Let's not grovel for a Super Bowl
There’s something unseemly about watching the Minnesota Legislature consider tax breaks for the NFL in order to lure a Super Bowl to this state. It begs the question, just how far will the state go to be the center of the sporting world’s universe for week or so?
After approving $498 million in public subsidies to help the Minnesota Vikings build a new stadium, lawmakers are now considering granting league-mandated waivers on sales taxes on game tickets and related events.
The NFL’s 32 owners, multi-millionaires all, will select either Minneapolis, Indianapolis or New Orleans for the site of the 2018 Super Bowl. Other large organizations conduct conventions and meetings in the Twin Cities every year but only the NFL is willing to flex its muscles and ask that sales taxes be waived.
Conventional wisdom is that unless a state is willing to waive ticket and event sales taxes for the Super Bowl, it might as well not even place a bid for the NFL championship game. That’s just the price a community pays to be a Super Bowl destination.
The potential up side of a Minneapolis Super Bowl is increased tourism business, the tax revenue that comes with that traffic and a great deal of publicity for the Twin Cities.
The potential down side is bad publicity if a snowstorm cripples the city and caustic sports writers decide to unleash their poison pens on a city that fancied itself to be a February tourist destination.
Pro football is, without a doubt, “America’s national pastime” and most Minnesotans would be proud to have their state host the event. Still, there comes a point when a community can try too hard to lure a big event to town. Minneapolis might just be better off if it passes on the Super Bowl and lets the other candidate cities grovel for privilege.