Super Bowl ’18: The cost of doing business with divas

Artist sketch: Minnesota Vikings
There were so many jaw-dropping factoids in the weekend Star Tribune article revealing what Minneapolis gave away to get the 2018 Super Bowl game that it’s hard to know where to begin. So let’s begin with the conclusion: Politicians either don’t know what’s going on in their own city, or they’re disingenuous in their denials of knowing what’s going on in their own city.

“This is wrong,” former Gov. Arne Carlson said after reading the article. “This is a huge public event. It should be transparent. We should know how the NFL operates.”

This is how the NFL operates. The league wants police protection for nothing, free hotels, great cellphone reception, free parking and free media coverage, among dozens of other perks.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges didn’t know what was in the deal.

“We haven’t seen the bid, so we don’t know what was agreed to,” said Kate Brickman, Hodges’ spokeswoman.

Say what?

Council president Barb Johnson appeared ready to take on the critics of the secret deal.

“We’re in competition with every other city in the United States for convention visitors,” she said.

So, no big deal? If it’s no big deal, why are politicians and their allies insistent the deal remain secret? Minneapolis has already won the right to host the game.

The secrecy is making some politicians look clueless. In today’s Strib story that the big park around the stadium isn’t going to be available to the public anywhere near as often as was originally claimed, a City Council member sounds a familiar theme.

“It’s kind of like a bait and switch, it seems to me,” said Council Member Cam Gordon. He had approved an earlier deal that the paper describes as “vague.”

The host committee, the group of business titans who made the pitch to the NFL, doesn’t want to talk about the deal. It cites the data privacy law in Minnesota, which allows deals to remain secret until the event occurs or five years later. Early in the process, they said the agreement would be public. They just didn’t say in what decade.

The committee will try to raise private funds to cover many of the expenses. Don’t expect to find out what the contributors get in return for their money, however.

Politicians claim the cost of the event will more than be eclipsed by the goodwill and money that will come to Minneapolis. But we have to take that on faith, since they’re keeping the information that will prove that theory secret.

“I would really like to see a financial analysis of the expense vs revenue for holding the Super Bowl. I’d bet it’s actually a losing proposition for the hosting city,” a commenter on today’s Daily News story says.

  • John O.

    So let me see if I get this: the Mayor of Minneapolis claims to not know what was in “The Deal,” yet it will (probably) be her own police officers that provide the bigwigs with security. The stench from this deal is becoming more pungent with each passing day. I’m assuming the NCAA will offer Minneapolis equally favorable terms for hosting the Final Four? /endsarcasm

    • Gary F

      The mayor didn’t know what was in “The Deal”. Wow.

      I betcha we wont get to see the books on this deal.

      • John O.

        What “books?” I’m guessing one or two cocktail napkins.

    • mm

      The new stadium is open , not retractable as far as I know

      • John O.

        It’s closed. The debate was over whether to add a retractable roof feature.

  • Jack

    Time to let the public own the team. After all, we are paying for everything – not the “so-called” owners. Hennepin County taxpayers should get first crack since they are footing the bill for everything (or so it seems).

    • jon

      During the stadium debate opening the option to allow for the public to have first option to purchase the team if/when it was next up for sale during the 30 year term of the stadium deal.
      It was shot down because “The NFL won’t except those terms, teams can not be owned by the public unless they are grandfathered in.”

      Personally I say we write the law, and if the NFL rejects the law, then they can refuse to operate here… god knows they didn’t want to leave such a profitable market, and I doubt the packers are losing money for the NFL… But unlike other businesses that operate in the state of MN and have to follow the laws of the state of MN the NFL gets to dictate the laws to the state…

  • jon

    Well, we are already ~$500 million in the hole for the stadium ($150 million for the city of minneapolis)
    What’s a few more million (public) dollars between friends.

    • Guest

      And these corrupt whores – Raymond “metrosexual” Rybak and his ass-kissing chick lawyer Susan “stadium ordinance doesn’t apply” Segal tried to tell us $150 million is really, really less than $10 million.

    • Baba

      $650,000,000 for just Minneapolis over the life of the contract.

  • Shane Stroup

    all we need to do is NOT go to the games. but we won’t. they only need a small fraction of people who are rich enough or dumb enough to not care for a sell out. welcome to the new world order where everything is to entertain the 2% . . .

  • Gary F

    I hope those CEO’s and people on private jets play some e-lottery at the airport.

  • L. Foonimin

    where to begin, my only hope is that the day is warm enough for sufficient crowds of anti-NFL protesters to show up and be seen on national media. Oh wait the NFL has effectively canceled that by imposing a media/police control provision in the “secret agreement”. Instead we will see a spate of Ice Palace, ice hockey, and ice carving feel good stories. This of course will only add to the allure of Mpls, (already thought of as a frozen Columbus, OH).

    As I’ve said before, if Irony truly is the guiding force of the Universe, the Packers will be victorious.

  • guest

    If there is a way to unseat the Mayor and Council President, residents of Minneapolis, please do so! This is beyond the pale.

    • Chas B

      The current mayor voted against the stadium when she was on the council, she now has to live with what has been done.

      • guest

        But the secret deal was concocted on her “watch”.

        • DavidG

          But not by her, her staff, or the city.

          • Ma Barker

            She knew the deal was being made and that it would impact the city in various ways. She should have insisted on having a seat at the table. She is a no-show and I hope, frankly, a one-termer. The city can do better.

      • Nicholas Kraemer

        Mayor Hodges could refuse to implement any part of the “secret deal” that involves city resources (e.g. police officers) until the entire deal is made public. If she does not do that, she is effectively signing off on this scheme.

  • r

    The NFL is the greatest scam in recent years: They’re a non-profit Taliban, raking in billions…. right into their pockets. I have yet to see any athlete or actor worth a million dollars.

    • Kassie

      I fear you may not know what the Taliban is. The NFL may be bad, but they are not a conservative political movement based on Islam.

      • jon

        Perhaps he meant then were “non-profit students” using the literal meaning of the word not the political/military organization that it has come to represent.
        Neither really seems to fit the context of the original comment though.

      • Joseph

        Don’t be afraid Kassie.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    I just made the same point on Twitter. How in the world does a SUPER BOWL get awarded to a city without the city’s mayor knowing what was in the bid?!? Is that normal? If not, who is asleep at the wheel – the mayor’s office or the MSFA? I mean jeepers they had to clue in bowling alleys but not the mayor?

  • Andrew

    So this is what we broke some laws in order to accomplish. The public will never learn to stop being conned.

  • JQP

    I say if the privateer corporations promise to deliver public services… then they and their corporate affiliates pay for it in cash. Up front. … No pay… No protection.

    • Bob Collins

      The host committee put out a statement today saying (a) it’s private and (b) it won’t cost the city money.

      But, since it’s private, there’s no way for anyone to prove this.

  • Bruce

    Do we know who is on the host committee? Or is that secret too?

    • Joseph

      The people that will make the most money from this publicly financed fiasco.

  • Jim G

    The Supreme Super Bowl Committee will privately fund police escorts for billionaire owners. It was in secret deal to get the NFL to bestow the Super Bowl on us. I believe that makes public service police department obsolete. We will now have private Secret Police instead, and you thought you’d won something of value.

  • Joseph

    Super Bowl? I thought Minnesotans were smarter than this. tell the NFL to pound sand. And tell the Super Bowl Committee to go home. The tax payers will not fund their excesses.

  • Baba

    Meanwhile John and Ruth Huss donate $10 million to a REAL non-profit (Ordway) and refuse to accept naming rights. Thank you.