The Star Tribune's Eric Roper says that the cutthroat rivalry between the arenas in Minneapolis and St. Paul is the subject of an armistice effort by lawmakers from each city. The story quotes a Minneapolis promoter saying the rivalry regularly costs the host venue $50,000 a show.
The bill asks for a study ahead of eventual coordination. Anti-trust law currently keeps the arena's at a competitive distance. Authors at the Capitol include Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis) and Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul) in the House and Foung Hawj (DFL-St. Paul), Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis) and Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) in the Senate.
The Senate version got through the State and Local Government committee on March 21. The House version is headed for the Tax Committee. Here's the House language:
Section 1. MINNEAPOLIS AND ST. PAUL; ENTERTAINMENT FACILITIES COORDINATION.
(a) On or before January 1, 2015, the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis shall establish a joint governing structure to coordinate and provide for joint marketing, promotion, and scheduling of conventions and events at the Target Center and Xcel Energy Center.
(b) On or before February 1, 2014, the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and representatives from the primary professional sports team tenant of each facility, shall also study and report to the legislature on creating a joint governing structure to provide for joint administration, financing, and operations of the facilities and the possible effects of joint governance on the finances of each facility and each city. The study under this paragraph must:
examine the current finances of each facility, including past and projected costs and revenues; projected capital improvements; and the current and projected impact of each facility on the city's general fund;
determine the impacts of joint governance on the future finances of each facility and city;
examine the inclusion of other entertainment venues in the joint governance, and the impact the inclusion of those facilities would have on all the facilities within the joint governing structure and the cities in which they are located; and
consider the amount of city, regional, and state funding, if any, that would be required to fund and operate the facilities under a joint governing structure.
(c) In considering joint governing structures under paragraph (b), the study shall specifically consider the feasibility of joining the Target Center and the Xcel Energy Center, and possibly other venues, to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority under Minnesota Statutes, section 473J.08.
(d) Representatives of the cities and the primary professional sports team tenants of each facility shall meet within 30 days of the effective date of this section to begin implementation of this section.
MPR Photos by Tim Nelson