Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Revenue Streams

Today the Twins ballpark plan passed its first hurdle in the legislature, when the House Government Operations and Veterans Affairs Committee gave the proposal its stamp of approval by a 17-5 vote. An amendment to require a public referendum in Hennepin County was defeated. The Strib article indicates there was some questioning about how the club would profit from naming rights, but the issue of revenue streams is mentioned only in passing.

This week, Sweet Capt. Bess did some research for me that turned up this interesting text from the Brookings Institute, revealing that the original Twins contract with the Metrodome authority called for the ballclub to receive 30 percent of gross revenue from concessions at Twins games until 1.4 million tickets sold for the season, after which the Twins would get 20 percent. The MSFC authority also laid claim to profits from three city-owned parking lots for a 10-year period as well as $75,000 a year in perpetuity from parking meters. That was a slice of the return the public and its representatives expected to get on a $55 million investment, back then.

These days, we might put up $353 million to build a ballpark for the Twins, and we're willing to let the ballclub take all of those profits, and then some. And there's hardly even a debate about it.

I'm not against the Twins making money off this deal, or tapping new revenue streams to help them remain competitive in the standings--although it's worth noting that a Shiny New Ballpark does not necessarily equate to an Increased Payroll and Winning Teams. Look at Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Detroit for some dark cautionary tales close to home. The Joyride in the Jake ended even for the Indians a few years back. However, I am against the public, which is you and me, getting swindled in this deal. We should expect to get a decent share of the profits from this new ballpark in return for our $353 million investment, even if we can't get a deal like 70% of the concessions anymore. We should expect more than just the pleasure of outdoor baseball and vague promises of economic development in the Warehouse District in reward for taxes collected primarily in the suburbs of the county.

I want to see more people talking about the ballpark revenue streams, and our share in the take. I want to see real debate.

Why so quiet?


At 5/11/2005 9:42 PM, Anonymous TBird41 said...

Don't know if you saw this yet, but Resto got picked up by the Pirates.

At 5/11/2005 11:06 PM, Blogger frightwig said...

Yep, I saw your note at the Batgirl site. Thanks, tbird.


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