Large Scale Events at US Bank Stadium Benefit Minnesota Taxpayers

Jack Marker, staff writer

Minnesota taxpayers have questioned whether using hundreds of millions of public tax dollars to construct the US Bank Stadium was worthwhile. Should a private enterprise such as the Vikings be able to access government taxes? On one hand, Minnesota never gave Best Buy or other large corporations public assistance to build their headquarters. On the other hand, the construction of the 1.75 million square foot US Bank Stadium took years to complete, can seat 66,655, was home to the 2017 X-games, and will host the 2018 super bowl and the 2019 Final Four. All of these events bring consumer spending into Minnesota benefitting Minnesota residents.

The X-games were an extremely popular event with a total of 160,000 fans over four days spanning from July 13 – July 16 this summer. X-games are the most important competition for extreme sport events such as skateboarding, BMX (bicycle racing), and dirt motorcycle events. The skateboarding events included big air, street, and park. The X-games didn’t just make Minnesota money through ticket sales; the games raked in revenue as visitors stayed in hotels, rented cars, and ate at restaurants.

From April 6-8 in 2019, one of the highest profile event will be held at US Bank Stadium: the Final Four. The Final Four is a part of March Madness, and consists of the final games between the last four teams left in the NCAA tournament. The NCAA Final Four is the most prestigious tournament in the college basketball season and culminates with the naming of the champion for the season. Approximately 70 million March Madness brackets around the country are filled out each year. For the last few years, Warren Buffett has offered a million dollars to anyone who completes a perfect bracket. The odds of performing a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion.

March Madness is known to have many powerhouse teams that dominate competition each year. Additionally, many teams have very loyal fan bases, specifically the University of California Los Angeles, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, the University of North Carolina, and Louisville. These fans, and other visitors from all over the world, will flock to Minnesota to watch the games. These spectators will bring their wallets to US Bank Stadium and ultimately Minnesota will benefit with increased tax revenue.

In addition to hosting the Final Four, in February 2018, US Bank Stadium will be hosting another high profile event: The Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is the equivalent to the World Series, the Stanley cup, and the NBA Finals all rolled into one. It ends the 17 week long National Football League season, and culminates with an event that routinely draws over 100 million viewers. Many football fans watch the Super Bowl for the sport, but a significant number also watch it  for the commercials, which are often funny and entertaining, and the half time show, which this year will most likely feature global superstar Adele. The Super Bowl is known to have funny and entertaining commercials. In order to obtain a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl you have to be willing to pay 4.5 million dollars.

The Super Bowl is also known to have very high ticket prices. The cheapest tickets usually start at $4,350 and go all the way up to $8,000. Beyond that, host cities of the Super Bowl receive a lot of media attention. The Minnesota Visitors Bureau loves this publicity and believes it will eventually translate to future visitors and future revenue.

It is hard to know exactly whether the additional tax revenue caused by construction of the stadium justifies the income it will bring to the state. What we do know for certain is that without public assistance, US Bank Stadium wouldn’t have been built, and the X-games, Final Four, and The Super Bowl wouldn’t be held in Minnesota. At the very least, the taxpayers of Minnesota certainly benefit by hosting these high profile events.