Sunday, December 12, 2010

Always A Reason

When the economy was firing on all of its artificial cylinders, the Minnesota Vikings implored the State of Minnesota and numerous municipalities to fund a new stadium for the team. "Now's the time," we were told. "With the economy humming and everyone flush with tax revenue, what better time could there be?" Our local octogenarian sports writer even opined that "the cost can only go up."

Surely, that was the time to build the Vikings' ownership group a shiny new stadium and let them reap all of the revenue streams accruing therefrom.

When the economy went south, however, that became the new "best time" to build a shiny new stadium for the Vikings' millionaire owners. "Building a new stadium now will help put people to work and boost the local economy," we were told. Our local octogenarian sports writer agreed. "The price will only go up," he argued.

Early Sunday morning, the snow provided yet another reason why now is the time to build the Vikings and the NFL--both of which stand to gain in the billions of dollars, long term, from a new Vikings' stadium (yes, in the billions of dollars). Reaching levels previously reached in Minnesota only five or six times, the snow put too much weight on the Metrodome roof, rupturing seems and collapsing the roof. "That's why we need a new stadium," we now are being told.

There is a lesson, here, of course, and it should be too obvious to require elaboration. Unfortunately, it probably is not, so I will elaborate. That lesson is that, if you want a new stadium, there will always be an angle for suggesting that the stadium is long overdue and ought to be built now. Economy up? Time to build. Economy down? Time to build. Record snow fall? Time to build.

Of course, there is always the flip side to the time to build mantra--the argument that it's not time to build, at least not without a sizable, on-going return to the funding party. A strong economy is an argument to let the owners invest their own capital and to cut taxes. A weak economy is an argument to establish priorities and not spend on discretionary projects. And heavy snow is merely an argument to suck it up and shovel out--not build a new stadium. Of course none of this will you ever hear from the lips or read in the scribblings of our local octogenarian sports writer.

Up Next: Motown?

No comments: