The Minnesota Vikings "need" a new stadium; at least, based on where the state of the art is in stadium, the current Metrodome is a bit antiquated. That seems hard to believe for a kid who grew up watching the Vikings send the Lions packing year after year in old Met Stadium on the site where the Mall of America now sits, but 30 years puts the Metrodome on the stodgy side.
Is it worth $400M to have football in town? That's the tab the Minnesota taxpayers are looking to pay towards new digs for the Vikes. With 5.3 million residents, that's about $80 apiece needed to put a new stadium in.
Rep. Larry Hosch, DFL-St. Joseph, made it personal. He told of being born during a Vikings game, with his dad having to break away from an overtime game to ferry his mom to the hospital. Hosch said he can't fathom not having Sunday games to share with his own kids.
"It might not make sense in dollars and cents," Hosch said, adding, "I can't imagine a state without the Vikings."
The interesting shtick on the funding is that expanded gambling will pick up the tab; however, that means the gaming money isn't there to help with other issues. Kentucky's Democrats are plugging a gambling proposal in order to keep horse racing tracks afloat, but they have the advantage of having the horse-breeding industry there as a tie-in; you can't quite say that you have a football industry in MN.
You can parcel out the cost over 15 years and pay for it with a $33.5m/year amortizing bond offering at 3% interest, bringing the cost down to about $6 a head per year. That's a matinee movie ticket a year, but some folks would rather use the money to watch The Avengers than the Purple People Eaters.
Is it consistent to be looking askance at having your government helping the local opera yet being more than happy supporting a new stadium? Yep, but more people watch football; on the flipside, do we take taxes from everyone to support the habit of a fraction of the population?