Some may think that Minneapolis getting the 2018 Super Bowl is a surprise. When I heard the news, I "meh'd". Of course they got the Super Bowl. The NFL has been dangling the Super Bowl carrot for years to entice voters and politician intofunding shiny new palaces for their local NFL teams. If the NFL doesn't come through on that promise sufficiently, future promises will fall on deaf ears.
Choosing Minneapolis as the odds-on favorite really wasn’t that hard when one looks at the history of the game. First of all, despite New Orleans’ claim that Minneapolis is “a relative neophyte in the big-event hosting game,” the Twin Cities are hardly amateurs at hosting big events. Minneapolis hosted the Super Bowl back in 1992. In fact, I ate lunch right next John Madden at Minneapolis’ finest Chinese restaurant, the Village Wok, while in grad school in the city at the time. MLB sent the All-Star Game to Target Field just last July, and the city has hosted the World Series and the NCAA Final Four on multiple occasions. St. Paul hosted the 2004 Republican National Convention, a much bigger organizational and security undertaking than a simple football game. And let’s also just remember that experience isn’t everything. New Orleans, despite hosting more Super Bowls than any other city, couldn’t even manage to keep the lights on during their last attempt at hosting.
More importantly, however, is the fact that the NFL wants to reward cities that build new stadiums, especially those that shower their franchises with lots of taxpayer subsidies. The NFL constantly dangles the carrot of a Super Bowl in front of otherwise reluctant taxpayers in order to receive public handouts. Put in $498 million, like the citizens of Minnesota did, and the NFL will send the Super Bowl and its supposed $498 million in economic impact your way. It’s almost like getting a stadium for free. Of course, the bribe only works if the NFL is actually seen coming through with the big game.
Indeed the NFL has come through. Of the 16 Super Bowls hosted between 2001 and 2016, over half were held at newly constructed stadiums hosting Super Bowls for the first time including games in Tampa, Glendale, AZ, Detroit, Indy, New York/New Jersey, Jacksonville, Santa Clara, CA, Arlington, TX, and Houston. And now add Minneapolis to list.
In game theory we often talk about about credible threats, but promises need to be credible too. If nothing else, the promise of a Super Bowl in exchange for a new stadium is a credible promise..
P.S. Victor suggests going to the Village Wok if you go to Minneapolis for the Super Bowl. I haven't been there, but I do recommend Broder's Cucina Italiana and Pizzeria Lola. Good stuff, Maynard!
Update: Over at Facebook, Paul Miille from the Dallas-Forth Worth area comments:
Hey, it's not so bad having the Super Bowl. Just because there's an entire week when you can't go anywhere in the area of the stadium, or the hotels that will host travelers to the game, restaurants you love will either be unreachable, due to proximity to one or the other above, really good restaurants will simply be too busy and it'll end up costing the city about double what it brings in. I mean why wouldn't anyone want that in their city? We loved it so much, in DFW, that we'd rather have root canal without anesthetic than have another any time soon. Other than that, it was great fun.
Several years go my wife and I were touring wine country. There was a couple from Calgary who were on the same tour and I asked them why they were down in Sonoma County. The husband remarked that they had left town to get away from the insanity that was the Calgary Stampede.
Deadspin has some pics of the now-abandoned Silverdome, the dome where the Detroit Lions used to play, and they also have a little narrative of how the dome in Pontiac, Mi. came to be another ruin. A sample:
Ronnie James Dio died 4 years ago today. I remember reading the news on the Wall Street Journal's mobile site that Sunday and came inside to share the bad news. After all, misery loves company. Here's the dialogue that I remember.
Me (exasperated and totally bummed): Ronnie James Dio died.
Me (still exasperated and still totally bummed): Ronnie James Dio.
Wife: Who's that?
Me (more exasperated and totally, totally bummed): ?????
Since my family and I moved up here, the Mankato-North Mankato meso area didn't have its own local bakery. Instead, we were treated to gas station donuts and the big grocery chains had their own bakeries. Their bread products, cookies, and donuts were fine, but I thought Mankato needed a local place.
My hometown of Sioux City, Ia has Sunkist Bakery which is a must-stop place for me when I go back to visit. I especially like their raised donuts, but their other pastries and their cookies are good too. But Mankato had no local bakery during my tenure here until this year when a little shop called Friesen's opened in Old Town.
Apparently I wasn't the only person hungry for a good, local bakery. Today's edition of he local paper has a front page article about Friesen's.
Bake it and they will come — in droves.
"I don't know if I've ever been busier in my life and I never had more fun in my life," said longtime baker Tony Friesen who just opened Friesen's Famliy Bakery & Soup Bar in Old Town.
Friesen, wife Natasha Frost and partner Spencer Vanderhoof have been so busy they've quickly added staff and are already bringing their contractor, Brennan Construction, back to double the size of the space.
"We undersized. We were thinking a little cafe and Mankato was thinking a big, full-service bakery, so we're going to give them a full-service bakery. It's an easy decision to make."
By opening the store, they have created jobs for themselves, but they quickly found that they themselves couldn't adequately staff the place, so they hired extra help.
The recipe: entrepreneurs have idea; entrepreneurs take risk and open business (and thereby create jobs for themselves); entrepreneurs provide a product that people find valuable and do so at a reasonable price, and they are quickly swamped with business; entrepreneurs realize they are understaffed and hire more help. Voila! Jobs created. No preservatives, taxes, or subsidies needed.
I stopped in this morning to see if they had any hot dog buns. Last night I made my famous (in my mind, at least) Philli's Chili and today I have a hankerin' for chili dogs. Unfortunately, they didn't have any buns and I didn't see any raised donuts in the case. But the tiny place was packed and they had a nice selection of goodies and breads, including bread bowls for soup. Hopefully the "full-service bakery," when it's in full swing, will provide hamburger buns, hot dog buns, and, most importantly, fluffy raised donuts.
Labor organizers are turning up the heat on McDonald's and other fast food companies to raise worker pay speed up their rate of capital-for-labor substitution, with protests set to spread to more than 30 countries Thursday.
Artificially raising wages (i.e. not through an increase in demand for the final product and/or an increase in worker productivity), over time, just encourages firms to seek different ways to get whatever they need to have done done. Then again, given that McDonald's restaurants rarely seem to get my orders right the first time anymore, maybe capital for labor substitution would be an improvement.
Update: Ironman sent me a couple of links that are related.