Vikings officials, others debate whether to use public funding to build new Vikings stadium

  • Article by: TARA BANNOW , Associated Press
  • Updated: March 31, 2011 - 7:57 AM
hide

This artist's rendering provided by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission shows the design plan for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

Photo: Metropolitan Sports Facilities , Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

A Minnesota Vikings official stressed the various ways in which the team gives back to the state as he debated other experts Wednesday about whether public funding should be used to build a new stadium for the NFL team.

Jeff Anderson, the Vikings' assistant director of public affairs, said the team provides revenue, jobs and public service during the debate at the University of Minnesota. The team wants taxpayers to help pay for a new stadium to replace the 29-year-old Metrodome, which Vikings executives say is not profitable enough compared to other NFL facilities.

However, Art Rolnick, former Minneapolis Federal Reserve research director, rejected Anderson's assertions that the Vikings create more jobs, participate in more civic engagement and generate more tax revenue. He said the team is no different in those respects than other successful Minnesota companies, such as General Mills or 3M, and should be treated as such.

"If you can't fund your business, if you can't get your customers to pay the price for your services, you go out of business," Rolnick said.

None of the speakers disagreed with the assessment that the Metrodome needs to be replaced. The question was who should pay for it even as the state faces an estimated $5 billion budget deficit.

The Vikings have sought a state financing package to help pay for construction of a new NFL arena for years. The team's lease at the Metrodome ends after the 2011 football season, and team officials say the Vikings won't keep playing there after that.

Anderson said the Metrodome generated $340 million in tax revenue since it opened and the Vikings were responsible for $186 million of that. Although he didn't present a specific funding plan, he said the project wouldn't use any general fund money and would lean on partnerships between the government and the private sector.

"Never once will you hear the Vikings say that we're the No. 1 priority and we should be dealt with over education or health care ... but we do believe it's an important issue and we believe now is the time to resolve it," Anderson said.

Rolnick called for a public referendum on the issue. He stressed other high-priority needs in the state, such as education, at-risk families and aging infrastructure.

Rolnick also said there's an inherent conflict of interest in politicians raising taxes to fund a stadium, because it'll undoubtedly boost their chances of re-election, the whole model undermines government.

Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, cited a Star Tribune poll that found 75 percent of Minnesota residents don't support using taxpayer money. He said a taxpayer subsidy on every seat in a 64,000-seat stadium would amount to $45 per seat per game, including preseason games, for the next 30 years.

Like Rolnick, Marty said the Vikings should be treated like any other corporation.

"There are some things (government) shouldn't be involved in, and I'd argue that subsidies to private businesses is something we shouldn't be involved in," Marty said.

Cory Merrifield, the founder of savethevikes.org, a website dedicated to finding a replacement for the Metrodome, presented a funding plan for the stadium: one-third from the Vikings, one-third racino money, one-third user-based fan fees. The racino proposal, a perennial issue at the Legislature, would set up gambling machines at horse racetracks that would generate money for the state.

Several Republican state lawmakers who have been working on stadium legislation have repeatedly delayed the introduction of a stadium bill — first saying it would be ready in January, then February, then March. Even supporters of a new stadium have said it will be a tough political sell in a year when lawmakers are deeply cutting state budgets.

___

Associated Press writer Pat Condon contributed to this report.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - D. Hutchison 12:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Washington - G. Gonzalez 3:05 PM
Cincinnati - J. Cueto
St. Louis - S. Miller 3:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
Baltimore - B. Norris 3:10 PM
Seattle - C. Young
Arizona - J. Collmenter 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - C. Lee
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - O. Despaigne 6:10 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Miami - T. Koehler 6:10 PM
Houston - J. Cosart
Boston - J. Lackey 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 6:10 PM
Minnesota - L. Darnell
Cleveland - Z. McAllister 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Oakland - S. Gray 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:10 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw 8:05 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Detroit - J. Verlander 8:05 PM
LA Angels - M. Shoemaker
Sporting Kansas City 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
New England
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 23 FINAL
Brt Columbia 6
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Los Angeles 3:00 PM
Seattle
Indiana 7:00 PM
San Antonio
New York 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close