Should Stadiums Be for Winners?
As groundbreaking ceremonies for the brand new Vikings stadium wrap up in Minnesota, people have been talking about the Vikings with increased concern.  Should the citizens of Minnesota really have to subsidize a new stadium for a losing team? We’re lining millionaires’ and billionaires’ pockets by purchasing tickets to the games and buying the jerseys, is that not enough?

Recently, the collapse of a major bridge over Interstate 35W into the Mississippi River has been all over the news and caused major concerns for taxes. To finance the 300 million dollar project, Governor Tim Pawlenty is talking about raising the gas taxes to raise money for the project.  This doesn’t seem to be fazing Vikings' owner Ziggy Wilf when it comes to campaigning for taxpayers to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to a stadium effort.

The Vikings are going into week six of 2007 having lost three of four games, and the rest of the season does not look promising.  Public opinion is heavily rooted in the team’s performance.  While few taxpayers are arguing against the new stadium, many in the public believe the Vikings should start winning some games and start giving something back to the fans.

The Vikings currently play in the Humber H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis and share the venue with the Minnesota Twins baseball team.  Construction on the Metrodome began in 1979 and has been home to the MLB All-Star game, the World Series, and the Super Bowl in the nearly 30 years since its construction but is considered insufficient by modern standards.  Whereas the Metrodome was built for roughly 68 million dollars, proposed estimates on the new stadium go as high as one billion dollars.

Issues like this really boil down to what the taxpayers get out of it.  Sure, there are the potential years down the road to start generating revenue as the result of a new and improved stadium.  Unfortunately, the taxpayers aren’t going to see anything.  A new stadium isn’t going to make Ziggy Wilf splurge on big contracts for good players, the Vikings won’t start to play better in a modern stadium, and having more seats just means that we have a greater chance of not being able to see games on TV when we can’t sell enough tickets!

By T. Lloyd,
October 11, 2007