Vikings’ stadium pros vs. cons

Connor Reis and Matt Muenzberg

PRO:

The Los Angeles Vikings. That’s a scary thought. The Vikings are the only thing that brings people together in Minnesota. Walk around a mall or even go to church on any Sunday in the fall, and you’ll see countless Vikings jerseys. Look at Facebook on a Sunday, during the game, almost every post is Vikings related. The Vikings truly bring us together as a state, and this unity is bound to disappear if we do not build a new Vikings stadium.

The fact is, if the stadium is not approved soon, the Vikings will pack up and be in Los Angeles as soon as possible, where Farmers Field, a brand new state-of-the-art facility, is already in the works, waiting to attract a franchise who is disappointed with their current home.

But if you are someone who honestly does not care about football, consider this: the construction of a new Vikings stadium in Minneapolis would provide Minnesotans more than 5,500 jobs. Despite the benefits to the job market, many people believe that building a Vikings stadium is not going to work right now with all the budget cutting going on.

The problem is how to fund the $900 million stadium. The proposed plan is to have one third of it funded publicly, one third from user fees, and one third from a new casino at Canterbury Park. Although I am generally against taxing the public for private ventures, I believe a stadium will benefit most Minnesotans, plus most of that money could come from a sports merchandise tax or other taxes like that.

The main argument against building a new football stadium is that the Vikings only play ten games a year. But if some sort of roof is on the stadium, events such as the Final Four and the Super Bowl will certainly be coming to town.

The Final Four alone generated over $55 million for the city of San Antonio in 2008, and Super Bowl XLV in Dallas generated almost $250 million of direct economic impact to the city. This is due to the influx of people that come along with these events, filling hotels, eating at restaurants, and buying merchandise from stores.

In Southern California, Farmers Insurance Group is paying $700 million to have their name on the new downtown stadium. Although naming rights in the Twin Cities may not sell for as much, getting even half that amount would knock off a significant amount of the public funding, if the rights are awarded to the state.

If a new stadium is not approved it won’t be a matter of if the Vikings move, but when. Owner Zygi Wilf lives in New Jersey, with no Minnesota ties, and wouldn’t care if he is unanimously hated in Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas if the Vikings aren’t bringing in money from their run-down luxury boxes at Mall of America Field.

Even in these tough economic times, a stadium must be approved. The Vikings are truly a priceless part of the community that would be devastating to lose.

 

CON:

I’m not a close-minded person who thinks the Vikings should foreverstay in what has become of the Metrodome; I personally don’t like going to Vikings games anymore simply because of the venue. Regardless, this isn’t the right time to build a new stadium. I don’t think the spending would cripple Minnesota’s economy to an extent where something would actually happen. No, I just think we could get at least three more years out of Mall of America Field

The new field would only host the Vikings’ ten games a year. Sure, there’s the possibility of hosting the NCAA’s Final Four and the Superbowl, but would these possibilities make things that much better? These events might boost the economy, but not enough to counter-balance the $900 million we would have to spend on a stadium that the home team would use just over a dozen times a year.

We’d need a good way to make this $900 million, and it should certainly shouldn’t require very much from tax payers. Asking Minnesotans who don’t even pay attention to football (let alone attend games) to contribute almost $1 billion is beyond ridiculous and shouldn’t even be considered.

The new stadium would allow new jobs to open up, but none of them would be permanent jobs that would give anybody relief from the hard times they’re going through. Instead, we could put the $900 million towards funding public schools, or something that actually matters. I don’t have anything against sports, but with all the complaining about the economy, spending almost $1 billion on a sports stadium seems to be out of the question.