A proposed funding plan for a $791 million Minnesota Vikings stadium is currently under consideration by the Minnesota State Legislature. While the plan, which would included public funds, received a mixed reception from politicians, signs are starting to emerge that we may have reached a turning point with the NFL’s team’s local fan base.
The new plan has the Vikings contributing $264 million to the project, with most of the remaining cost raised through taxes on hotels, rental cars and National Football League merchandise.
While many Minnesota legislators continue to express concern over the use of public funds for the proposed stadium, if a prominent newspaper poll by the MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE is any indication, everyday Minnesotans may finally be open to the idea.
As an accompaniment to a story about the new proposed stadium funding plan, a Star-Tribune poll asked for the following reader reaction to the proposal:
A) I like it. The taxes are fair and don’t hit the average taxpayer.
B) There are much more pressing needs than a stadium that should be paid for with those taxes.
With well over 11,000 votes tallied, the first response, “I like it. The taxes are fair and don’t hit the average taxpayer,” has received 77% of the vote.
Obviously there’s no way to tell if that is representative sentiment of the entire state, but it could indicate a seminal shift in the attitude of local citizens as it pertains to funding a new Vikings venue.
So why are Minnesotans open to the idea of tax money going to an NFL Stadium?
1) The Vikings have spent nearly 30 years in the dilapidated Metrodome and the team’s fans deserve better.
2) The lingering euphoria of the team’s success with Brett Favre at quarterback last season.
3) The positive reception to the Twins new taxpayer-funded stadium, Target Field.
4) The tax money that will be used will likely be contributed more by out-of-state tourists than locals.
Also remember that no politician wants the Vikings to move on his/her watch and that the NFL will do anything in its power to prevent the team from moving and creating another public relations disaster like we saw in Cleveland. (NFL heritage franchise pulling up stakes despite adequate fan support.)
The Vikings might not get their new stadium from this latest funding proposal, but if those poll results and the other previously-listed extenuating circumstances are any indication, it appears politicians finally have the momentum from their consitituency to get a publically-funded Vikings stadium deal done.