Gov. Mark Dayton has added his voice to the chorus of critics who think the NFL was a bit greedy in asking for dozens of free perks from the Super Bowl host city -- which will be Minneapolis in 2018.
MPR News reports that Dayton said the NFL went "way overboard" in specifying items like 35,000 free parking spaces; access to “top quality” golf courses in the summer or fall before the game; access to bowling alleys; free police escorts for NFL owners; free presidential suites at top hotels; portable cellular towers at team hotels, if cellphone signal strength isn’t acceptable; free billboards, free radio ads and free newspaper advertising leading up to the game.
At the same time, Dayton said the perks are a necessary part of attracting the game to Minnesota.
“I don’t think anybody needs free bowling alleys. Anybody who can afford to come to the Super Bowl can afford to pay for their shoes and bowling ball and lane time,” Dayton said, according to MPR News. “But again, the perfect is the enemy of the very good and this is a very good deal for Minnesota. It’s going to bring enormous net gain in revenues both to the state and the city.”
“At no cost to the NFL” is a phrase repeated 150 times in the document, according to YahooSports.com.
Dayton said he doesn't know which of the NFL's requests were granted in Minnesota's bid, but he said he's been assured any costs involved will be paid from private sources, according to MPR. Super Bowl organizers have said they have at least $30 million in pledges lined up from private donors to cover those costs.
Members of the Super Bowl Bid Committee have not released the details of what exactly Minnesota's successful bid includes, and say state law allows them to keep the contract private until after the game is held – four years from now.
Dayton said he would have no problem with the bid proposal being released to the public, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, but hasn't pushed for that to happen.
Last month, the NFL chose Minneapolis to host the 2018 Super Bowl in the new $1 billion Vikings stadium which is now under construction in downtown. The stadium will be complete in time for the 2016 football season.