It's Super Bowl playoff time for the cities that are hoping to host the game in 2018, the next championship to be awarded to an NFL city.
Legislators met with Dayton administration officials yesterday to talk about financial breaks the NFL wants from the host of the game. "We're talking about the Super Bowl tax thing," DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen said going into the meeting. "I don't know the details of it. I want to learn the details."
The NFL typically seeks breaks like income tax exemptions for the players coming to the game and sales taxes on tickets. The state still has a ticket tax exemption on the books from the last time the Super Bowl game to Minneapolis, in 1992.
"I have reservations about giving tax breaks," Thissen said going into the meeting, which he said included Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. "I think the decision is whether we think the Super Bowl is going to outweigh the cost to us... the economics of bringing a Super Bowl versus the cost of bringing these tax breaks."
The Dayton administration was relatively mum about the talks. Here's what spokesman Matt Swenson said in a statement released after the meeting:
“[Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority] Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen provided a very preliminary first look at the potential economic benefits of bringing the Super Bowl to Minnesota. No decisions or commitments were made during the meeting. The Governor and legislative leaders will continue their discussion on this issue in the coming weeks.”
The discussion comes as Minneapolis is preparing to host Major League Baseball's All Star Game in July, and as the NHL has reportedly been looking over potential venues for an outdoor game, like the big Winter Classic outdoor games the NHL has been mounting.
There were six outdoor NHL games this year, including one in Los Angeles. The All Star Game has included concessions to MLB, requiring Minneapolis to establish controversial "clean zones" around Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium and in northeast Minneapolis. Restrictions there have drawn fire from the ACLU, among others.