The newly constructed US Bank stadium in downtown Minneapolis hosting Super Bowl 52 cost $1.1 billion to build. Roughly half of that came from taxpayers.
As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported in 2016, financing for the gargantuan new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings — owned by a real estate developer with a net worth exceeding $5 billion — came partially from Minnesota taxpayers, who will front $498 million of the price tag, not including more than $7 million each year for operations and maintenance (to compare, the state of Minnesota’s budget increase to public schools was exactly $498 million). Over 30 years, inflation and interest pushes will push that figure to $631 million.
That figure becomes even more staggering when accounting for all of the extra goodies the Minnesota Vikings and owner Zygi Wilf are getting from local taxpayers. Citypages reported that even though Wilf is expected to reap $200 million from the stadium each year, and that even though his team gets $244 million each year from the National Football League, the total cost to Minneapolis taxpayers alone for the stadium is in the neighborhood of $980 million. Yet despite hundreds of millions in free money from taxpayers, tickets for Vikings games are sky-high:
There appears to be no discount for Vikings welfare patrons. For the season opener against New Orleans, the cheapest entry price for a family of four is $459, according to StubHub. You will need a Sherpa to guide you to the corner reaches of the top deck.
Dare you wish to rub elbows with the princes of commerce in the Delta Sky360 Club, expect to unload $5,580.
To be fair, the US Bank stadium isn’t the only Super Bowl stadium built with hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars. The Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta, which is hosting the 2019 Super Bowl, cost Georgia taxpayers an astounding $700 million.
Matthew P. Robbins is a freelance economics contributor covering wages, budgets, and taxes. He lives in Chicago, Illinois with his husband and two cats.