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Minnesota United to construct a privately-financed stadium for MLS



On the heels of being announced as the 23rd MLS franchise, Minnesota United FC will have their very own place to call home at no direct cost to the public, as the ownership will privately finance the team’s stadium.

Minnesota United announced Monday that it would not be seeking public funding for the construction of their new soccer facility and that the ownership group will privately finance the operation with the help of Minnesota-based business groups and philanthropic leaders.

In March, Minnesota Senator Thomas Bakk reportedly told MLS Commissioner Don Garber that the current NASL team “would not receive a dime’s worth of assistance from the state” because Bakk was reportedly attempting to help Mark and Zygi Wilf, the president and principal owner of the Minnesota Vikings, win the franchise.

But the 23rd MLS team was awarded to Dr. Bill McGuire, joined by investors Robert Pohlad, Jim Pohlad, Wendy Carlson Nelson and Glen Taylor, and the new owners are set to complete the first stadium in Minnesota without a direct public subsidy.

The new stadium will feature natural grass in an outdoor facility, and the total cost of the stadium will be $150 million, which will include the under-developed and centrally located land used for building the facility.

The soccer-specific stadium will host other professional and amateur soccer events, including international matches, high school games and youth tournaments. The field may also be used for another sport, hockey, as the ownership group is mulling the possibility of hosting outdoor hockey tournaments.

While the private investment is expected to cover stadium costs, Minnesota United are still asking for public subsidies. The club have asked for a sales tax exemption for construction supplies and materials, waiving of property taxes on the stadium land, and limits on future taxes levied on the stadium site that don’t exist now.

What do you think about this development? What do you expect from Minnesota United’s proposal?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. If the stadium is soccer specific, I hope they put in lots of standing room. It makes the stadium more economical to build and greatly increases the atmosphere of the game and can be implemented safely (it is in most Bundesliga stadiums)

  2. Waiving the sales and property transfer taxes isn’t the same as a taxpayer subsidy…far from it. The state/city is not having to raise or institute any new taxes to pay for the stadium, and as compensation for being the only stadium in MN built in the last two decades that didn’t require a taxpayer subsidy, a tax incentive was granted for the construction. It’s not like they’re never going to have to pay property taxes on the thing, and it’s not like the state and/or city is losing anything but a potential one-time injection of revenue.

    If they weren’t getting the tax break but were getting an equivalent amount from the taxpayers, I’m sure that a lot of people would be more against that than the current plan.

    • It may not be a direct subsidy but if same breaks aren’t offered for other businesses that might want to use then land then it is still a subsidy. I don’t know enough about this product but in my home state of NV some “tax exemptions” are transferable so the state will give $10M in tax exemptions when the tax liability is only $5M and then allow the beneficiary to sell the balance which amounts to a $5M subsidy over and above the tax break. I wouldn’t be surprised if other places have caught on.

  3. Red Bull Arena is stunning and every ticket holder has an actual seat to put his rear end in, stunning pitch. Avaya Stadium is also stunning (haven’t been there yet), but the land is directly next to the airport and would likely have gone undeveloped otherwise.

    • Waived sales and property tax. Not a biggie compared to an actual taxpayer-funded stadium. You can argue that waived taxes are a subsidy, but it’s so much better than a mello roos-type levy. MUFC should be commended.

      • 50 million dollars in tax subsidies is the number in the press.
        I consider that a large exemption for the well-connected and wealthy.

        Your views on 50 million dollars may vary, or did you think it was less than that from the story?

      • Yeah, this SBI article doesn’t quite tell the whole story. MUFC is not asking for nothing. Not by a long shot, even if it is light years better that what the other local sports teams demanded.

      • I read elsewhere that the sales tax exemption for materials was in the ballpark of $20 million, so I’m not surprised to learn it totals $50 million after the land. It’s a lot money, but compared to a wholesale publicly-funded project (a la Philly and others), the sales tax exemption seems like a good deal for everyone. And it beats the hell out of the Vikings’ owner’s proposal that sought much more tax money.

      • SACS – so here’s is your option – undeveloped land that generates no income at all for anyone.

      • You think land in downtown Minneapolis will go undeveloped forever? Okay … I think this is probably a good deal for Minneapolis as far as building stadiums go … But building stadiums is never a good deal in general. Just ain’t.

      • So wait for gentrification to possibly turn up and hope the land goes up in value at some point, possibly decades from now?

        Smart business plan.

      • Sell the land to the highest bidder. No tax breaks for anyone.

        1.)Housing would be great.
        2.)A Home Depot would create more jobs than a stadium.
        3.)Or let the MU buy it if they’re willing to pay the same tax rates as the small business guy who owns a pizza shop or a gas station.

      • Take a drive around that area some evening around 7 pm. They put the homeless shelter there for a reason, because no one lives there, very few people work there and even less people visit that area. It is a completely underdeveloped and under utilized area on the outskirts of downtown.

        If it was profitable to build your proposed housing or Home Depot in that location wouldn’t you think some developer would have already snatched up the land and built something on it already?

        I think building a stadium and the improved infrastructure that it bring could be a catalyst for development, such as housing, bars, restaurants…As is the homeless shelter is not enticing any development.

      • That’s $45m in present value though, over the life of the stadium. Per year, it’s peanuts. And these are indeed pretty common tax breaks for large public works products, sports-related or otherwise. I wrote my thesis on this topic. They might receive a bit of pushback, but honestly as soon as they flash what they’re asking for compared to what other teams in the state have gotten, it’ll probably be rapidly ushered through.

    • Infrastructure in Minneapolis will be considerably less than in NYC. Also, there have been 6 new arenas/stadiums/ballparks built in the Twin Cities in the last 15 years. All of them have had some sort of public financing for the construction. This is the first time in those 15 years that an owner has stepped up and said “We’re going to pay for the whole thing”.

      • Sure, just saying you read this and it sounds like, cool a “free” stadium. But it won’t be free. Not even close.

  4. Kudos on having natural grass on that stadium! Football must never be played on fake turf! Do you hear that, Portland, Seattle, Boston, Atlanta?

  5. Honest question. How much of a stadium will $150 million buy? It sounds like a lot on the surface, but stadium costs tend to spiral out of control pretty quickly.

    • As a reference, the Quakes built the brand new Avaya stadium for $100M and it seats 18k. Considering land in SJ is most likely more than the land they’ll develop in Minneapolis, I think fans can expect a great stadium. I also imagine that they’ll have to spend more on the playing surface due to the cold weather issues there than SJ did at Avaya, but $150M will still go a LONG WAY towards a very nice SSS.

  6. Well it looks like LA2 will be in by 2018 with Miami.
    According to LA2 open table discussion on social media, they pretty much got nothing plan or serious yet. They are still looking for a stadium location and they are not settled on a name or team colors.
    So we got Atlanta and Minneapolis for 2017 and 2018 must be LA2 and Miami.

    • What happened to the Sports Arena site? I thought that all the stakeholders involved were on board, including USC, the owner who has already green lighted the stadium?

    • Miami just needs to go away. No support, no plan, no interest. Becks either needs to look elsewhere and the league needs to award Sacramento because Miami is not happening anytime in the near future.

    • Wrong. There is a plan and it revolves around the sports arena site. Because of all the legal maneuvering even the simplest real estate deals cannot even be discussed or announced until the ink is dry on contracts, MOUs, and the like. I think the sports arena site will be the location, they just need to work out the details.

  7. Good for Minnesota. Stadium deals on the backs of tax-payers have always been a great deal for the team and not the public. This should happen more often.

  8. Admittedly knowing nothing about the back room dealings, but sounds like Bakk can go eff off.
    Soccer can receive plenty of support for stadium, but nothing if it’s not for Wilfs?


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