I am writing in response to the article on city of Minneapolis costs associated with hosting the All-Star Game, including the waiver of Convention Center rent for FanFest and the cost for additional law enforcement during game week (“All-Star FanFest cost city $258K,” July 23).
As City Council President Barbara Johnson referenced, the Convention Center is supported primarily through local taxes, including the city’s general sales tax, lodging tax, and downtown restaurant and liquor taxes. Downtown hotels and bars were certainly busier than normal during All-Star Week, but rather than speculate on the broader economic impact, I will focus on what happened within the ballpark footprint and how this activity improved the city’s bottom line.
Target Field hosted more than 121,000 fans for All-Star events over a three-day period. Local taxes generated at the ballpark and paid to the city for the tickets and concessions will exceed $845,000. This is new city tax revenue that would not exist if the All-Star Game had not come to Minneapolis.
The largest component of this payment to Minneapolis is for the city’s 3 percent entertainment tax. The entertainment tax was established in 1969 as a revenue source for the city’s general fund to offset additional costs associated with citywide entertainment activities. This tax did not apply to tickets sold at the Metrodome, but applies to all tickets sold at Target Field. From 2010 through 2013, events at Target Field generated more than $17 million in city entertainment taxes. The costs for city services to support ballpark events have not only been covered, the existence of the facility has been a boon to Minneapolis finances, as the city has no responsibility for ballpark debt or its ongoing operations. In the case of the city-owned Target Center, Minneapolis captures entertainment-tax revenue generated at the arena to help pay that facility’s debt service.
Lastly, it is gratifying to know that more than 114,000 fans from all over the country and area families had the chance to visit FanFest and be part of the All-Star Week festivities. These positive experiences help market Minneapolis and the Convention Center for future business.
Daniel R. Kenney is executive director of the Minnesota Ballpark Authority.