OUR VIEW: Give OK to Vike's stadium already
It's easy for South Dakotans to weigh in on the debate about whether Minnesota taxpayers should fund a pricey new stadium for the NFL's Vikings.
Gazing eastward without the worry that our own taxes will be affected, we think they should just do it.
The Metrodome is just a mess. Although the Vikings certainly could continue to play in the building, it's not fair to ask them to do so, since they could be earning more dollars in a new stadium. Fans, too, deserve a better facility.
Los Angeles desperately wants a team and would be more than happy to steal the Vikings. Don't think it can't happen. If the Colts could leave Baltimore and the Browns could leave Cleveland, the Vikings easily could slip out of Minnesota in the middle of the night and set up headquarters in the fan-friendly oasis that is LA, which hasn't had a team since the Raiders left in 1995.
And remember: Los Angeles conducted a similar heist of Minnesota's NBA team in 1960.
In Baltimore, Cleveland, Houston, St. Louis - and nearly every town that ever lost an NFL team - another team eventually came to take the place of the dear departed a few years hence.
Prediction: If the Vikings leave, the fans will be the first to pitch a fit. Then, businessmen will feel the pinch as they experience the loss of revenue during the fall and winter months. Lawmakers will take the blame.
And a few years down the road, Minnesotans will be in the hunt for a new football team to fill the void. But that team won't commit without a new stadium and some sort of deal, probably one that will cost as much or more than the proposed stadium of today.
At present, the stadium looks to have a price of $975 million, with taxpayers being asked to pay for about half of it. It's false to say out-of-state fans aren't paying their share, because we do. We stay in Twin Cities hotels, eat in Twin Cities restaurants and pay $15 for a beer and a hot dog at Twin Cities ballgames, all to the detriment to our own pocketbooks and to the grand benefit of the Twin Cities economy.
According to the firm Conventions, Sports & Leisure International, the economic activity from a new stadium will generate more than $26 million per year in tax revenue and more than $145 million in spending by Vikings fans within the state of Minnesota.
A new stadium will keep intact hundreds of jobs within the Vikings organization and the stadium itself, and thousands of other jobs in the Twin Cities directly related to the Vikings' economic ripple.
A new stadium in the Twin Cities is inevitable, whether it's to keep the Vikings or to attract another team in the future. Minneapolis will be home to an NFL team because the people want it and because the economy benefits from it.
Would South Dakota taxpayers pay to keep Mount Rushmore from moving to Iowa? Of course we would.
So, Minnesotans, why not just get the deal done now?