That’s One Hell of a Subsidy

The owners of the Minnesota Vikings, Zygi Wilf, is trying to sucker the people of Minnesota into handing over $548 million to help pay for a new stadium. Why does a multi-millionaire need pilfer the coffers of the state to pay for a stadium? He doesn’t, but like any smart business man making a risky move he wants to shield his fortune from possible loss as much as possible. Zygi didn’t get rich by being stupid after all. What’s interesting putting the sheer amount of money being demanded by the Vikings into perspective:

The public’s share of the project is slated to be $548 million and the Vikings must come up with $427 million. The team has already been approved by the NFL for a loan to help with the financing and could also sell stadium naming rights and seat licenses to cover their end. It is not clear if the bill will pass since most of the state’s taxpayers are against using their money to make Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, who paid $600 million for a team in 2005 now worth $796 million, even richer. Fully aware of this, advocates of the current bill have used bogus polling to plead their case.

If the bill for the Minnesota Vikings new stadium passes the cost to taxpayers will be $77.30 per ticket, per game, for 30 years, according to an analysis by state senator John Marty, who submitted his findings to his colleagues yesterday (see his full report below). If the taxpayers of Minnesota think $77.30 is too much, Marty has even worse news: the real cost is much greater because his calculation does not include the value of the property tax exemption on the stadium and the parking ramps, nor the value of the sales tax exemption on construction materials.

I have an idea, why don’t the Vikings just increase the cost of their tickets by $77.30 to fund the new stadium? If they’re right and the fans truly want a new stadium I’m sure they will have no problem paying $77.30 more per ticket to help the team out.

Personally I think Minnesota should just tell the Vikings where to stick it. They keep threatening to move to Los Angeles, I say we should make them put up or shut up.