Minneapolis, the supposed underdog city with frigid temperatures in the winter, came out on top in the race for the Super Bowl in 2018 when the final announcement was made Tuesday afternoon.
And what was the deciding factor in this decision? Why, the fact that the state government is extorting money from citizens to build a new
palace stadium for the Vikings:
“All three bids were outstanding,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “They each did a terrific job presenting. I think the distinguishing factor was the stadium.”
The Vikings are scheduled to begin playing in a $1 billion stadium at the site of the old Metrodome in 2016. Minneapolis follows Dallas, San Francisco, Houston and Arizona as cities that were rewarded Super Bowls in the year of being eligible with a new stadium.
“The new stadium was absolutely the deciding factor,” Jay Cicero of the New Orleans bid committee said. “Any time that there is so much public support for a $1 billion stadium, the NFL owners are impressed. We did everything we were supposed to do, had a fantastic presentation. In the end, we think the stadium did it.”
And let’s not forget that the Denver Broncos couldn’t win a Super Bowl until after the city agreed to extort money from Denver-area taxpayers to build a new stadium for Pat Bowlen. While the team was not awarded a Super Bowl in their city, the Broncos did win the next two Super Bowls.
And forget all the balderdash about how forcing taxpayers to subsidize billionaire owners boosts the local economy. It’s just not true:
If you build it, they will come … with wallets bulging, eager to exchange greenbacks for peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs and beer, and T-shirts and ball caps with team logos.
At least that’s the theory embraced – time and time again – by mayors and city council members hoping to lure professional sports teams to their cities by promising to build new arenas for the teams. But one guy who’s not buying it is sports economist Brad Humphreys, a professor of recreation, sport and tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
That’s because Humphreys and colleague Dennis Coates, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, haven’t uncovered a single instance in which the presence of a professional sports team has been linked to a boost in the local economy.
“Our conclusion, and that of nearly all academic economists studying this issue, is that professional sports generally have little, if any, positive effect on a city’s economy,” Humphreys and Coates wrote in a report issued last month by the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.
And the building of a new stadium actually makes people in the area worse off:
The researchers found other patterns consistent with the presence of pro sports teams. Among them:
- a statistically significant negative impact on the retail and services sectors of the local economy, including an average net loss of 1,924 jobs
- an increase in wages in the hotels and other lodgings sector (about $10 per worker year), but a reduction in wages in bars and restaurants (about $162 per worker per year). Those employed in the amusements and recreation sector appeared, at first glance, to benefit significantly from the presence of a pro team, with an average annual salary increase of $490 per worker, Humphreys said. However, he added, “this sector includes the professional athletes whose annual salaries certainly raise the average salary in this sector by an enormous amount.
The financing and building of new stadia is nothing more than corporate welfare. Remember that the next time you shell out hundreds of dollars to root, root, root for the home team.