MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota lawmakers are showing a deep reluctance to wade into another stadium debate at the Capitol.
That’s after Major League Soccer awarded a professional franchise to a group of Minnesota investors, who may ask for public stadium funding — the same kind of funding every other professional sports team got.
It’s no wonder MLS might want public stadium funding. Since 1998, Minnesota taxpayers put up more than $1 billion for new sports facilities.
The Minnesota Vikings stadium is the biggest of them all, with the state providing $498 million to the billon-dollar project.
But the stadium building boom began with the $170 million Xcel Energy Center. $130 million of that was public money.
In 2006, money went to two stadiums. The state kicked in $137 million for TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota, and $355 million for the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
And it’s not over yet. The St. Paul Saints are about to open their new season in a new ballpark, with $55 million in public money.
We’re talking about public funding from the legislature for five stadiums in 17 years. A new soccer stadium would make it six — an average of one new facility every three years.
A 20,000 seat soccer stadium in downtown Minneapolis would cost about $200 million.
But it’s stadium fatigue — and not just politics — that make this match hard to win.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and state legislative leaders of both parties say they will oppose public funding for a soccer stadium.