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October 26, 2004

Pohlad needs to do more

Well, I was up all last night working on that stupid Voter's Guide and I barely made a dent. There are a lot of races and a lot of people to research! I'll probably post what I have so far around lunch. I think I've taken care of about 30-40 of the races so far, and there are a bunch of races where there is no clear cut stadium supporter.

However, with this post I'd like to respond to a great set of comments by "oldstuffer" in which he laments Pohlad's cheap ways and suggests that if Pohald would be willing to make a more substantial contribution not to player payroll but to his own stadium then we could finally put this mess behind us. I would have to agree. One thing I have not done a good job on is putting pressure on the Twins themselves to help solve this problem. Of course, we all know it takes two to tango, and what we have seen so far is that the Twins want the state to shake their money maker while the team just sits back and complains that they don't want to dance (or at the very least limit their dancing to the white-man over bite).

We all know the story. In 1997 Pohlad goes before the legislature and promises approx. $100 of his own hard earned money to build a new stadium. The legislature quickly discovers that this contribution is nothing but a loan that Pohlad expects to be paid back for and the deal goes nowhere (to say the least). What kills me about this is that if Pohlad had been sincere, we probably would be enjoying outdoor baseball right now. I'm sure he would agree. However, Pohald has repeatedly said that he doesn't think he should have to pay for any of the new stadium. Much like the state legislature, in Pohald we truly have a person that is unwilling to negotiate. And when the two parties involved both are unwilling to negotiate ... well you have the situation we are in now.

Contrast this with how stadiums were build in Cleveland and Detroit. Especially Detroit. Mike Ilitch was sincere with his contribution of nearly 70% of his own money and the Michigan legislature quickly came up with the rest. The Cleveland Indians had to cough up approx. 52% of their own money to build Jacob's field. Heck, look at the financing of Ford Field for the Detroit Lions from the Vikings' own web site. The Ford family coughed up 70% of the stadium costs. The public only had to come up with $125 million. Oldstuffer lists the example of the SF Giants as his ideal model, but that may be out of reach. I believe the Giants payed for about 99% of PacBell Park. That is a little unrealistic for the Twins.

However, the point of all of this is that in today's climate of budget cuts, health care increases, homeland security, and all the rest the Twins and the Vikings are both going to have to make a substantial contribution to get stadiums built in Minnesota. How much would it take? I don't know. But I agree with Oldstuffer that a big contribution would go a long ways towards getting this mess solved and getting people to come back to Twins games. The $120 million that Pohlad keeps sticking with is weak and paltry compared to the overall costs of a stadium.

Having said that, I think it is obvious what needs to happen for a Twins stadium to finally be built. First of all, we need a sizable and sincere contribution from Pohald to get things started. Jesse Ventura wanted $165 million. That may be a good place to start. Secondly, we also need legislators willing to negotiate and recognize that the Twins are an important part of this community. Hopefully we can elect some Twins-friendly people November 2nd. With those two pieces in place we would have a new Twins stadium in 5 years. What are the chances for all of this? Probably zilch.

Posted by snackeru at October 26, 2004 7:19 AM | Stadiums

Comments

...a 2 year old document without the graphics, but this should give you some idea of the cost savings associated with a TwinDomes complex (formerly Adjoining Stadiums)

LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE

To satisfy the wants, needs, and expectations
of Minnesota’s Twins, Vikings, and Gophers
football program and their loyal fans…

TWO STAND-ALONE, RETRACTABLE-ROOF STADIUMS



Twins Ballpark Vikings/Gophers Stadium

$330 million (roof ready) Stadium $430 million
$40 million Land & Infrastructure $60 million
$90 million Retractable-Roof __________
$460 million Total $490 million


Grand Total -- $950 million


OR


ADJOINING STADIUMS
The functional equivalent of two retractable-roof stadiums

Stadiums $750 million
Land & Infrastructure $70 million

Grand Total -- $820 million

Prepared by A. A. (Tony) Spadafora July 26, 2002
Community Partnership Initiative Eden Prairie, Minnesota Phone/Fax: 952.829.5563 E-mail: cpi@cpinternet.com

Posted by: Tony Spadafora at October 26, 2004 12:04 PM

Shane-
In regards to your voter's guide; make sure everyone votes for George Bush since he has a secret deal with Randy Kelly to insure a ballpark in St. Paul in exchange for Kelly's endorsement. I also hear that Halliburton already has the contract to build the ballpark once the deal is done.
-Jim in St. Paul

Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at October 26, 2004 1:16 PM

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.... good one Jim. There might even been a grain of truth to it. (but it's Pawlenty that Kelly's trying to sway.)

Posted by: Tony Spadafora at October 26, 2004 3:13 PM

Tony Spadafora's website (www.twindomes.com) and especially the pdf-format report attached there are definitely worth a read. He makes a really good case for sorting out the contributions that can (should) reasonably be expected of the various sectors. I especially liked his assigning the value of naming rights and personal site licenses to the business and fan communities, who would make those contributions. Pohlad tried to claim those as his contributions in 1997.

I've done a fair amount of Pohlad-bashing over the past five years, but for some reason (or maybe for no reason) I'm guardedly optimistic that maybe he will change direction and decide that an INVESTMENT in a ballpark works for him on various levels. Maybe it is just the contrast with Red McCombs that makes him look good. He is based in the local community and his pride of ownership (Spadafora identified that as the major intangible benefit for team owners) seems to be defined differently than Red's. So what happens to your TwinDomes concept, Tony, if one owner buys in and the other doesn't. Can it work in phases, even if not quite as efficiently?

Shane, your comment on the Giants' owner picking up almost all of the tab for the SF ballbark is technically correct, but it gives him credit for naming rights, seat licenses, etc. And the public sector spent a significant amount on land and infrastructure improvements. So the overall formula there might not be so different from what Spadafora recommends. I haven't actually looked at the numbers to confirm that.

Posted by: oldstuffer at October 26, 2004 4:34 PM

oldstuffer.... thanks for the plug. A great deal of time and effort went into our proposal.

Naturally, to maximize the construction cost savings, both stadiums should be build at the same time.... how much more would it cost to split the project and more in all the heavy equipment twice?

The land & infrastructure cost savings would not be affected as much by a split project.

I'm hoping for new Vikings ownership soon after the current season (or maybe even sooner). It really makes no sense for Red to invest in a new stadium because of his short term ownership plans.

Hopefully, the next Vikings owner will still have access to G-3 funding from the NFL..... it's looking like the Cowboys and/or the Jets might be exhausting the fund's balance.

Posted by: Tony Spadafora at October 26, 2004 10:08 PM

I really don't believe that the owners for both the Twins and Vikings and the board at the "U" will ever get together at the same time for this project. The only way I could see this working is if Pohlad (or his successor) becomes a minority owner of the Vikings when Red sells, or vice versa, if the new Vikings owner gets partial ownership of the Twins if Pohlad sells. This seems a remote possibility.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at October 27, 2004 12:39 PM

Craig.... in our TwinDomes proposal we suggest the Gophers have free use of the Vikings stadium and all game-day revenues (tickets, concessions, parking, etc.)and not be required to make a stadium contribution. Their presence will enhance the value of "naming rights," in-house advertising, and private suites. We also suggest the Gophers should be able to keep the revenues from the sale of PSL's for their games.

The Vikings and the Twins both benefit greatly by partnering to build a TwinDomes complex. I believe the hold-up has been the short-term ownership plans of Red McCombs. No reasonable stadium plan makes sense to Red at this point. He won't invest in a new stadium and he certainly won't share any of the team's selling price.

Posted by: Tony Spadafora at October 27, 2004 1:42 PM

Craig.... I may not have made myself clear about the Gophers.... They should have the option of building an on-campus stadium.

The Gophers should also receive a portion of the Metrodome's asset value (land & cash reserves) to help fund their new stadium...... their portion should amount to approx. $10 million.... about $40 million would be available to help funding the land & infrastructure for the TwinDomes complex.

Posted by: Tony Spadafora at October 27, 2004 1:51 PM

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