Thursday, March 8, 2012

Economics of modern sports 'indefensible'; entire state should pay for stadium

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Paul Ostrow, a former, 10-year member of the Minneapolis City Council, added his (considerable) two cents to the blizzard of print and electronic commentary about the latest and greatest deal for construction of a football stadium for use by the Minnesota Vikings. His comments, posted by MinnPost, March 7, 2012, called the current proposal 'bad public policy' and 'profoundly unfair.' 

Ostrow suggested that the Council and Mayor R. T. Rybak – who he says insisted on following the city charter during debate on financing Target Field for the Minnesota Twins baseball team – should follow the charter's limitations and commit $10 million to construction. 

It has been the City of Minneapolis, Ostrow notes, that always has come through for Minnesota sports fans: Minneapolis provided the bonds for Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington 50 years ago, and paid for the Metrodome 30 years ago. Further, he said, 40% of the Hennepin County tax for Target Field comes from Minneapolis.

"The best idea to date for funding a new Vikings Stadium," Ostrow wrote, "is the proposal by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman for a two-cent surcharge on every drink in every bar in Minnesota."

On March 6, the Star Tribune reported information and acknowledgment that I have not seen before. Writer Kevin Duchschere cited comments by Governor Mark Dayton that the current stadium deal "is structured to enable the Vikings to make a net profit of $22 million to $25 million per year, which would enable them to 'be viable financially.'" 

Duchschere's article provided no details for how the construction of a new stadium would generate that kind of profit, but quoted Dayton as saying that "the economics of modern professional sports are 'pretty indefensible.'"

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