People of Minnesota get the shaft in Vikings stadium deal
When Miller Park was voted upon, I voted against it. Yes, I love the Brewers, but I don't love corporate welfare, especially for those in a very profitable business. Well, in Minnesota, a law passed to have the public pay 1/2 of the cost of a new stadium for the football team, the Minnesota Vikings. In fact the public will pay $498 million v. $477 by the Vikings, so it is a little more than half. In fact, the Vikings will sell things like naming rights, so they don't even have to contribute the whole $477 million.
Naming rights of course could just as easily be sold by the state of Minnesota, as the team. Now, the city of Minneapolis will contribute, per person, a greater amount than the people of Minnesota as a whole. There is some logic to that, along as there will be corporate welfare. But, that they are required to contribute more was a mandate from Minnesota legislators from dozens to hundreds of miles away. I don't believe Minneapolis residents should be required to pay a higher amount into the stadium, unless approved by a referendum of their voters.
Zygi Wilf, the principle partner in the Minnesota Vikings, is worth $1.3 billion dollars. His brother Mark, worth a lot but not quite that much. So, we have billionaries given half a billion dollars by the people of Minnesota, in order to replace a stadium that dates from only 1982. Lambeau Field by the way, is 25 years older and we aren't trying to replace it here in Wisconsin. Fenway Park in Boston, is 100 years old by the way.
Now, get this, the people of Minnesota are forbidden from "any financial information" about the team during this stadium deal. Any information on the team and its' ability to build, operate and repair the stadium, is forbidden for the eyes of Minnesotans. Even if the team breaches its' agreement, fiancial information can't be released to the public. In fact, the public can't even find out how much the team made on stadium naming rights or parking, or even how much the Wilfs' put in themselves.
By the way, the average NFL team had revenues of $250 million in 2010, or a total of over $3 billion overall among all the teams. Frankly, NFL teams don't need taxpayer paid stadiums, they just want them so they can sell more luxury suites that rich fat cats can view the game in, when being wined and dined. All paid for by the average working man in Minnesota, or any other state or city where these stadiums or arenas are built. With that in mind, we must oppose a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, no matter how much we might love our team. Cities and taxpayers must make a stand against wealthy owners.
Because after all, if all cities and states tell teams (which are businesses first of course) no, what are they going to do? Take NFL teams to play in Moscow or Beijing? Of course not. These deals are moneypits for state and cities. Hotels and restaurants of course don't make that much money from new stadiums/areans, especially after the first few years when the novelty wears off. Well, the novelty of this corporate welfare should have worn off by now.