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March 18, 2005

Pay attention, David

If you'll recall, a few weeks ago I discussed the stadium plan in Miami and possibly what it could mean for the Twins. Just to recap, the deal in Miami uses these funding sources:

When you take a closer look at this plan it is really a thing of beauty. First of all, you've got a huge contribution from the team itself. $192 million is an enourmous contribution from a team and one that has caused the city of Miami, Miami-Dade county, and the state to stand up and take notice. Secondly, the county is paying for its share using a hotel bed tax and a sports facilities tax. What is great about this is that in neither of these methods is the average Miami taxpayer expected to contribute. The $28 million from tourist development taxes is also in that same vein. Since tourist boards and departments are usually very gung-ho about stadiums let them also come up with a way to pay for them. The parking garage idea is solid and is also being used to help pay for a stadium in DC.

The final component of the plan calls for $30 million from the state. That's it. Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida, has already come out and said, "Out of the 300-plus million dollars, they are asking $30 million from the state. That's a small percentage, and I think it's really worth considering." I think you would get similiar statements from Pawlenty if the same amount was being asked for from the state here in Minnesota.

When I discussed this a few weeks ago I was hoping (praying!) that the Twins were watching the Florida situation closely. I was also praying that they were learning from it. It seems at least half of my prayers have been answered. The Twins and the Marlins have recently met for a couple of Spring Training games and Dave St. Peter had this to say:

"Miami and Minneapolis/St. Paul are certainly the markets that have struggled the most to get a ballpark," Twins President Dave St. Peter said. "In that way, we'll be forever linked."

Yes, David, but have you been paying attention to the funding sources? The team's upfront contribution? The fact that the Marlins finally are focusing on a single site for construction? All the article says is that St. Peter "has been following the Marlins' progress closely." St. Peter also states:

"We're also similar in that they've basically been playing in the corner of a football stadium," St. Peter said. "I think they feel they have a lot of things coming together at the same time. No question, their recent on-field success has been a benefit."

Yes, David, the on-field success of the Marlins has positively impacted their renewed stadium drive, but again I think the fact that the team has agreed to put up $192 million has had a bigger impact. Could you imagine if the Twins came forward with a similar contribution?

Another group of individuals that is surely paying attention to the situation in Florida is our own Minnesota state legislature. If this deal is approved (which is still not a given at this point) why wouldn't the Minnesota legislature also expect the same kind of upfront contribution from the Twins? Jerry Jones is contributing half for a new Cowboys stadium. Half of the new ballpark in DC is being financed through private funding sources. If this deal goes through in Florida the Minnesota legislature is going to start expecting the same thing to happen here.

In conclusion, I really, really hope that St. Peter and Pohlad are making plans to increase the Twins upfront contribution. We've been sitting at $120 million for a few years now and it hasn't gotten us anywhere. If the deal in Florida is approved, the Twins may not have a choice.

Posted by snackeru at March 18, 2005 9:19 AM | Stadiums


I honestly don't think David was paying any attention to that article, but I was wondering when you would.

I've just left a very compelling comment (at least to my mind) as to why a publically funded stadium is more beneficial to a privately funded one over one Twins Territory here: http://twinsterritory.com/Members/dbogen/index_html/financingautodealerships/view

Thought you might enjoy them

Posted by: Dianna at March 18, 2005 8:47 PM

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