Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vikings Week? Weak.

It’s Vikings Week in Minnesota!

Why not NSC Stars Week? They are in the NASL championship (yes, I did have to look that up) this weekend. Or how about  Minnesota Lynx Week? They won the championship a couple of weeks ago.  Or even Nebraska Week?  There will be legions of Cornhuskers flocking to Minnesota this weekend for the UMN-UN football game.  And Nebraska will probably have the largest win of any team playing in the state this weekend, so why embrace a pro-tourism ethic and call it Nebraska Week?

Mark Dayton declared it Vikings Week because this is (hopefully) the last great push to build a new stadium for the Purple.  But Dayton is the state’s governor - not the owner or an investor in the Vikings - so why is he leading a push for a new stadium?  Good Question (cue Jason DuRusha).

Its not out of the ordinary for a governor to throw his support behind Minnesota companies or to even declare a day in honor of them.  It is unusual, however, for a governor to support an organization with $300 million in state funds and a $350 million contribution from a county.  This kind of money would never be awarded to a private company....or to the NSC Stars, Minnesota Lynx, or to the Nebraska Cornhuskers.  Then again, Minnesota could use this money as a down payment to annex Nebraska (it has been proposed that Minnesota merge with Iowa). We could have University of Minnesota Lincoln and Omaha campuses, adopt Warren Buffett, and increase our corn production several fold.

I don't doubt that there are benefits to building a stadium for the Vikings - increased tax revenue from workers and area businesses, improved infrastructure, a new capital asset, and the preservation of Purple Pride come to mind immediately.

However, the Governor, Legislature, and County Commissioners should look at the opportunity cost of this investment.  What else could $650 million buy that has even greater returns than the stadium and create benefits for people who need them more than team owners and the multi-billion dollar NFL industry?

These resources could be spent on preschool programs across the state or job retraining programs for construction and other workers. Or, they don't have to collect the taxes in the first place.

OK, so now might be the time to admit that I am not a die-hard Vikings fan. I prefer to watch college football (or, even better, college fútbol).  This means that that the “purple pride” benefit of keeping the Vikings in Minnesota by building a stadium for them is, well, not really a benefit for me.  In fact, if the Purple were to leave and become the Los Angeles Vikings of Anaheim and Northern San Diego my life would not be very different.  In fact, other than having an extra 16 Sundays of free time, life would not be very different for the vast majority of Minnesotans.

You know what could make a difference in many lives: millions of dollars dedicated to educating three-year-olds. Or to re-training 33-year-olds. Or any other investment with significant returns for those in need, not just those that bleed purple.

So, why is it strange that this is Vikings Week in Minnesota?  It’s not because there aren't benefits to building a stadium, it’s just that there are better reasons for it to be “Preschool Week” or “Career Retraining Week.”

Maybe, we can ask the Vikings for several hundred million dollars to kick off these campaigns.


OK. Then we could just have “Nebraska Week” in celebration of our planned annexation of the Cornhusker State. This would at least solve Minnesota’s college football woes.


  1. Ummm...are you sure you want to annex Nebraska? Wouldn't that desecrate the Holy Land or Promised Land or whatever you call it? Loving the Nebraska shout-outs though.

    P.S. I'm really excited for the Nebraska win on Saturday.

  2. no one should ever be excited about beating the gophers.
    just don't do this:

  3. Because anything I might say about the game would result in a come-back about the Nebraska-Wisconsin game, I will refrain. Darn you. Love the music in the clip though.


Keep it civil.