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Pay to park — a stadium financing solution

April 20, 2012 - Per Peterson
Vikings, Vikings, Vikings, Vikings, Vikings. Sick of the stadium talk yet? Too bad if you are, because it’s not going away. Stadium supporter and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton brought in some muscle on Friday in the form of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Steelers President and chairman of the league’s stadium committee Art Rooney II. That’s like have Tony Soprano drive you to your buddy’s apartment to collect on that 100 bucks he owes you. Apparently, however, there were no threats made at Friday’s meeting, but there didn’t need to be, either. They were implied. Just having Goodell and Rooney II in the room showed everyone Dayton means business. The problem with the stadium bill revolves, of course, around funding of the $975 million stadium. The state’s portion of the project would be funded with revenue from electronic pull-tabs and bingo, but alternatives have been tossed out there. Here’s another. Why not just charge $1 per car for everyone who parks at the Mall of America? On Black Friday alone last year, the mall brought in 210,000 shoppers. For argument sake, cut that number in half and there’s $105,000. In one day. Granted, attendance spiked on that day, but just imagine the kind of revenue stream this would create. This way, anyone who pays to park could consider themselves part-owners of the team. It's a stretch, but what's the harm in letting them believe it. They could even charge more the closer you are to the mall - the less you want to walk, the more you pay. The MOA already has naming rights to the Metrodome, so the team can extend that deal to the new stadium. And don’t weep for the MOA — seriously, how many people would NOT patronize the place just to avoid paying a whole buck for the right to shop there? Any holes in this theory? Maybe, but it would be a money-maker.


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