided if Griffith move us into a football stadium in the first place anyway. So lets quit the crying and the whining and accept the fact that maybe let the long term effects of this controversial decision speak for themselves!

Posted by dtm1023 on May 25, 2006 10:27 PM

Amazingly, when people aren't going to baseball games, they don't go into a state of hibernation. I haven't spoken to business owners in St. Paul about the hockey lockout, but during the 1994 baseball strike, video-store rentals were through the roof.

As for the Twins moving, I would hope that ten years of Pohlad crying wolf - remember the "We will move to North Carolina" promise - would have taught people something. As by far the largest available market, Minneapolis had all the leverage to demand that Pohlad pay a larger share of the cost, or at the very least pay rent, but instead they punted.

Posted by Neil on May 26, 2006 10:40 AM

I'm glad we got a new stadium! Watching the Twins in a football stadium is not the right venue. We can finally join the major leagues. How many detractors of the .03/$20 tax would even pick up a quarter if it was on the street? A dime? A nickel? Think about that.

Posted by Mark on May 30, 2006 02:48 PM

Am I The only one who can see how ridicules the

Giants-Jets Stadium situation is ? They are

Spending over $1Billion for a World-Class State

of the Art / Luxery Stadium. The problem is They

have declined the retractable roof. The stadium

will host 16 home games and maybe a couple of

college football games and that's it !!! The

stadium will be used for less than 25 percent of

the year and $1billion is a ridicules price to

pay for a world class stadium that's only going

to be used on such a limited bases. At least if

it had the roof, it will bring in more concerts,

conventions as well as the big events and put

this stadium in a position where it can be used

for a little more than half the year. Is that not

what building a stadium is all about ? - Making

the most out of it ? If The team owners were

smart - They would at least make sure that the

Stadium is built so that the retractable roof

can be added to it at any time. That way - it

will ensure that there won't be any real regrets.

Posted by Kane on May 30, 2006 05:17 PM

I wouldn't worry about the new stadium in the
Meadowlands if I were you. The Giants & Jets
Owners have agreed that if there is no roof, The
Stadium will still be designed to be roof-ready
so that one can be added later on. They know what
they're doing and they have left nothing to chance.

Posted by Lena on May 30, 2006 11:42 PM

I believe that the Minnesota Twins deserve a new stadium. they've been in the metrodome for to long. I think the state of Minnesota is gona get more money and more tourim. the fans are gonna love it when the new stadium comes in 2010. I bet you that the Twins games for the first twoweeks of the season will be sold out mabey even a month.

Thank you


Posted by Tyler on January 28, 2007 02:02 AM

As I am a baseball lover, I try to watch games whenever I have time. But, for me, and without doubt for thousands of other fans all over the world, I love the Minnesota Twins and I do my best to attend their games though we notice that Twins tickets got a little pricy and hard to be found especially when we talk about some hot games. The Minnesota Twins tickets are a little pricy but this should not prevent us from fallowing our favourite team and support it, and this is what means to be a good fan.

Posted by Jessy on July 14, 2008 06:42 AM

NO. WAY In HELL should the VIqueens get a new stadium unless ziggy pays 100%. They were the ones who wanted the dome in the first place

Posted by Eric Peltz on August 17, 2008 12:53 AM

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