Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The Star Tribune reports that the NFL is paying attention to the Vikings' stadium issue. I want to highlight one quote from Roger Goodell:

"But also the Gophers have a new stadium. The Twins have a new stadium. It's obvious the Vikings need a new stadium."

While the Twin stadium is a relevant precedent, the Gopher football stadium should be irrelevant to the question of public financing for a Viking stadium. The University of Minnesota is a public, state-supported institution--the state is supposed to provide public financing for this institution. The Vikings are a privately owned business. There should be legitimate discussion about whether public financing for a Viking stadium would be a good thing for the state. However, that the state funded a stadium for its own public university offers no relevant parallel.


  1. Anonymous2:52 PM

    So colleges and businesses can make money off college kids and public money is used to build their playgrounds?

  2. "colleges and businesses" shouldn't be considered a unified entity. In theory, if a college makes money, that money is used for the college, thus benefiting students. If a business makes money, that is profit for private individuals.

    As I've said many times, colleges ask all of their students to contribute to the college community in different ways, and if a college "profits," that is benefit to the college community. That's a different situation from businesses profiting from college athletes' performances.

    And it is certainly debatable whether public money for colleges is best used for a stadium. It is clear, however, that a public financing for a public college's stadium is a different matter than public financing for a private business's stadium, which is my only point here.

  3. Also, state funding of "colleges and businesses" would really only apply to private colleges - the original post pointed out that there's no real distinction between UMinn and the State of Minnesota.
    But if Carleton decided to go to Division 1-A, should the state pay for their brand-new stadium?

  4. Anonymous2:35 AM

    The question for the public is whether competitive athletics at the highest level serves the public's interest in regards to the University of Minnesota. That is not an easy question to answer. The University of Chicago famously decided a long time ago that such athletics were not consistent with or important to the goal of running a tremendous institution of higher learning. On the other hand, one could point to, say, Notre Dame, and make a pretty good case that competitive athletics at the highest level has served the educational goals of the student body pretty well.

    If you think competitve athletics at such a level are worthwhile, in terms of running a major university, then by all means it is right for the taxpayer to help build the new stadium, because that is part of what is needed for the football team to remain competitive, or get a lot more competitive, and because the potential return on investment makes it worthwhile. Look at how much money Wisconsin has earned on their investment in their football program.

    What irritates me so much about the NFL is that they would still be making a tremendous return on their capital, even without taxpayer subsidized stadiums. Robert Kraft paid for the vast majority of his stadium, and it is not as if the Patriots haven't been damned profitable. I wish Congress had passed a law 40 years ago limiting the tax exemption on municipal bonds in any state which had subsidized stadiums for professional teams. The owners and players wouldn't have made as much money, but I think everyone else would have been better off.

  5. Anonymous11:52 AM

    The NFl always attempts to pressure any community to get their way, they strong arm cities all the time. They did it in Cleveland with the Browns. The Browns were the most supported team in the league at the time of their move to Baltimore.

    Browns fans averaged 76,000 or more every home game at the terrible old Cleveland Muni stadium. The NFL wanted the City of Cleveland to build a new state of the art facility, when they didn't the NFL approved the move to Baltimore, screwing the most supportive fans in the NFl at that time.

    The NFL said there was nothing they could do to stop Art Modell from taking the team to Baltimore,but they would give them a new Browns team in 3 years, if they built Browns stadium for the team to play in.

    Art Modell was paid 50 million dollars personally by the city of Baltimore to move the team. His rent at old Cleveland muni was $250,000.00 a year. Pocket change for him.

    The NFL told the City of Baltimore that in order for the Browns to move, that the city needed to provide a new stadium for the then unnamed team to play in, thus M&T Bank Stadium was born.

    One of the requirements for the Texans to get their franchise in Houston was the building of Reliant Stadium down there. I dont think that any of these stadiums were privately funded, citizens footed the majority of the bill.

    So, get ready Minnesota, it's going to be your turn in the NFL barrel.

  6. Anonymous2:02 PM

    A.P. will LOVE it in L.A. Thanks

  7. Anonymous3:21 PM

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