Are sports becoming too important? The Stadium Debate

Are sports becoming too important? The Stadium Debate

Twins

Are sports becoming too important? The Stadium Debate

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I fear that I may come off as sort of douchey with this post, especially from someone that writes on a sports blog every day, and have for the past 5 years. I have noticed a trend this football season especially, in which in various aspects of life, sports are becoming simply too important in our lives, and often cloud the judgment of typically right thinking individuals. I have three examples, again pertaining to football, because it is the biggest sport in the land today. I will post the next two topics some time over the next couple of weeks.
The first is in the stadium debate here in the Twin Cities. In my opinion, the cost/benefit for the city of Minneapolis having a stadium is reduced the more that they end up having to pay. For the Twin Cities, the Metrodome continues to be a serviceable venue for high school sports, conventions and other large gatherings, and there is no impetus for them to replace it, just put a new roof on the building. The Vikings, frankly, don’t do much for the Minnesota economy. No doubt they are good for the economy, but it’s not worth the debt incurred by the city. With 10 home games bringing 70k to town a day, merchandise sales and the potential for a Super Bowl, no doubt that local economy would receive a bump, but that cash wouldn’t be recouped by the city itself. The stadium across town, Target Field, had 3 million people show up to games this year, or 5 times the maximum attendance for Vikings games. The Twins haven’t drawn less than 700K in a season in almost 30 years. It seems almost common sense that the Vikings stadium shouldn’t be a priority to anyone but the hospitality industry in Minneapolis, Blaine, or wherever the stadium is built. We could use the money for schools or roads or public safety.
But it isn’t. I have recently been involved in a couple of debates on the merits of a stadium, and the value of the Vikings in Minnesota. I’ve had people say that it would leave the Twin Cities as a ghost town and in economic shambles. Typically intelligent and right thinking people actually hold this opinion. Again, the Vikings with a new stadium might in one perfect year bring a billion dollars of revenue to the city in a year, if they get the Super Bowl. That’s a lot of money. Locally headquartered Fortune 500 company Target that employs tens of thousands of people in the cities does 65 billion dollars annually. General Mills does 14.7 billion. Cargill does 108 billion. Best Buy does almost 50 billion. 3M does 23 billion. Hell, Dairy Queen does 2.5 billion. What am I saying? I’m saying that the Twin Cities will be economically viable without the Vikings. Still, the idea of an empty sports bar without the Vikings in town for 16 days a year leaves some people in a panic over the state of the potential economy in Minnesota. Emotionally, Minnesotans will be shattered, but the pocketbooks for everyone will be just fine.
I am a huge sports fan, and even though I make jokes about it, I don’t want the Vikings to leave. In my mind, however, their impact on the state simply isn’t as important as some people say.

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