Good Question: How Much Will Minn. Lose If Vikings Leave?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If the Minnesota Vikings left Minnesota, there would be a loss to the economy both directly and indirectly. But how severe that loss is depends on your perspective.

So, how much do Vikings players pay in income taxes?

According to the team, Vikings players paid $10 million in state withholding taxes in 2010. Staff and coaches paid $1.5 million. Also, visiting NFL players pay a percentage of their salary in income tax to Minnesota, in 2010 that came to about $1 million.

How much does the state make in game day taxes?

In 2010, tickets led to $3 million in sales taxes. Tickets also provided $4.4 million in an admissions tax that goes to the sports commission.

Also, the sales and use tax on merchandise sales in the stadium was $100,000. Concession sales led to $400,000 in tax receipts. Liquor led to $300,000 in 2010, along with city of Minneapolis liquor taxes of $200,000.

The total in direct contributions from the Vikings games to Minnesota is about $21.5 million.

If the state paid $650 million for a new stadium in Arden Hills, it would take 31 years to recoup that money, at a rate of $21.5 million per year.

• What kind of impact does each game have on other businesses?

The University of Minnesota extension service did an analysis of the impact of a 2010 Vikings playoff game, and put that amount at about $5.8 million.

They only include the 25,000 out-of-metro visitors to the games, because economists believe that local residents would simply shift their spending to other activities rather than stop the spending entirely if the Vikings left.

In that playoff game, visitors spent $1.5 million on restaurants, $1.4 million on hotels, $1.2 million on retail, along with $720,000 on entertainment, $657,000 on transportation, and $211,000 on parking.

For a regular season game, the impact would likely be less than the money spent on one playoff game, according to researchers.

Still, $50 million would be a sizable impact for 10 dates.

To compare that to other local events: Meet Minneapolis said the 2011 American Legion convention brought 12,000 people to town, with an economic impact $13.572 million.

In economic impact, Minnesota would need four of those major conventions to equal an entire season of Vikings games.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • Sam

    There certainly would be a loss in taxes paid by players and coach, as well as by visitors.
    To round the number out, let’s say that the visitors are paying 10% taxes. That’s an extra $5 million in taxes.
    Still well over 20 years to pay off the new stadium. The Dome is now 30 years old and we’ve had people telling us that it’s needed replacing for several years.
    Are the Twin Cities going to see a return on this investment before we’re told we need a new stadium?

    As for the rest of the expenditures (locals buying tickets, going to restaurants, etc…), this is disposable income that will be spent; if not on a game ticket, a few beers, a hot dog, drinks after the game, etc… then on a meal, a ticket to a movie/concert/what-have-you, etc…
    There will definitely be a shift in the way the money is spent, but it will be spent.

    • Otto

      Good points, but intentions are that the new stadium will be used as a year-round venue for many activities. That will increase the impact of the stadium on the tax rolls and reduce the time to recoup the state’s cost to build.

      As for the money not spent on the Vikings by the fans, it is true that the money will be spent, but it has a higher likelyhood of being spent out of state on vacations. That equates to lost tax revenue to the state, increasing the impact of losing the Vikings.

      It seems to me that the loss of the Vikings will have a greater impact than building a stadium to keep them

      • Big Bob

        Actually, Sam is correct, Otto. Regarding your first point, we already have enough venues. The new stadium would merely take revenue away from those facilities. The result would be no new reveue from the new facility (only a shift of revenue). As for your second point, this seems unlikely. Disposable entertainment dollars are more likely to be spent locally. Paying the additional travel expenses (which would actually be more than the dolloars spent on the Vikings) woulld probably offset any loss of the entertainment dollars (gas taxes, airline fees, etc.) The Vikings actually represent a drain on the economy because our local entertainment dollars are taken out of state by the non-local Wilfs. Substituting other entertainiment for the Vikings would probably result in a greater share of dollars spent remaining local.

        • Rockford

          No, you are off base but nice try.

      • ray

        good ,you pay for it, they are losers so wy spend all that money,s a small group of people get it?

        • Brian

          2 years ago we almost made the Superbowl. Let’s not go down that route.

      • Ordinary Guy

        Look the Vikes and sports are fun, sure. But that’s it. How many kids do they inspire to grow up just like them? Millions. But how many will make it to any level of professional sports employment as a result. Nation-wide, thousands. It’s a wicked promise.

        Money invested in scientific facilities and scholarships for our brightest few, with community payback clauses, would create the jobs for all of us average dorks and our kids for generations to come. Sports and PE are great, but they have to take their place in government priorities.

  • Robert Read

    Ok so help me understand. It says the direct contibutions are 21.5M and then it says 50M to other bisinesses from out of state visiters. Would that not be 71.5M per year.

  • Wonder man

    People would (hopefully) spend the extra money and time on their kids or upgrading their houses, etc.

    We would save money in the long run because of the security costs, traffic snarls and tax write-offs for business with luxury boxes.

    In the end, we would be better off without them, so we can focus on family and eliminate business perks at taxpayer expense.

    • Missy

      Great comment I couldn’t have said as good as you did!!!

      It is appalling that these multi-millionaires owners come after tax-payer money to build these stadiums. I have always been against spending ANY taxpayer money on stadiums. Would this be called bail out money? Remember this when they are bidding on Olympics cuz you know who would have to pay for that! If it is funded by tax payers in ANY form, all profits go back into the general fund to pay for all the infrastructure, police, etc… that comes with having these stadiums.

      • Scott Funk

        Absolutely correct, Missy.

    • Really

      Your delusional if you think this will have this type of effect. This will not make people focus on family any more than they do today. Its a week assumption at best.

      The costs you refer to are less than a drop in the bucket compared to the review it generates.

      Just say you don’t like the Vikings and don’t want a stadium. At least it would more honest than making ridicules claims.

  • Scott Funk

    I have a related question. How much money does Minnesota make after taking into account the increased crime, infrastructure support, tax breaks, etc? Basically, what’s our take after we cover the bills?

    • Ellen

      amen to this! It costs plenty for the extra security etc. And you can bet that
      the players get a lot of their tax BACK from the state when they file their taxes.
      But of course “they” don’t want us to know that.

      • Rocks in her head

        Glad Ellen is using hard numbers to back up her position.

  • Jack

    With how much the Vikings cost the taxpayers in court costs due to all the trouble with the law they get into, I’d say losing the Vikings would be cheaper. Bye. See ya. Stop teasing us with the threats to leave and just LEAVE already! That is, if you can find anyone to take you…

  • Taxes & Jobs dont mix

    Republicans say it themselves more then any party, Taxes kill Jobs. Please raise taxes an build the stadium and kill more Jobs republican controlled house & senate. Please sales sales tax, expand gambling to pay for a stadium. In the mean time,

    Minn. Burns Future Tobacco Cash For Budget Fix Now….
    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s government is about to give up $1.1 billion in future payments from tobacco companies so it can get about half as much money now for a temporary budget fix.

    The budget needs a fix, please use gambling revenue to pay for a stadium.

  • chas

    They don’t add money to the economy, they just change its’ location, right? It seems the whole issue is which group of businesses get our money. And the concept of putting it up to a vote adds an element of uncertainty that no business wants.

  • angus

    How about that! I have apparently been censorey since I do not agree with WCCO. NO freedom of speech with CCO

  • Elaine

    I agree with those who say that folks will just spend their money elsewhere!
    Maybe they would buy a new car, pay down their mortgage, improve their
    living situation.

    I don’t understand how folks can spend money like they do on sports events
    like these! Tickets, food, parking, clothing etc. And then they complain about
    how tough things are in this down economy??

    • Matt

      People will NOT spend their money elsewhere! The people who buy the tickets do so because they like to watch football. If the vikings leave they will be at home watching it on TV, and NOT going to a restaurant/theater. Just because the vikings leave, doesn’t mean the people who actually go to the games will stop watching football. There will be no new money spent on Sunday afternoons! Plus, how are they going to buy a new car or improve their living situation with the ‘added’ $100? It’s not like people are spending $15,000 on vikings tickets.

      I buy vikings tickets and I know I’ll be at home watching games on Sundays, not spending it on other things.

    • Karen

      People enjoy going to see a professional football game whether it be football, hockey, baseball, etc. If you don’t attend, you will never understand the draw. Please don’t generalize about ‘they complain about how tough things are in this down economy’. You simply cannot put all sports fans in that category.

  • mom2kp

    There is one thing not mentioned here – loss of jobs. A lot of people will lose their jobs if the Vikings leave. The stadium has paid employees and non-profit groups that work every game. That is a lot of loss of income. My work at the Metrodome & Target Field pay for my childrens educations.

  • Incomplete reporting Jason

    Jason, you missed the boat here. If you want to “report” the news instead of “lobbying” in favor of a new Vikings stadium, you should offer some comparisons, e.g. How much in tax revenue comes from 3M, or Target, or Cargill. We’d like to compare that to your figures for the Vikings. (What if you threw Delta into the comparision – should the politicians have done something to keep them here? What was the tax impact of that?)

    Also, of the companies mentioned above, how many jobs does each provide in Minnesota and what are the comparisons of pay scales and benefits?

    When you start comparing apples to apples, and take into account that it will take 31 years of Viking revenue to cover the amount they want MN to cover, AND – as some other have pointed out – the extra cost associated with extra police, refuse removal, etc., etc., there really is no financial reason whatsoever to keep the Vikings in Minnesota.

    Zygi needs to pay 100% for what Zygi wants — and leave the people of Minnesota out of it!

    • Otto

      Also, let’s see what actual dollar impact it would have on the average taxpayer. Kinda like what they do when asking for tax levies for school districts. It might change some minds…either way, for or against.

    • mn12345

      Someone else made a comment on another thread that said Zygi wanted to be in Arden Hills so that he could build “Zygi land”.

      It never dawned on me. I could not figure out why in the world they wanted to be in Arden Hills where there is “nothing”. Where it would not benefit those flying into town.

      Not that we know for sure, but it sure does make sense.

      We pay for the stadium and he builds an empire for himself.

      Corporate greed. Corporate welfare.

    • I'd like free money too

      Does that mean we won’t expand gaming so we can pass some of those proceeds to 3M, Target, Cargill, et al to encourage them to stay in MN?

      But we’ll do that for a billionaire to keep his millionaire entertainment team and beer-swizzling tailgaters here though, right?

  • bobby

    Am I the only sports fan that reads CCO? Look what happened with the North Stars. We let them leave, and then what? Seven years later we bring a new team in to teh state. Does anyone know the cost of recruiting an expansion team, or luring an existing team to move here? And then building a new stadium in 10 years will cost us even more. The longer we drag our feet on this, the more it will cost in the long run. get it done now.

    • Kate 4 Vikings

      And the sad thing is … we’ll never get it back, b/c the NFL doesn’t expand into small markets like ours. They’re not moving to Sioux Falls, or Des Moines, or Wichita … they’re moving to LA. Huge market. When small markets lose, it’s forever.


      Get it done, though not through mandatory taxes. Through voluntary options like gambling. Then all you hosers who are against the stadium can stay all righteous in your non-support of it, while those of us who want it can help it happen. It’s a win-win!!

      • Guy

        And who is on the hook if your “voluntary options” don’t volunteer? What if nobody wants to gamble in your casino?

        As long as the Vikes are on the hook for any shortfalls in revenue – fine.
        If not then – GO VIKES … GO AWAY!

    • George


  • can't stop it

    Its gonna happen. No matter how many uneducated comments are left on news websites. Get over it

    • Scott Funk

      What, pray tell, makes you think not supporting paying out for a new stadium means we are uneducated? Ever stopped to wonder what the real state take is on a team after we get done paying for all the infrastructure (cops, electricity, roads etc) that come with having a stadium and a team in the first place?

  • mn12345

    With all of the costs of a new stadium and those people listed above there is no stadium that pays for itself in a lifetime. If you look it up on the internet there are many economic sources that will show you this.

    I truly do not want them to leave, but I think it is time for us to quit giving welfare to the rich.

    These players and the owners did not truly pay that in taxes. The loopholes kept them from having to do that. I would like to know where those numbers came from.

  • NO STADIUM!!!!!! GO TO L.A.


    • Craig

      Your caps lock is stuck again.
      And so are your question mark and exclamation point keys.

    • Otto

      What makes you believe for a second that any taxes will go down if they leave.

  • Don

    Think about it, we will pay either way so why not have sometihing for the $21+million a year? If they do not build a stadium then who do you think the state will turn to for making up the $21mill in lost revenue? The middle class taxk payers, so we will pay either way so why not get something for that money? Is that so hard to understand?

    • Easy peasy don

      For you, apparently it is so hard to understand.

      There are a lot of unknown “if’s” in the equation but, just sticking to the way it was reported in the story, the $21 million a year in cost to the people of MN is supposedly offset by the $21 million a year in revenue taken in from the Vikings & company.

      Your understanding stops there. You need to add a few things to the expense side such as:

      * extra wear and tear on the infrastructure
      * extra police
      * extra repairs, maintenance, replacement
      * extra this, that, and the other things

      There is no net “gain” for MN to own a stadium. The age old rhetorical question: If a stadium is such a good deal, why does Zygi want you and I to buy it instead of him? Duh.

      The state wouldn’t be considering a $650+ million “solution” for any other private enterprise in Minnesota so why should it be considered for Zygi? And for those who cry “jobs,” which entities provide MORE jobs, higher paying jobs, jobs with benefits, and longer term jobs – the Vikings or Target, 3M, Cargill, Boston Scientific, United Health Care, and on and on and on. In comparison, the Vikings provide a big whopping ZIP. And don’t forget, the owners and players are already far richer than the majority of MN residents will ever be.

      Zygi has more options for finding financing for his stadium than the state of MN does. It always comes down to this: Why should he spend his own money if he can spend yours instead?

      Now is that so hard to understand?

      • and another thing ...

        And for those who cry “we’ll lose the revenue if the Vikings leave,” well … duh … we also “lose” all the associated expense – which many would argue exceeds the revenues anyway.

        So, if they leave, there would actually be a net financial GAIN to the state of MN.

        • Smarter than you- gauranteed

          Wrong!! I’d bet a years salary against yours on that. and I bet my salary is quite a bit higher than yours.

          • Scott Funk

            You MIGHT want to learn how to spell before you start claiming intelligence.

  • Exp

    The metrodome is 30 years old and they want to leave it because it’s too outdated. This new stadium will be 31 before we see a positive tax gain. By then they’ll want a new one, again. So, net gain for MN: $0.00. In fact we’re liable to lose money because if we cough up the cash up front, we’ll have to pay interest on it until we see the payback.

  • Don

    A nw stadium would add many new revenue streams. Many new jobs at a time we need jobs. If the Vikings move we would lose jobs, the chance for hugh events to be held in Minnesota. Many people think of Minneapolis as a second class city now. I think there is a solution out there. People should think of this as a Minnesota stadium, not just a Viking stadium. I would sell part of the team, if I was owner to generate enough to get the deal done. Other opions are out there.

    • lefthand side

      Professional football brings class to our state? HAHA! Pass the Dutchie this way!

      • Guy

        Yep – can’t get any classier than Chris Cook .. girlfriend beater & thug du jour

  • Robert

    There are no economic benefits to taxpayer subsidized stadiums. Anyone who tells you different is lying.


  • Me

    The economic benifits to having and NFL franchise are enormous. they just spelled out the direct contributions, and the indirect contributions are enormous as well. Though i am not going bother wasting my breath. the people of this state just rejected paying a few extra dollars to improve education for children.You people are beyond ignorant. And by the way, what are some indirect impacts?? Lose the NFL and watch the Best Buys, medtronics, 3M,s and other corprorations pull up stakes and move their head quarters elsewhere over the next 15 years. Morons! The economics of this are far beyond your comprehensions

  • Jeffrey

    For those of you who do not want a stadium, I sincerely hope you have never been to Target field. I live in Hennepin County and helped pay for that even though I did not have a choice and guess what? It was worth it – it is a beautiful stadium. How soon we forget. Are we suppose to tear that down now that the Twins had a losing record? Because according to another post, they have a losing record so they don’t deserve a stadium. Give me a break. Move to a state that doesn’t have a football stadium if you are so worried about it. I hear there are multiple job openings in North Dakota. Look at the numbers from the Star Tribune last weekend, more people favor keeping them here than don’t. I think the other piece is tradition. Some families have traditions based around watching Vikings games and that is important. I will not put any of my “Vikings” money toward metro restaurants, etc. I will take it and go to another state and spend it there so I can watch a football game in person.

  • I'm Just Sayin'

    I love the argument that you should not spend “my tax money supporting millionaires.” Great I agree, and my tax money should not be spent on carpetbagger free loaders. Really, if you think you can dictate that your and my tax money should not be spent on a new stadium, then why can I not specify that we can not allow anymore out of staters on MN care, or welfare, or in shelters that my taxes helped to pay for? I am not a Vikings fan and hardly ever watch a game, but I know people that really enjoy it and I have no problem with spending penneys on a hundred dollars to support their fun.

  • Anthony

    I think that there is more of an economic impact than just the numbers of how much it costs and how much revenue is brought back into Minnesota. Have the people of Minnesota thought about the economic impact that the Vikings players, organization and NFL as an organzation has donates to local charities. They donate millions of dollars to our local charities not to mention all the time spent at the local children hospitals and fundraisers. Who will make up for this loss that has not been mentioned or even examined from all the coverage that has been ongoing. I know from experience from cancer benifits and local fundraising for organizations locally that the Vikings always donate items to be auctioned. Well guess what? They go for the most money and make the most profit for these benefits. What will replace that? I know there is no other organization or business in this state that can make up the loss these orginazations will take. We all pay for things we do not support in this state. My taxes can pay for the Vikes and a MINNESOTA stadium ,and your taxes can pay for all the other broken programs and things I think are a waste of my tax dollars.

  • john

    The taxes reported here by players and coaches are WITHHOLDINGS paid to the state. What is the actual LIABILITY of these players and the coaches? In other words how much actually stayed in the states coffers? I’d guess much less than the amount reported here.

    • Think a little

      Oh thats right, most everyone gets most of their withholdings back at tax time dont they. Right… THINK PEOPLE!

  • GO TO L.A.


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