Late Monday night, a Minnesota House committee voted 9-6 against a proposal for a new Vikings stadium. The vote effectively ends the chances of the stadium plan succeeding and is a victory for those who have questioned the need for the public to pay for a stadium for a private sports team. The House committee hearing actually opened with one representative asking, “Why should the state of Minnesota contribute to a stadium for a billionaire owner?” Bingo.
It’s also important to note that the chair of the committee, Rep. Joyce Peppin, criticized the portion of the plan that would essentially circumvent the will of residents of Minneapolis. That city has a requirement that there must be a public vote before any more than $10 million can be spent on a sporting facility, but because they expected Minneapolis citizens to reject spending $150 million on a new stadium, stadium advocates had proposed to essentially launder the money through a newly created stadium authority. “To me, the language is pretty clear,” Peppin said. “I think [Minneapolis' residents] deserve a vote on this.”
So now the Vikings are issuing threats again. “It’s a mistake to think the Vikings and the [National Football League] will continue with the status quo,” Vikings V.P. of stadium development Lester Bagley said. And many in the sports media will now dubiously claim that the Vikings are all but on their way to Los Angeles, which will have an even greater challenge building a new football stadium, especially if it requires public money. But no doubt the Vikings will continue to do whatever they can to get the public to pay for their stadium.
Get more great sports analysis over at SportsFans.org.