The Star Tribune, predictably, has come out with solid support for giving the National Football League whatever it wants in exchange for letting Minneapolis host a Super Bowl in 2018 or 2019.
In its editorial today, the Strib stretches credulity in dispelling the notion that a Super Bowl is a chit in exchange for taxpayers ponying up a massive amount of money for the new home for the Vikings, in which the Super Bowl would be played.
Wrong. A Super Bowl was held out as a possibility, but NFL officials and state leaders were consistent in saying there were no guarantees. If you haven’t noticed, the NFL does a terrific job of setting up competition among cities; both Indianapolis and New Orleans are presenting competing bids for the 2018 game.
Well, wrong. The NFL for decades has held out the Super Bowl as a carrot for taxpayer subsidies for stadiums here and elsewhere. Stadium deals are made with winks and nods and this has always been a wink and a nod.
But the editorial board properly captures the reality of the most galling aspect of the NFL shakedown — the request for tax breaks for the fat cats who party here and the millionaire players who play in the game.
That’s an understandable objection, but it’s the cost of doing business with the NFL. Boosters say that a competitive bid requires tax breaks and that the bids from Indianapolis and New Orleans will include similar provisions. They also emphasize that those two cities would not be bidding for the game again if it were a losing proposition. In addition, the league wants to see both private- and public-sector commitment to hosting.
In other words, sure, the game is rigged, but that’s the game. Comforting words, indeed.
The editorial says whatever the cost of hosting the game is offset by the “branding” bonus on the Twin Cities, providing lasting marketing benefits that extend well beyond the game itself.
It’s hard to believe, though, that one football game on one day will overcome the “branding” that the nation receives nearly every night through winter — a reporter standing outside in a blizzard on every nightly network TV newscast talking about subzero temperatures, leading the world to wonder, “why would anyone want to live there?”