Minnesotans have mixed emotions as the Vikings inch closer toward playing in their new stadium soullessly named after a bank. No doubt fans are stoked to watch Teddy Touchdown feed the rock to an All-Pro child beater/overzealous disciplinarian (depending on your take) in shiny new digs. Yet reminders of how Zygi Wilf financially sodomized taxpayers keep pouring in.
Last week MarketWatch published an op-ed piece naming the five cities getting the worst deals from sports teams. Minneapolis naturally made the cut.
The financial website points out that only Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium swindled more public money ($620 million) than the $498 million Minneapolis and the state agreed to put toward the Vikings’ nearly $1.1 billion new home. Columnist Jason Notte writes that the purple money eaters twisted government arms with help from the Metrodome roof collapse and the looming threat of leaving for Los Angeles.
Factor in interest and operations costs and Minneapolis’ tab swells to $698 million over the course of its 30-year payment plan, MarketWatch reports. However, City Pages' analysis finds the total public cost could ultimately climb even higher. Notte also knocked the presumed charitable gambling cash cow that proved milk-less and poo-pooed Minneapolis’ 2018 Super Bowl party as another money suck.
Other cities on the got-screwed list include Atlanta — neighboring Cobb County is borrowing $397 million for a new suburban Braves park — Glendale, Ariz., and Milwaukee, where taxpayers are on the cusp of throwing the billionaire Bucks owners $250 million for an arena. Over the 20-year agreement, the public’s bill will run up to $400 million.
Washington D.C. also made the list. While the $150 million it’s contributing to a soccer stadium doesn’t look egregious compared to Zygi’s deal, the ugliness is in the details. Some of the city’s share of D.C. United’s new home — the priciest soccer-only stadium in the country at $300 million — is coming from a school-modernization program.
At least we didn’t directly rob kids to feed the rich. But as long as Minnesotans are out hundreds of millions of dollars, we might as well have kicked in an extra million for a gold statue of Zygi plucking $100 bills from a cash-feathered loon. Then again, fans would only see it a couple days a year.
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