Good Question: How Much Has MN Spent On Stadiums?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Timberwolves and the city of Minneapolis want to spend $155 million on renovating Target Center.  The Minnesota Vikings want at least $500 million in public financing for a new football stadium. Even the St. Paul Saints want $27 million of public funding for a new baseball stadium.

With all the teams asking for public money, how much has Minnesota spent on stadiums since the Metrodome was built?

H. H. H. Metrodome

According to Bill Lester, executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, the legislature authorized $55 million in bonds for the building and $30 million in bonds for the infrastructure.  Lester said the commission has used $88.5 million for the dome.

Target Center

Target Center was built using private money for about $100 million.  But the city of Minneapolis paid about $20 million at the time for infrastructure, then they bought the place. According to the city, they estimate their total investment to be around $80 million.

Xcel Energy Center

According to Minnesota Wild spokesman Bill Robertson, the city of St. Paul financed the Xcel Energy Center at a cost of about $130 million.  After it was built, Minnesota Wild owner Bob Naegele chipped in an extra $60 million for upgrades.

TCF Bank Stadium

According to the University of Minnesota, the state funded $137 million of that stadium for the Gophers football team.  The remaining $151 million came from private donors, ticket fees and student fees.

Target Field

Hennepin County paid $350 million for Target Field, while the Minnesota Twins paid $195 million, according to figures provided by the Twins.


Minnesota taxpayers funded $785.5 million for those various stadiums.  Owners and other stakeholders spent $506 million.  That’s a total of $1.3 billion spent on stadiums.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • Henry

    What’s the point? The price tag is completely irrelevant without putting it into context, such as the tax revenue generated by the teams and the workers that utilize said stadiums. Of course at that point the number wouldn’t be so alarming and people wouldn’t read this story.

    • Eric

      So what is the tax revenue generated by teams?

      • Aaron A. Hines

        ok so I don’t know the real number but i do know a few things the twins had a sell out crowd last year lets say that after tickets and merchandise they averaged only $25 each per fan (this buys parking, dinner, food at the game and maybe a hotel) well with 35000 fans per game and 81 games thats 71.5 million alone if you figure they averaged a third that each year for the 28 seasons in the dome thats another 662.3 million that brings that twins grand total to 733.8 million alone now i heard somewhere that since the dome was put up that the vikings generate about a million dollars in local revenue per regular season game and more for post season less for pre season so for my point here we will just use the 224 home games played at the dome since its being built that brings us to 957.8 million now lets say our lowly wolves can scatch 50’000 a game since 1990 which is a severe low ball because i know that the seven years of K.G. was around a quarter million a game but for argument sake 50 g’s per game for 41 games for 20 years is another 42 million that brings us 999 million alright now lets take the wild for the last 10 years they have had sell out crowds now if you have been to any hockey games you know that most of the time its not really a full house but lets say they manage 7500 seats full of there 18000 per game and each of these people average 15 for food drink and parking plus any hotel or anything else they may do right there thats another 46 million and we are probaly pretty safe saying that the gophers and the saints have been able to generate 255 million for the gophers since they started at the dome and the saints since there stadium was built thats the 1.3 billion dollars right there and thats just the sporting events now lets add in conventions concerts and events that take place at these venues i’d be willing to bet dollars to donuts that the xcel alone since being built has brought in over a billion dollars in local revenue on all the events there now add in the dome target center and your most likely talking closer to 50 to 100 billion dollars with all that being said though people who saw there taxes go up in lets say crow wing county because of the target center being renivatd and built but have never been there have had to pay for something they get no benifit from and thats the biggest concern minnesotans have with public funding for a stadium exspecially when you consider the salaries the teams get 116 million for the twins alone if the averae minnesotan makes 100 g a year which we all know they don’t thats 1160 households worth now add in t wolves vikings and wild and that number more then triples and what about the owners? theres alot of numbers and you can make a legite argument both ways is all I’m saying so we need to know all the facts if you agree with me on this topic maybe you’ll agree with me on others so remember Aaron A. Hines MN govenor 2014

      • Mr T

        I’d say we should use taxpayer money to pay off all our mortgages on our personal homes. This would increase the values(taxes) and homeowners would buy more things(sales taxes) and be able to send their children to college(future higher taxes on increased incomes. This would increase tax revenue and increase real employment.
        This way the money stops gravitating to the rich and gives the little guy actual results, which would have wide spread support.

  • M

    Yeah, completely irrelevant without noting that all those expensive suites the team owners want built are written off taxes as deductable business entertainment expenses. So the rich get richer and enjoy subsidized stadiums and on-going subsidies.
    It’s time to change the rules of the game. Welfare for billionaires and millionaires needs to stop.

  • Phil

    As well as the context on how many millions were spent on udpates and upkeep to the stadiums, as well as keeping them operating all the time as even Zygi himself stated it costs too much to keep an indoor stadium warm.

  • Jonathan in Mtka

    I disagree with Henry’s presumption. The “tax base” is a drop in the bucket relative to the number of Minnesota entertainment dollars lining the pockets of millionaire players and billionaire owners. This is money that would’ve been spent elsewhere and hopefully with a wider distribution into the community (and some outside, as well).

    But here’s a solution: Instead of Hennepin County funding more teachers to improve the student:teacher ratio and instead of the county fixing up the schools in the poorer neighborhoods with the lower tax base, those kids can go work at these stadiums selling beer and hot dogs when they grow up. This way they can continue to live in their poor neighborhoods, make a poor wage, keep the poor school districts poor and raise their kids to follow in their footsteps…..

  • sam hill

    So what if a stadium generates taxes? People spend all the money they make, minus a very small slice for savings. iI they didn’t spend it on sporting events, they would spend it something else. The something else generates taxes too. if a car dealership sells $20 million of cars a year, they generate $1.4 mil of sales tax, they may pay $300,000 of property tax, a pile of state income tax, etc. Should the state subsidize car dealerships and build them new showrooms?

    • Eric

      Exactly. How do ultra wealthy franchise owners get average Joes sticking up for them? It goes to show why those owners are ultra wealthy. They’re good at business (especially working the system to their advantage). Why fault them? They’re playing by the rules. Who’s writing the rules? The ultra rich? Hmm… connecting the dots…

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  • Jean-Paul Dangerbunny Beaulieu

    Typical Minnesotans, What noone seems to realize is thatg these numbers are not just magic dollar amounts we are giving to China to deliver us a plastic sadium. These are dollars being used to pay your neighbors to build an income generating attraction. Reality is, the rich are getting richer while paying your paychecks, ie:making you richer.. And if not you, then someone near you, in turn circulating more money, in turn increasing our luxuriant American lifestyles. Go to Ecuador and complain about how the superrich are ruining your life.

    • terry

      Boiled bunny-
      What do you think would happen to the money if it wasn’t spent on the stadium? Would you eat it like lettuce? It would be spent on SOMETHING ELSE. It doesn’t just disappear because it’s not spent on a stadium.

      just another fool who’s getting rich spending and paying interest- aren’t you bunny. Politicians love guys like you…

      • Jean-Paul Dangerbunny Beaulieu

        Actually Terry, your quick qit aside, I ‘m a server, and the recession has made lots of people not tip so well. In fact I’m so poor you could maybe practice a little of that altruistic justice and send me some money. See that money is called TAXES. Ordinarily I am not a proponent of taxes. Purely, because I hate giving my money away, I don’t have enough to give away. In a nutshell, terry, If my tax money is going to go towards something that will bring in more money to the city, I will make more money. So if we don’t raise taxes for a stadium, we probably won’t raise taxes, unless there is another rhetorical “Say yes to kids” campaign which Iwon’t help me or my 4-year old.

      • Jean-Paul Dangerbunny Beaulieu

        And call me naive, but I really don’t think anybody gets rich by spending and paying interest. Otherwise, I would be rich.

  • Kevin

    AEG and FARMERS Insurance are planning a new “B”illion dollar stadium in cash strapped LA..I wish we could find a deal like that! So they will try and attract teams like the Chargers OR the VIKINGS! And who wants to pay that price. But how can we pay the price for a new stadium? Either Ziggy builds it or the taxpayers but not both. If the taxpayers build it with a commitment from the Vikings (Lease) than the taxpayers own it and get a bigger percentage.I’m tired of these wealthy owners making money off the taxpayers! And lets build a stadium that last more than 20 years.Maybe we shuold own our own team like the Packers.We should’nt allow teams to be held “hostage”everytime they want a new stadium.Let the whole state feel the benefit of a new stadium not just the businesses around it or the city its in.

    • Nivek

      Can’t have more than 32 owners per NFL team.

  • You Decide

    It is a luxury to have professional sports teams and this is a cost that goes with it. Is the price tag to high? Most people who have posted seem to think so. There are plenty of other cities that would love to have a football team.

  • LA Vikings

    The LA Vikings. Has a nice ring to it. We are putting the cart before the horse on this issue. We cannot spend any money on a stadium until our books are balanced. We have a 6.2 billion dollar deficit. Only fools would discuss funding a stadium when we cannot get a budget to balance. Raise taxes? Democrats love that idea because they believe the government owns everything already. Cut entitlements? Great idea but Dayton will never go for it. Forget the stadium and look at cutting all the waste. Limit welfare to 2 years maximum. Balance the budget first then maybe we can talk stadium.

    • Dawn

      But without the stadium, our budget will go even further in the hole. Can you imagine all the Income tax, Property tax, Unemployment tax Payroll tax, etc etc that the state of Minnesota brings in because of our stadiums and the professionals who play here? Not to mention further unemployment without these stadiums. Just the construction of a new stadium generates a lot of income to Minnesota. People have to get their blinders off and look deeper into the picture.

  • Wesly

    The question should be how much of a tourist attraction each of these events are and how much would people spend to go somewhere else if these events were not here.
    The story also missed the University renovating Williams Arena and the Sports Pavilion as well as building Marriuci and Ridder arenas Midway stadium was built at the same time. Decc in Duluth was redone, St Cloud’s arena, There are probably more on the colelge level, countless city ones

  • Scott

    All said and done…We need to build a new stadium…yes at the tax payers expense but when it comes right down to it..we are not going to really see much differnce…And yes the owner could build one but there not going to when other states are willing to build one for them..lots of jobs would be lost not only that but hotels..people eating dinner downtown..And what they forget to leave out…all these high paid players everytime they come to the state and play here have to pay taxs…they for get to metion that…and that alone is a lot of in come coming into the state…when you have 18 million dollar a year players coming to minnesota they have to pay taxs her on there in come…Tell ou what you people with be the first one complaing when the Vikings leave and people are out of jobs place closeing down town…again I think the owners should build there own..but if I am a owner and I have another state that wants my team to come there why not..And hey dont forget the tax breaks we give for major company to move to MN how come your not complaing about that…

  • MD

    If YOU build it, they will come

  • Reagan

    8 games?? Were not going to lose $hit, if they leave

    • Really?

      What about the rest of the events that go on in the Metrodome all throughout the year? Monster trucks, motocross, NCAA basketball? Still not losing “$hit”?

      • Big Game

        Not to mention Super Bowls. Look at where the SB is has been played in the past/next few years:

        2008 – NEW STADIUM (U of Phoenix)
        2010 –
        2011 – NEW STADIUM (Cowboy’s Stadium, Packers vs. Steelers)
        2012 – NEW STADIUM (Lucas Oil)
        2013 –
        2014 – NEW STADIUM (New Meadowlands Stadium, NJ)
        2015 – New Vikings Stadium?

        How much money do you think is being spent down in Arlington, TX for just this one game?

  • John Sherman

    Its interesting always how much did it cost which is in the DNA of Minnesotans as when they look at something which part of the glass is full so look at a different glass How much in revrenue for the cities do they produce and how much tax revenue is generated. One might remember that CCO and Shelby as well as the papers said that the Mall of America would too be an economic failure?

  • wake up

    are you really that closed minded? let’s calculate the income tax those 8 games generate….and for $hits and giggles the other 2 pre-season games.

    for the sake of argument, let’s just say the average player on a team makes a median income of $1M per game multiply that by 53 players times 2. Income taxes on $106M times 10 games, and that is low balling it. now throw in all of the coaches and staff.

    there wasn’t this much controversy over the twins stadium because there are so many games etc. wake up, the income tax revenue generated by the vikings in 10 games, is more than the twins generate all season.

    we all saw what happened when the stars left…….i suppose ignorance is bliss in your world.

    • Fred

      Over the life of the stadium at the highest tax rate for the 700000000 they said it would cost the state to build a damned err domed stadium it would take $8,974,358,974 of people salaries to pay for it. If the life was 30 years that would be 300 million a year of high end wages to pay for it. Never going to be payed for by the revenue generated by player, coaches, staff salaries. The corporate taxes on the profits would not put the slightest dent in it.

    • Howie T

      BS wake up – the Twins generate a helluva lot more tax revenue. You use a pretty narrow minded window — like forget we talking 72 more fricken game dates alone. You don’t think they eat at home, walk to the stadium, drink free public water now do you? Add the gazillions whom attend the various team functions, fund raisers etc ….. due, it is not remotely close. That said – I was also against the Twins stadium too. Still am – but at least I got some bang for my tax buck as I at least listen to 150 games a year if not more. On an hourly basis a cheap thrill.
      Go Vikes – just fricken go if you want a stinkin’ nickel from me. GO

      • Limo Driver

        Yet the Pohlad family had enough money to purchase the Ford Center next to the stadium the day after the stadium deal was signed. That’s really like insider trading, knowing the value just went up.

  • Kevin

    Here is what I want to know. Because some of my money, albeit miniscule, went into building some of these stadiums, can I go down and use them or be in them when I want to (obviously except for when games are going on) due to the fact that they are partly mine?

    That is to say, I don’t think the general public would mind paying more for these stadiums if the general public had more say in how they are run and whether the general public could use them when they were not being used by the teams that use them. For example, since the public (the taxpayers of the city of Minneapolis) paid a considerable amount for the Twins stadium, why couldn’t a bunch of kids of parents who pay taxes in Minneapolis go down there on a saturday when the Twins weren’t playing and play a game of baseball.

    Or, in other words, PUBLIC money should mean PUBLIC stadiums!

    • Really?

      Wow. Then how do we get a return on our investment? You should be a banker.

  • Phil

    So my comment is…
    When all of these stadiums were proposed there was a dollar amount given for the total cost. Then we have to spend years discussing it and in the end it cost’s us double of what the first proposal was. Jason why not look at what the first bid was, and compare it to what we ended up paying. I bet all of the time it’s double. My guess is if we would have approved the Twins stadium with a retractable roof at the beginning we would have paid less than we did and now have no retractable roof. Which in my opinion is C-r-a-z-y.

  • Limo Driver

    Does anyone every stop and think about the players/staff/owners that do NOT have Minnesota residency to avoid MN Income taxes?

    One Viking player bragged about living in FL to avoid income taxes… “what I saved in income taxes the first year paid for my FL home.” Yet the rest of us are expected to pay taxes to fund these stadiums – to make players/owners rich.

  • laura

    I’d like to know how much of TCF stadium has been paid for my students? U of M students pay a stadium fee every semester. How much extra money is being borrowed in student loans to cover this fee? It may only be $12.50/student/semester, but it all adds up. How much revenue does that stadium make in return?

  • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste

    Not a dime of public money

    • MD

      Good ol Mark from MN Panty Waste

  • Miked Up

    I get a kick out of people who make dumb comments thinking just because they pitch in tax dollars to fund a stadium, they think they should have the right to free tickets or access to the building to use.

    You pay for schools, do you expect free access to them or free access to their sporting events? You pay for museums, do you ask for free access to them.

    You’ve heard of that moron from MN Tax Waste, now hear from Minnesotans Get a Clue

  • Lucky Texas

    From WCCO article: “Arlington, Tx. is on quite a sports run. The city hosted the NBA All-Star game last February, the World Series in October and gets a plum event with this week’s Super Bowl…”

    I wonder how much $ money $ the city of Arlington and the state of Texas have made with these events alone? Probably a lot. Pass the bill.

    • Fred

      not enough to pay for a palace

      • Matt T

        I like the source idea. Check this out this source.

        Can you count up all they ways the government taxes the people/organizations that use these stadium? It is a lot!

        Did you know that visiting teams have to pay MN income taxes?

        This was just in 2001 too!

      • Derf

        Thanks Fred for your baseless comment. Where is your source?

        Check this out Fred:

        Here are my favorite quotes, just for you:

        “The numbers in the report illustrate the power of the new ballpark to boost revenue for both the team and the city, which stands to earn about $23.4 million annually in stadium taxes in the first 22 years…”

        That adds up to $514.8 million in 22 years, for a baseball stadium.

        “Once inside the ballpark, fans will spend more on food, alcohol and souvenirs, up from about $15.83 per fan last season to $22.26 in 2008, the report said.”

        “Because the projected stadium tax revenue is higher than city officials anticipated, they now expect about $58 million annually from all four funding sources, even though the debt service payment will be only $38 million. City officials said the extra $20 million a year could be used to pay off the debt early or put toward other needs. ”

        What could MN do with an extra $20 million a year?

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  • Skye

    Hey Jason from WCCO, what did it cost for the Franshise fees to bring those pro sports back to the twin Cities. We lost the North Stars and the Lakers, and had to pay franchise fees not just building new stadiums. Forbes ranked NFL franchises and the Vikings were 31st out of 32 teams and that was in 2009 with their winning season. The last team to be added to the NFL was Texans and it cost $700 Million and that was in 2002. What would a new franchise fee cost today or in ten years if we lost the Vikings. When the Vikings became a team in 1961 there was a $1 Million franchise fee. Could we ever afford to bring them back, or the bigger question can we afford to lose them?

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