Holler: Stadium was good business all along

Even politicians that sometimes drove a hard, confusing bargain have to admit that a new stadium is making good business sense.

With the political winds blowing in the right direction this week, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton hooked up with a long-time close, personal friend to discuss the state’s view of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

The stadium issue has always been divisive, but Dayton told Minneapolis columnist Sid Hartman that the state getting in on the money train that the NFL and a new stadium tend to bring with them was a wise move.

The state kicked in $348 million for the stadium project and the City of Minneapolis tossed in another $150 million – numbers that continue to be dwarfed by the contributions from the Vikings to assure that the stadium will be a showpiece to make the vast majority of NFL owners envious.

As a result, the stadium has been able to land a Super Bowl and an NCAA Final Four before the building is even completed. But in the twisted circus that is state politics, Dayton is admitting that the revenue generated by a state-of-the-art facility and its ability to draw thousands of out-of-towners into Minneapolis is going to be a boon for those entities that collected taxes on people who plunk down cash while in Minnesota.

“They closed some of the corporate tax loopholes and the money is coming in,” Dayton said. “The stadium is fully funded, on schedule, on budget. It is going to be phenomenal. I’m sure excited about that. We have the Super Bowl. We have the Final Four. They’ve applied for the college football national championship game and you look at all the economic development going on all around that stadium – over $1 billion in private development, which never happened when it was the Metrodome. People are going to see that it’s going to have a great big payoff for Minneapolis and for the state.”

The Rolling Stones Steel wheelchairs tour could bring in millions in ancillary revenue – as well as any other currently hot band that can do business on a high-volume scale. Wrestlemania will fill hotels in outlying counties. Minnesota high school athletes will have a memory that will last a lifetime – even politicians can’t put a price tag on that, but the rest of us can.

It may seem unseemly to use the phrase, “We told you so.” But, when it fits, there is a certain sense of schadenfreude in invoking that phrase.

As fickle as he may be given that he’s talking tough (for a change) because he’s not going to run for governor again, Dayton has seen the light on the monetary benefit of having an NFL team with deep pockets willing to contribute more than the public money to make sure we have a sports palace in Minnesota.

Who knew?

A bunch of us.

Being late to the party isn’t the worst thing. You just need to catch up to those of us that knew it was going to be a good party and that missing it would be regrettable.

Ask fans in Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis their thoughts on shovel-ready stadiums in Los Angeles. Vikings fans don’t have to worry about it and, from the sounds of things, it was good for business for the Vikings to stay in Minnesota.


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