Build the goddamn Vikings stadium already
More 4th And 26
- The A.V. Club’s All-Thanksgiving All-Star Packers team
- Learning to love Jay Cutler
- A brief history of the Minnesota Vikings poaching from the Green Bay Packers
- Home away from home: Browns, Bills, and Lions fans find refuge in Packers Country
- Here we go, Pack, go again: The A.V. Club’s 2013 Packers season preview
As the undefeated Packers step into the Metrodome this Sunday to face the 1-5 Vikings, you almost have to feel bad for Minnesota football fans. Not only is their team in dire straights (veteran QB Donovan McNabb will enjoy Sunday’s game from the bench), but the lease on their stadium is nearly up, threatening to uproot the franchise to Los Angeles. In this week’s 4th And 26, a Packers fan living in Minnesota makes a case for keeping the Vikings where they are, and pleads with the powers that be to build them a new goddamned stadium already.
As the Vikings’ push for a $1 billion new stadium reaches a fever pitch and public support and/or outrage swells, I can’t help but think: This is all so fucking stupid. There are legitimate concerns on both sides of the debate, but we all know how this is going to end. (Spoiler alert: It ends with a new stadium in Arden Hills.) I approach this argument not as a stadium “supporter” per se; I’m actually a Packers fan who thinks it’d be a karmic treat to see the franchise pack up for Los Angeles. No, I’m coming at the debate as a proponent of reality and of situations that don’t bring out the most annoying traits of everyone involved. Here’s why we should build the effin’ stadium and quit all the got-dang yappin’.
A similar tax just isn’t going to go to schools, bridges, etc.
Ya feel that? It’s called “the political climate of a recession.” I completely respect the priorities of those who feel a potential sales tax would be better levied to support education, infrastructure, or any other practical what-have-yous that are underfunded. What I don’t buy is the notion that these same people would put their money where their mouths are and vote for such a selfless sales tax. Do you really think Edward H. Blowhard in Ramsey County is going to get so huffy about a picayune tax for a stadium and then gladly vote for a similar tax to be allotted toward bridges? Hell no. His claims to the contrary are do-gooder posturing, a soulless non sequitur; I don’t buy the false altruism of these folks. For argument’s sake, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and pretend they’d really sacrifice for a better community. Okay, now let’s have a gutless state congressman sell that amidst the backdrop of a vicious recession. Not. Gonna. Happen. Obama’s jobs bill is essentially infrastructure spending and tax cuts, two seemingly non-controversial measures, and it has been met by cries of fiscal irresponsibility in a down economy. A sales tax to fund a new stadium, on the other hand, is the rare sort of revenue increase that’s viable in hard times. Everyone loves football, and hardened conservatives can rest assured the money’s not going to “greedy welfare moms.” I’d jump at the chance to pay an ADDITIONAL tax for schools and roads, but I just can’t imagine that’s going to come to the table in this political environment. And ya know what? Not to come off like a Vikes PR hack, but stadiums really do help economies.
American Public Media’s “Marketplace Money” ran a piece this week about the economic gut punch that a single lockout-induced missed NBA game is going to cause to downtown Los Angeles. In accounting for a laundry list of variables (nearby restaurants, ticket sales, concessions, parking, etc.), the story concluded that missing one sold-out Clippers game (20,000 seats) usurps $800,000 from the local economy. Granted, a full NBA season boasts 41 home games to the NFL’s eight, but the proposed Vikings stadium would seat many more fans. And that doesn’t account for the construction jobs required for building the stadium and the developments that would crop up around it in Arden Hills (even if team owner/real estate developer Zygi Wilf has some scurrilous self-interest vested there). The Vikes franchise appears to be putting up a fair sum of its own, so why fight a deliciously socialistic “People’s Stadium” that would accommodate more than just football games?
Ramsey County got off easy on Target Field.
It’d be heavy-handed/illegal to bar Ramsey County residents from attending Twins games, but those bastards didn’t pitch in a dime to build Target Field. Since it was imposed in 2007, Hennepin County residents have been solely responsible for the .15 percent sales tax responsible for erecting Target Field. The total fiscal damage to residents? A measly $18 per resident each year—another stat to put this whole to-do in perspective. Not to mention that tally is disproportionately owned by fat cats buying catamarans and gilded dog dishes. (I’m not sure how the wealthy spend their money.) The point is, St. Paulites get to enjoy—and by enjoy, I mean endure—Twins games at Target Field, despite not ponying up a dime. Payback time, you pinchpenny pricks.
Sports is all some people have.
Call it pointless; call it devoid of intellectual merit; call it a calculated rouse enacted by the bourgeoisie to keep the working masses dumb, drunk and distracted. Call it what you will, but sports really is the final refuge for the working man or woman … okay, let’s not kid ourselves, mostly the working man. The drudgery of the workweek takes a lot out of a person; having the Vikings as an end-prize—not to mention a weekly conversation piece—really does mean a lot to people. Should the team move to L.A., hoards of Minnesotans will be epically bummed. With no guarantee that this economy is about to right itself, do we really want to risk letting a source of free and invaluable entertainment slip away to the West Coast? I don’t even like the Vikings, but, as a proud Minnesotan, I’d feel like an intrinsic part of our state’s brand—and, in turn, identity—would be lost. The NPR-listening intelligentsia might suggest a Sunday devoid of football is a perfect opportunity for Herald Q. Pipefitter to head over to the Loft Literary Center or take in a Guthrie production. Yeah, those scenarios are about as realistic as a Dennis Kucinich presidential win. Football is a people’s a game, a true populist passion that would hurt the morale of our state should it be lost.
It’d shut people up.
The opinions about publically funded stadiums are so canned and shallow. Having to take in everyone’s talking point over the course of this Vikings stadium debacle has been an endurance test of hearing out contrived monologues for or against (but mostly against) the tax. It’s boring and stupid. Build the damn thing so we can all get back to squabbling about other grating stuff—stuff that doesn’t even carry the promise of kickass football.