Stadium Push Falls At Wrong Time For Vikings

A New York Times story may best explain the Minnesota Vikings’ woes in seeking a new stadium: “The country’s most popular sport is colliding with the country’s emergent political philosophy — smaller government and lower taxes.”

Reporter Ken Belson examined problems ranging from this summer’s Minnesota government shutdown to opposition from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman over a proposed sales tax increase that he claims would hurt business in his town.

Even the national spectacle of the Metrodome’s roof collapsing has not helped the Vikings’ cause.

Many National Football League franchises have received government help to build stadiums in recent years, But, Belson writes, “the Vikings’ pitch stands apart from other NFL stadium deals because it is running headlong into a vastly different economic and political landscape. In a state whose financial hardships were so severe that the Legislature shut down state services for several weeks over the summer, a franchise in the $9 billion NFL is asking the public to pay about 60 percent of the cost of a $1.1 billion stadium. …”

Belson points out that other professional teams have left for greener stadiums, and Los Angeles is hunting for a football team now, dangling a new stadium as bait.