My former colleague, Mike Meyers, had an entertaining commentary in our pages Sunday arguing against public subsidies for a new Vikings stadium. This bill is making its way through the legislature even as NFL players and owners fight in court, right here in St. Paul, and the two issues are related, if even indirectly. One of the best takes on the labor war comes from James Surowiecki, the Financial Page columnist for the New Yorker:
With the possible exception of the members of OPEC, N.F.L. owners have pretty much the coziest business arrangement imaginable: they’re effectively members of a cartel—able to limit competition, enhance bargaining power, and hold down costs. Instead of competing against each other for TV money, the owners share it, reducing risk and guaranteeing steady revenue regardless of how well they run their teams. The result of all this was nicely summed up by Richard Walden, head of sports finance at JPMorgan Chase, who said, “I’ve never seen an N.F.L. team lose money.”
New York Magazine, meanwhile, features a collection of stories about the state of Wall Street more than two years after the panic and bailouts. Takeaway: nothing has really changed. But the most fascinating story for Minnesota readers is the profile of Lynn Tilton, whose Patriarch Partners was a failed bidder for the assets of bankrupt Polaroid Corp.
And sticking with finance, Fortune has an exit interview with Neil Barofsky, special investigator for the TARP program.