Reality Check: Job Claims For New Vikings Stadium

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — On Tuesday, the state legislature resumes hearings on a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, just as the Viking ramp-up an ad campaign.

The ad claims construction of a stadium in Arden Hills alone could bring thousands of jobs.

The ads, which run on television and in last weekend’s Twin Cities newspapers, build a case for “Why A Lousy Economy Can Be A Good Time To Build A Stadium.”

“We can put Minnesotans back to work, with over 7,000 jobs, and $300 million in wages. We can help build Minnesota businesses,” said the television ad, which cuts scenes of Vikings games old and new with construction projects (in Minneapolis).


Those numbers may not be as far off as they might sound. And there’s actually recent history to back up the Vikings job claims.

Target Field in Minneapolis cost $506 million, which is half the Vikings stadium $1.1 billion price tag.

The company that built Target Field — Mortenson Construction — said it employed a total of 3500 workers.

At the height of stadium construction, a spokesman for the Minnesota Twins said 850 workers were on-site every day.

Mortenson Construction estimates a Vikings stadium will take:

4,255,201 work hours to complete.
7,500 trades people, including 1875 at peak construction.

Breaking it down more, the company estimates the top 4 trades jobs:

Ironworkers 1,347
Carpenters 1,337
Electricians 1,236
Laborers 1,030


At $1.1 billion, a Vikings stadium could be the single largest construction project EVER in Minnesota.

The previous most expensive project in Minnesota is thought to be the 3rd nuclear reactor at Xcel Energy plant in Monticello, which cost $1 billion in the 1980s.

At the same time, the taxpayer investment could be the largest public subsidy ever.
Supporters call it a billion dollar stimulus package.

“There are thousands of jobs,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “People who are not working in this state in the construction industry, who would be put to work on this project for the next three or four years.”


Unemployment for construction workers is among the highest of any industry in the state with 50,000 construction workers who lost their jobs in this recession. The 7500 Vikings stadium jobs would barely put a dent in that.

Whether it is a proper use of public money — taxpayer dollars to build a football stadium — is a separate question.

That’s Reality Check.

Click on the links below to check the resources used for this Reality Check.

Minnesota Vikings Stadium Drive
Minnesota Economy At A Glance
Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Numbers (PDF)
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Building Trades
FAQ Xcel Energy Nuclear Plant
MN Twins Target Field Financing (PDF)

More from Pat Kessler
  • Michelle Obaba

    NO, no , no!!! PK how bad of report are you 1 billion in the 80s is 4.5 billion now. Come one man, get a life with your ridiculous reporting. The Queens generate less income tax than the bonds would require. They ARE NET ZERO at best. The stadium for the purple queens is a rapping the tax payer. Just say NO!!!

  • A Voter

    All this fuss over temporary jobs, nobody gave a damn when the state lost permanent jobs at Whirlpool, American Hoist & Derrick, and Northwest Airlines
    to name a few. How many of these workers will be brought in from other states like they’ve done in the past for highway construction?

  • lzzrdgrrl

    Don’t care what you say, a construction job is not a job……

    You’re still a contract worker and you’re employed ony as long as the project is in effect. Once it’s over, unemployment again……

    And the Arden Hills site is STILL a toxic waste dump. It could cost a cool billion just to clean it up and I don’t know if the Superfund program for this sort of lark is still available……

    Bring back the Ford plant – there’s your real jobs and your positive casg flow…..

    • John

      some of whom may only be there for a day or two to lay some pipe or something but they count that as a job created.

      • Haiat

        Unbelievable Halfway thurogh this article, I was sure it was written for comic relief. How many contradictory studies can you feed to the American public and expect them to believe any of them?One of my favorites was that the ADP report sparked a surge in the stock market even though their numbers don’t often sync with the official DOL numbers. HA!!! And even more hilarious, Deutsche Bank and Capital Economics decided to quickly adjust their own [factual?] numbers to be more in line with this new report.Exactly a year ago, in doing research for my book from Bedlam to Boardroom How to get an executive career back on track! I spent weeks sifting thurogh BLS and DOL and mortgage industry data and online economy sites to come up with correct numbers of unemployment and jobs. It was nearly impossible to sync data from any 3 sources.Direct phone calls to the economists inside these organizations were an exercise in disillusionment with several hemming and hawing about the reasons they couldn’t get good data in this rapidly changing economy. And a year later, it’s obviously the same story This article points out one more example of experts distributing conflicting data that is unusable for research or decision-making. On the other hand, I did enjoy the comic relief.

    • jackactionhero

      The paychecks are real. I’ve heard they can even cash them at the bank and spend the money.

      They’re jobs. I know people who want them.

  • Dave

    According to the 2010 census,
    they median income of a Ramsey County house hold is less than $50,000 a year, the lowest in the metro area. I think Ramsey county would be better off trying to bring in permanent jobs into the county, the Arden Hills site than tax the citizens it already has just to please million dollar players and owners. After the stadium is built the jobs it will bring will be no more than poverty level wages. Transfer the site into a wild life refuge or bring in some decent manufacturing jobs.
    The other choice is to let those who use it pay for it, players and fans. Anyway, tickets will be so high that only the well off will be able to go.

  • angus

    Readers, remember: CCO has their audience as white, financially secure, plus 60 crowd. Those people are not worried about jobs, they just want their toys and if other people suffer, they don’t really care.

    However, CCO is careful to have a nice Christian service every Sunday for their audience so they can all claim to be good Christians.


    SERIOUSLY????? All these jobs will get pushed to every union in the area, unions that already drain every contract that the state and county give to them. When the job could be done in less time for less money the the sleazy union workers clock in overtime hours to make sure that they can squeeze every single penny out. How do I know this? I have heard many union cement workers brag about playing poker at the TCF Bank stadium while they were supposed to be on the clock working just to drain the hours and money from the job bid. Enough with the new stadium, it is honestly not what the state needs. The Metrodome is fine!!!!!

    • jimmy

      “I have heard”

      Whenever you see those words you know what ever follows will be pure fiction. No difference in this case.

      Union construction workers have no seniority, they either produce from the first day their on the job or they’re gone.

  • Brad

    In this economy a job is a job. All construction jobs depend on another project coming along. Right now that is not happening. A job at the Vikings stadium is better than collecting unemployment.

    • The REAL, real Jake

      But not efficient use of dollars in job creation. To spend that kind of money on basically a temporary job does not benefit the tax payer or fee payer ( they’re one and the same). So anyone a with a basic understanding in business or economics would NEVER do this with their own funds for such a small and temporary return UNLESS THEY WERE USING OTHER PEOPLE”S MONEY! More verbal shell game.

  • Best3800

    The stadium will create 7500 hundred jobs we don’t have at this are jobs, 3or4years of employment is a job in my book, by the time the project is complete hopefully the economy is back on track. I see some of you are concerned about a few wasted hours of labor on a billion dollar project! Now that’s a warped way of thinking, must be the union haters on Fox that influence that way of thinking.I’ve never been a union guy but they have there place in our society.Unions didn’t kill the economy, Republicans and GWB did!

  • Jill

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


    Sometimes when a scam artist is trying to take your money, they will lie to you.

    • jackactionhero

      Why do the other major cities have multiple professional sports teams then?

      Please be specific.

      I want to know why other cities are tripping over themselves to get a professional sports franchise, but Minnesotans want to kick one out. Are you able to explain? Somehow I doubt it.

  • MrBB

    Build it, build it, build it, build it…………

    • Ahmad

      One is always in the miinroty when one stands up for what is right.What in the hell does that even mean? Are you trying to construct the Least Inspirational Quote Ever?

  • mark

    Another BS story, the main workers will be the people who, clean. sell hot dogs etc. Yes we will need those skilled workers to build the stadium, but after their done they are gone. We need manufacturing plants built. Pat I thought you couldn’t go lower, but you proved me wrong, well done.

    • Rocket Scientist

      Wow, there is an epiphany, when a job is completed, the worker is no longer needed.

  • Mike

    I am totally against taxpayers financing any stadium for an owner that can finance it themselves, but since this is going to happen whether we like it or not, then my only concern would be that the people hired would have to be here in the U.S. legally and that they only hire all construction workers from the State of Minnesota

  • I'm Just Sayin

    I am starting to agree with all the “no”sayers. I mean we do not need all those food service, hotel, parking, and police jobs for the 13 games a year they play. Take away all the front office jobs, the support jobs for the stadium, and the practice facility and of course the TV coverage jobs, the taxes paid by the team and all the jobs mentioned above, we do not need all of that. Let;s just let it all go away and we can find some other place to get the money to give to education, roads, and we most certainly do not need all the money the players and the team give out of their own pockets to charity.

    • I'm Just Stupid

      The money could be spent elsewhere. For example the state spends part of the 600 million of tax money for a new paper plant. The paper plant provides jobs in the plant, The plant provides jobs in the community providing it with pulp. People in the plant and surrounding area spend their money in the community creating more jobs. The plant provides nice soft toilet paper, butts everywhere in Minnesota are happier.
      The money goes for a stadium. The owner lives elsewhere, spends the profit elsewhere. Players live elsewhere in the off season, spend money elsewhere. No jobs created from he money spent.

  • Rockfish

    Regardless of the facts, the anti crowd continues to say no. Build it. Uninformed populace is the reason we need to repeal public referendums. The average voter is not educated enough on the facts of an issue to make an informed dicision.

    • I'm Just Stupid

      Considering Jill’s point above, what fact did those website’s miss? Your answer ought to be very entertaining or full of what the paper plant provides gentle removal of.

    • jackactionhero

      Boy, isn’t that the truth…

  • Reality Checking Reality Check: Vikings Stadium Job Creation #wilfare | The Deets

    […] addressed the issue, but didn’t really get to reality in his his report. Here’s an excerpt: The company that built Target Field — Mortenson Construction — said it employed a total of […]

  • What reality do you live in?

    Reality Check? You need to check in with reality once in a while. The Monticello Nuclear plant was built in the late 60’s and only has one reactor there not three.

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