The Sports Lobbyist

December 28, 2010 5:59 PM

Are The Vikings The Key To Stopping an NFL Lockout?

512px-Metrodome_August_2007.JPGFans looking for a way to express frustration and anger at the potential NFL lockout next season may have found their answer.....if they are based in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Vikings and the NFL have been lobbying the State of Minnesota for a public financing agreement which would help pay the costs of a new stadium. The stadium is estimated to cost between $700 and $900 million and the Vikings are looking for taxpayer help to defray the costs. Why shouldn't they? Numerous other cities have entered into a public financing agreement to keep their team happy. Public financing for new stadiums is part of the territory of being an NFL fan. If you want to keep the team then pay the costs. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the support for public financing isn't favored by the public.

A recent Public Policy Polling study indicated that voters want to keep the team but don't want to pay the costs to keep them in Minnesota. That perspective was universally supported by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Funny that a rare sign of bipartisan agreement comes in the way of football allegiance or lack thereof. But will fans go beyond the polls and articulate a major NFL fan concern?

Vikings Fans have a unique opportunity to express their dismay at a financing deal beyond budgetary concerns and in specifics as it relates to the lockout. Fans could argue that they are hesitant to part with public funds but could be amenable to a financing deal if it is contingent upon a guarantee that there will be an NFL season. The Vikings will obviously counter that a new stadium will bring jobs and revenue to the city and State, but with no season where are those jobs and revenue?  That's a point the fans could hammer home to their elected officials and the NFL - putting the fans in a powerful negotiating position.

Minnesota has a unique bargaining chip when the NFL and the Vikings come lobbying for public funding. No rational person would support a publicly funded program which doesn't actually exist, which would be the case if Minnesota were to pay for a stadium which houses no Vikings season.

If Vikings fans are successful in such approach, it is an interesting model of anti-NFL lockout pressure which could be replicated in other areas where the NFL seeks similar public dollars.
This is the second in a series of regular sports lobbying analysis to determine if there is a way to stop the lockout through the power of politics, government, and your voice

(image - wikicommons)


Maury Litwack is a recognized lobbying expert and founder of the advocacy training and education firm - Capitol Plan. Maury served on the staff of two Congressmen where he provided legislative expertise and political strategy. Maury left the Hill to expand the Washington office of Miami-Dade County, the 6th largest county in the country. His analysis of lobbyists, lobbying, celebrity advocacy, and earmarks have appeared in political publications such as The Hill, Daily Caller and and on the radio in programs such as AOL's Politics Daily and XM/SIRIUS POTUS. His take on ongoing tech advocacy issues have appeared in top technology publications Business Insider -SAI, TechCrunch, and Mashable

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