By Ken Reed

In a recent article he penned, Minnesota state senator John Marty wrote that the millions of public dollars going to build the wealthy owners of the highly profitable Minnesota Vikinigs a new stadium is evidence of warped priorities.

“Mr. (Zygi) Wilf’s expensive lobbying effort and his generous campaign contributions won the day,” wrote Marty. “Already making big profits from the Vikings, he will get over a billion more from taxpayers for stadium construction and operating costs.”

Minnesota politicians passed the stadium bill despite the final poll before the bill’s passage showing the public strongly against public financing of the stadium. By a margin of 58% to 36%, the public said the stadium should be paid for “entirely with private funding,” according to the KSTP – Survey USA poll.

So, after seeing the taxpayers’ view, what did Minnesota politicians do? They gave Wilf the money for a new sports palace that will boost his profits dramatically (approximately tripling the Vikings’ annual profits, according to an estimate). Make no mistake, Wilf wasn’t losing money playing in the old stadium, the Metrodome. According to Forbes magazine, Wilf has made $196 million in capital gains, plus $46 million in operating profits from the team since buying the franchise in 2005.

Once again, the taxpayers get screwed on a publicly-financed stadium deal designed to make a rich pro sports franchise owner wealthier.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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