A $50 million state funding request by Minnesota Sports and Events (MNSE) is alive at the Legislature.
MNSE CEO Wendy Blackshaw told the House Economic Development Finance and Policy on Wednesday that without state funding, MNSE will have to stop bidding on events like Final Fours and Olympic trials. Such events shine "a global light and bring millions of tourism and hospitality dollars" to Minnesota, she said.
Rep. Kaohly Vang Her, DFL-St. Paul, and Blackshaw said the game has changed. Previously, Minnesota relied on corporate sponsorships after winning a bid; now, states must have funding in the bank when they bid on an event.
MNSE is bidding on the 2024 U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials, where Minnesotan Suni Lee is expected to compete.
Her said she considers the funding request a jobs and economic development bill. She amended it in committee to require MNSE to report to the state on how the money is spent and the benefits accrued.
Rep. Jon Koznick, R-Lakeville, said he was a bit concerned about the price tag, but he liked the accountability.
"This is the rare bill where we will be able to measure the return on investment," he said.
The proposal is one of many the panel will consider including in a bigger bill later in the session.