jake's mom


Twinks and Gophs to Get New Digs?


From ESPN - Legislature OKs financing for new Twins stadium.

Hmm. I agree that the HHH Metrodome is one of most ugly and horrid places to watch a sporting event. I also agree that the Twins could benefit from a new stadium, especially an open-air natural grass stadium. But should it be financed through taxes?

A new $522 million Twins ballpark, which would be paid for mostly by taxpayers, is scheduled to open for the 2010 season.
The 42,000-seat stadium, which will be funded by a 0.15 percent Hennepin County sales tax increase and $130 million from owner Carl Pohlad, is earmarked for the west edge of downtown Minneapolis -- to be built with a striking skyline view a few blocks from Target Center, where the NBA's Timberwolves play.
Plans don't call for a retractable roof, so April and May games will often be played in less-than-desirable conditions -- and some of them will surely be postponed by rain or even snow.

Proponents often argue that a new stadium will help keep the teams competitive and create surrounding economic benefits for the area. But that doesn't seem to be present here - the Twins have been AL Central Champions loads of times in recent years (if you want to debate the Twins success, just look to the neighboring Milwaukee Brewers), and the Twins have been averaging attendance in the mid-twenty thousand range for some time, which, while somewhat low, may only decrease (after the "new stadium" rush) given the fickleness of Minnesota sports fans due to the possibility of cold/rainy/windy outdoor spring/fall games (and the probable increased ticket costs).

Again, while I think the Twins could really use a new stadium, I don't think that the average taxpayer achieves enough benefit from this deal to benefit. $522 million for the stadium - $130 million paid by the team owner = $392 million going to the taxpayers bill. Here's a stadium-impact analysis that seems to back up this position.

Independent analyses of the economic and employment impacts of sports stadiums have consistently found that there is no statistically significant economic benefit to building a stadium.

Additionally, this vote allows the Gophers to also get funds for an outdoor stadium on campus.

"We are using general fund dollars and a tax on students to build a sports stadium. We could have put these general fund dollars towards the mission of the university," said Sen. Mee Moua, DFL-St. Paul, who voted against the measure. "Why is it that we cannot get a commitment from the state to provide for our students' academic needs but we have no problem using state funding to build a new venue for a football team?"

Let's do a "major" stadium count in the Cities:
Heck, I'm probably forgetting a few, and this doesn't even include the minor-league teams in the area - just the major professional teams and the Gophers major athletic teams. Doesn't this seem a bit silly to anyone? What ever happened to sharing?

I wonder how much Minnesota's schools could have been helped by $392 million dollars.
posted by brian at 12:59 PM | Permalink

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