Hosting Super Bowl is not stadium funding

Published 5:32 pm Saturday, April 5, 2014

The people who opposed building a stadium for the Minnesota Vikings should not extend that dislike to opposing the city of Minneapolis hosting a Super Bowl. The stadium is going to be built. That fight is over. It is in the best interest of Minnesota to use that stadium to host the biggest spectacle in American professional sports.

Yes, supporters of the Super Bowl want the state and city to give $10 million in tax breaks for the  billionaire owners and millionaire players. That’s true, and, on basic principle, we don’t like it either. Rich people and wealthy companies should pay their taxes. But these days, undoubtedly, looking for breaks is standard business. The NFL pits cities against each other, and many other places are willing to dole out the tax breaks.

On the plus side, estimates say the game generates nearly $40 million in state and local taxes. Even if that estimate is high, there are tax gains despite the tax breaks. And February, the month when the Super Bowl is held, is not a typical tourism month in the Twin Cities. The Super Bowl won’t displace existing tourism.

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What’s more, many corporations in the Twin Cities would like to bring the Super Bowl to the new stadium. A recent Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial cited CEOs of Carlson, Ecolab and U.S. Bancorp stepping up and leading the bid process. They are raising $20 to $40 million to cover the hosting costs. Those aren’t tax dollars. Those are donations in private money — from corporations. That’s support.

The exposure would be good for Minnesota, too. The Star Tribune made a good point when its editors wrote that the state must “constantly battle its reputation as a frozen outpost on the Canadian border.

“This worldview makes no room for professional sports or the millions of fans across the country who spend money on pro and college teams. Fact is, top corporate talent and skilled young people make career choices in part based on quality-of-life factors that include entertainment options and civic vitality.”


Minnesota leaders often take long routes in getting big projects done, often because of pragmatism and an earnest ability to consider other viewpoints, but in the end they get them done.

Look for Minnesota to host a Super Bowl, preferably in 2018.