When gawking at the opulence of the Vikings’ new U.S. Bank Stadium, a conversation between two frugal and modest Minnesotans might go something like this:
Minnesotan 1: “Wow, look at it. The scoreboards are huuuuge. It’s so nice.”
Minnesotan 2: “I’ve never seen anything like it. It really is nice.”
Minnesotan 1: “Of course it better be nice. They spent a billion dollars on it.”
Minnesotan 2: “Can you even imagine?”
The actual price tag was $1.1 billion, but that doesn’t buy what it used to. I say this only slightly tongue-in-cheek, since my mouth is still agape at the projected cost of the new stadium and related complex for the Rams and Chargers being built out in Los Angeles: $5 billion.
That is not a misprint. At least that’s according to ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, who reported this week that NFL owners down at their meetings in Orlando were slated to “vote to increase the debt limit for the Rams new stadium, which according to internal league documents is now projected to cost an amazing $4.963 billion.”
That was approved, but the figure also includes “the neighboring 6,000-seat performance venue, the 200,000 square feet of office space for NFL Media, the parking lots surrounding the stadium, and the cost of the entire 300-acre parcel,” per the Los Angeles Times.
The stadium itself, though, is creeping toward $3 billion, the Times reported.
Anyone who has ever built or even remodeled a home knows how this goes. You start out with a budget, but then you get top-end flooring, nice window treatments and finish off the basement.
Next thing you know, it’s $5 billion.
Sure, this is California near the coast — where you can’t build in one direction because of the pesky ocean and land is both scarce and valuable — but this is not just the cost of doing business or the price of real estate at play.
The two questions I have: 1) At what point is enough going to be enough? 2) At what point will we consider the $1.1 billion Vikings stadium a bargain?