I predict the Packers will win, prompting the biggest riot the city has ever seen!
No, seriously, I support hosting the 2018 Super Bowl in Minnesota. After all, we need to start paying off our billion-dollar, publicly financed stadium that was supposed to be paid for with non-existent gaming revenues. Looking at the behavior of our elected officials, it seems we still worship the Classic Development Model. It’s the idea that creating more stadiums, parking lots, entertainment venues, highways and gambling opportunities will launch our economy into hyper-drive and we’ll all get rich quick and live happily ever after. Lately, we’ve added expanded liquor sales to the Model. I guess the thinking is, if we build enough new bars and get drunk enough, we won’t notice that the other development stuff isn’t working.
On the other hand, I love sports, entertainment and alcohol. So I want to believe in the Classic Development Model and be optimistic. This got me fantasizing about a best-case scenario for the Super Bowl. If 50,000 people come from out of town and each spend 2 nights in local hotels at $200 per night, that’ll be twenty million dollars pumped into the local economy. I’m not sure if we have that many hotel rooms but let’s just imagine. Then, if each person spends double that amount on food, taxis and other amenities, we could bring in over sixty million dollars! That’s 50,000 out-of-towners spending $1200 each, just on hotel rooms, food, merchandise and other local stuff. There’s the ticket sales themselves but the Wilfs and NFL get most of those and the airfares go to massive airline conglomerates not based in Minnesota. So I’m not counting these as revenue. On the flip side, there’ll be huge costs to put on this event, including an increased police and security presence that will close down a portion of downtown Minneapolis, similar to what happened with the 2008 RNC Convention in Saint Paul. Plus there’ll be preparation and cleanup costs. Much of these costs will be borne by local taxpayers, but they will “create jobs!” So I’m not counting any of them.
Thus, assuming all this is pure profit, I realized the 2018 Super Bowl really could bring in sixty million dollars. Then I realized, even at that rate, it’ll take seventeen Super Bowls to pay off the stadium. I guess we better start preparing bids for 2019 and 2020.
The Twins stadium gets used for a minimum of eighty-one home games each year, even if we can’t manage to fill it. By contrast, the new Vikings stadium will get used for just eight home games per year and maybe a couple of preseason games. What are we going to do for the other 355 days of the year to make money off it? We’re already hosting all our concerts and minor athletic events in other half-vacant stadiums. Maybe we could hold Ultimate Frisbee tournaments or massive brewfests in the new facility? …Or the most amazing miniature golf course ever? …High school proms? There must be something!?! Please send your suggestions.
All this reminds me of a comic I made for the City Pages Comics Issue back in 2011. The theme of the issue was “Life in the Future.” Click on the image to enlarge it. Hope you enjoy it …and, don’t worry. I’m terrible at predicting the future.