“For a lot of Minnesotans, the Vikings bring such great joy. Certainly we want to keep them, they’re a valuable asset, but we have to do that in a way that also is respectful of the current economic crisis that we’re facing.” This statement by Gov. Tim Pawlenty offers Vikings fans a slight reassurance that the team will, in time, build a new home right here in the state of Minnesota.
In this story by Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman, Pawlenty expressed his thoughts to see movement towards building a new stadium for the Vikings before he leaves office. With regard to how the construction of this new stadium would be funded, Pawlenty offered a few options – one being a new lottery game. The new lottery game, called “Mega Millions,” could generate about $12 million a year towards the general fund for the state.
Another option would be tax increment financing with the Vikings contributing a substantial portion along with the league. Pawlenty also mentioned that if the Vikings were to ever build a new home, “a city or a county is going to have to step forward and say they’re willing to be a partner as well.”
One of the biggest debates concerning the construction of a new stadium is the actual amount of additional tax revenue it would generate. Pawlenty mentions that the stadium would most likely create around the area of $10 million, perhaps less. This is where I strongly disagree with the governor.
Just consider the newly constructed “Jerry World,” home of the Dallas Cowboys. The new Cowboys stadium just recently hosted the NBA All-Star game, is the new home of the Cotton Bowl, site of the 2011 Super Bowl, and host of the 2014 NCAA Final Four. These events are sure to generate big bucks for the city of Arlington and the state of Texas, so certainly, similar events would create a large income for the state of Minnesota with the construction of a new stadium.
The governor did compare Dallas’ new stadium and the events it supports with one that would be built for the Vikings, but I did not get a sense of stimulation from Pawlenty regarding the Vikings stadium generating new jobs and increased revenue for the state. In my opinion, the construction of a new stadium would bring great things to the state of Minnesota. It will create more jobs during and long after the construction, and will also provide a great venue for a wide variety of events. Surely it will cost a pretty penny to build, but the return will be so much greater.
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