A stadium for the Vikings was recently agreed upon by the team, city and state officials, but the road getting there was no easy task. Setting aside logistical issues such as where it would be built, how it would be paid for, and what would happen if an agreement wasn’t reached, emotions have run high on both sides of the issue. It caused Minnesotans to look deep and decide what the Vikings meant to them.
For some, they’re a cultural landmark, as Minnesotan as Paul Bunyan. Others view them as a wealthy group looking for a subsidy that would burden already strained budgets. Stadium proponents argue that it’s a much needed investment that will create jobs, put money into the economy create a useful space for public events. Opponents argue that those estimations are overblown and say team owners act like capitalists with their teams and socialists with their stadiums.
The St. Louis Rams are going through a similar situation, with a stipulation in their contract requiring their stadium being one of the top eight in the nation or they may leave. This is an issue that seems to involve smaller city markets. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal said that in the largest markets, such as New York and Los Angeles, a city may only pay one-fifth of the cost of a stadium while smaller markets may shoulder up to four-fifths of the cost. You can see more detail in the graphic to the right.
Whatever is decided, the process needs to be open and involve the voices of all those who have been affected by it. While the topic has been discussed in newspapers, radio, and television all over the state, many of the decisions have been made behind closed doors.
Never seen The Theater of Public Policy before? This short video is a great introduction: