Monday, October 19, 2009

A stadium conundrum

I don't normally write about sports here because my audience, for whatever reason, is mainly females and the remainder are drive-bys searching for nipples, boobs and camel toe photos. But despite my rather obvious obsession with the female form I do at least casually follow sports and find myself almost infatuated with the role that stadiums play in professional and collegiate sports in America. Most every major metropolitan area has one huge stadium. It could be for college football, an NFL team or Major League Baseball but they are definitely a cornerstone of sorts in their respective city.

What amazes me is the cost of these stadiums. Locally, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (The Dome) was built in the first years of the 1980s for what is now the paltry sum of $30 million. It has been the home of major league baseball's Minnesota Twins, the NFL's Minnesota Vikings and, up until last year, was also the home of the University of Minnesota's Golden Gopher football team. Yep, three teams occupied The Dome for the bulk of dates for eight months every year. It was also host to monster truck rallies, concerts, trade shows, the Super Bowl, the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves for a year and the NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament. This ass-ugly but functional stadium has stood for nearly thirty years and could still very well be used for many more years with a substantial overhaul.

And that's about the only way I see The Metrodome as being functional beyond the next couple of years. It is hopelessly outdated. The concourses are dark and can become very crowded. The concession stands are set up poorly which leads to insanely long lines and the restrooms (the the troughs guys have to piss in) are too small and there are too few to serve the crowds during a Vikings game.

But the pricetag, coupled with a rather shitty location (eastern downtown Minneapolis) of the Metrodome, to remodel the domed stadium is lofty at best but a complete overhaul is still cheaper than building a completely new, single tenant stadium for $900 million which could sit on the same spot as The Metrodome or as far out as Blaine. The Vikes want amenities like luxury suites, parking revenue and money from concessions. As it stands right now they are merely tenants at The Dome. They lease the place and are now the sole tenant in the rat infested Dome.

But why do they need their own stadium? If The Dome won't suit your needs and you want amenities and the money from those the Vikings should have been forced a few years ago to team up with the Gophers when they built their new open air football stadium on the University of Minnesota campus. But the shortsighted fools begging for cash never though that two football teams could share a stadium - especially one where one team plays on Saturday and the other on Sunday. No, that kind of shared solution would have actually made sense and when it comes to politics and money that just doesn't register.

So now we're stuck with a college football stadium that was built to suit a college team. It isn't chock full of the amenities that an NFL team wants and needs and retrofitting a brand new stadium is actually stupid. So we're back to remodeling The Metrodome and unless hell freezes over shortly that will never happen and I don't see tax payers willing to pony up any more in the way of additional sales tax to fund another playground for millionaires. So the two unlikely scenarios remain - the Vikings owner Zygi Wilf performs a drastic overhaul of The Metrodome and builds the surrounding area into a year around venue as MinnPost suggests or the Vikings pay for some crazy-spendy overhauls to the new Gophers stadium and still compromise alot in the process.

Or the Vikings move to that eventual stadium in Los Angeles. It is designed with purple seats and it wouldn't be the first time a Minnesota team relocated to Los Angeles. Oh well, I've never been to a Vikings game anyway but I do hear that the nearly vacant Brookdale Center could be had on the cheap. Think it over Zygi.

Or Zygi Wilf could check out MinnPics. Hey, if Zygi is loving the stunning photos of Minnesota you should check them out too!


Reuben said...

wait a minute. there are nipples, boobs, and camel-toes on this blog? How do I find them?

Sornie said...

Oh, a simple search will unearth the topics of exposed lady business.

Mrs Marcos said...

Note to Reuben - wait until you're at home to try that search. If you're a corporate, cubicle drone (like myself) you might find that string of keywords sets off some sort of blaring alarm in your IS&T department!

On to the sports topic...
One of the things that kills me is that when they were planning for and discussing the dome (yes, I'm THAT old) they wanted to bring sporting events downtown instead of the suburbs (Bloomington). So they came up with a plan, built the dome...and played about seventeen minutes before everyone hated it and started to plan a way to make an exodus to the suburbs (i.e. your suggestion about Brookdale, or the plan that almost built a Vikings stadium in Anoka somewhere). I'm not a huge sports fan, I'll admit it is fun when they are winning and I understand the huge financial payout from having sports teams in a state but it seems like we have SO many other issues to deal with in our society and our biggest concern is keeping a bunch of overpaid crybabies around.

Pesky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pesky said...

I'm not sure whether there really is such a huge payoff for having sports in a neighborhood. After all, the Metrodome neighborhood has not exactly gone upscale since that was built. Supporters say sports pays, detractors say it doesn't. I think reliable and objective data is pretty difficult if not impossible to get your arms around. Both side tilt things to the advantage of their argument. On the other hand, there's something to be said for civic pride.
I am going to enjoy baseball at Target field, but I am not convinced that the public investment ever gets paid back.