(Updated at 5:30 p.m.)
Major League Baseball received a break from the city of Minneapolis worth more than $250,000 during the All Star Game festivities earlier this month.
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According to an agreement between the city and the league, the city provided free rent for the five-day FanFest event at the Minneapolis Convention Center. That concerns some city leaders, who worry the city gave away too much.
Council member Cam Gordon said he'd like more transparency in the process the city uses to attract big sporting events.
"The football league and the baseball league really has the upper hand because cities come in and they make a bid, and it's not real public about what they're offering because they don't want their competitors outbidding them," Gordon said. "So then the bid gets accepted and then we come back and we can find out the details."
Besides free rent, Minneapolis officials offered to count sales taxes fans paid on All-Star Week event tickets as part of the league's payments to the city for services it used at the convention center, including janitorial work and electricity.
The league also received a credit worth up to $50,000 in exchange for 1,500 free FanFest tickets that went mainly to children from poor areas of Minneapolis. There was another credit worth up to $25,000 to cover fees for "compressed move-in activities" at the Convention Center. The city capped its contribution at $150,000,
According to the agreement the league did not have to share its revenues from merchandise sales with the city.
Although tax revenue numbers won't be available for a few months, Minneapolis City Council president Barb Johnson thinks the city will bring in more from the All Star Game than it paid out in the deal over FanFest.
"The Convention Center was full of people for four days and just the parking revenues alone associated with that I'm sure will more than cover the rent," Johnson said.
Major League Baseball officials say more than 114,000 people attended FanFest and more than 120,000 people attended games and activities at Target Field over a three day period. Officials with Meet Minneapolis, the Convention and Visitors Association, say hotel revenue over the All Star Game week was 59 percent higher than over the same period last year.
Johnson said it was not possible for the full City Council to weigh in on parts of the deal while it was being negotiated. She said the agreement wasn't finalized until a week before Fan Fest. Johnson says sometimes it's best to let city staff negotiate deals and not elected officials.
"This is an interesting and unusual business," she said. "And there are some things you have to trust to your administrators."
Gordon fears the planning process for the 2018 Super Bowl planned for Minneapolis will be carried out in similar secrecy.
But Mayor Betsy Hodges said the city will have more input than it did for the All Star Game.
"The Super Bowl has a host committee and the host committee is going to be responsible for the financials, for putting things out there," Hodges said. "The city is going is to participate and get reimbursed for our participation. So that will be different than the All Star Game."
The NFL had a number of demands in exchange for its acceptance of the state's bid for the 2018 Super Bowl.
According to a private document obtained and published by the Star Tribune, the league wants free police escorts for team owners and thousands of free parking spaces. The NFL has also demanded free billboards across the Twin Cities as well as guarantees to receive all revenue from the game's ticket sales.