No funds for music, but NFL is publicly funded?

September 27, 2013 at 05:05 PM · Lockout the orchestra, cough up half a billion dollars for a tax-payer funded stadium, that then is profited from solely by a privately owned team. Genius.

"In Minnesota, the Vikings wanted a new stadium, and were vaguely threatening to decamp to another state if they didn’t get it. The Minnesota legislature, facing a $1.1 billion budget deficit, extracted $506 million from taxpayers as a gift to the team, covering roughly half the cost of the new facility. Some legislators argued that the Vikings should reveal their finances: privately held, the team is not required to disclose operating data, despite the public subsidies it receives. In the end, the Minnesota legislature folded, giving away public money without the Vikings’ disclosing information in return. The team’s principal owner, Zygmunt Wilf, had a 2011 net worth estimated at $322 million; with the new stadium deal, the Vikings’ value rose about $200 million, by Forbes’s estimate, further enriching Wilf and his family."

How the NFL Fleeces Tax Payers

Replies (20)

September 27, 2013 at 05:39 PM · Nothin surprising here.

Obviously, more people, therefore more voters, attend the NFL games that classical music concerts.

I agree that the public should not fund privately owned companies, but eh, what happened in 2008 and with all those bailouts?

It appears that the States are more "socialistic" (in the terms of state economy) that they would like to admit.

Greetings from Canada, where the things are just the same!

September 28, 2013 at 09:08 AM · Nothing against enjoying a sport, but can anyone say it's more meaningful than this?

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uA0ugX-v5NU&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DuA0ugX-v5NU

How terribly terribly sad. But I guess that our art is incomprehensibly breathtaking for those willing to veer from what society dictates as meaningful entertainment- to discover things like the above performance is a life-defining moment. Most touchdowns aren't. Harass away, I just think the attention span and lack of independent thinking/complacent conformity permeating our culture robs great art of its value and risks it one day being forgotten...

September 28, 2013 at 12:13 PM · There is probably a good lesson for us to learn around the financing of sport venues with public dollars. I believe that the municipality considering the investments looks at broader issues ~ such as the ways in which such sport venues contribute to the tax base of the region and on whether they create jobs, most of whom become taxpaying individuals for the region, feeding back into the tax base for that municipality.

When a city decides to compete to host the Olympic Games anywhere in the world, for example, it is not simply a matter of national pride; there are business analysts determining the impact that the new facilities will have on creating ancillary industries, both manufacturing and service (like restaurants, t-shirt shops, kitsch for sale, brand value, and so on...), many construction jobs are created to build the facilities, and the longer-term use of those facilities for local purposes once the events are over. Winter sports facilities become resorts.

Is there a lesson? Probably. Could music organizations take the lessons of major sports teams (even those with losing teams make money through team loyalty and branding ~ jerseys, cereal boxes, and other paraphernalia) and build industries?

Perhaps our symphonies need to band together (like an NFL or NHL or an NBA) to start using the same marketing, advertising, and lobbying strategies that major league sports uses to convince public policy makers that indeed investments in musical arts generates jobs, contributes to the tax base, and builds intellectual capacity for the future of any region. There's an economic multiplier that needs to be more clearly communicated to policy makers so that they start directing their investments to the arts.

I guess my point is that observing the success of sports teams is something to be studied and emulated. To be frustrated by their successes is to be missing an opportunity to grasp their winning formula.

September 28, 2013 at 02:20 PM · The Minnesota Orchestra can perform the halftime show perhaps?

September 28, 2013 at 04:53 PM · I can see it now:

"OK, folks !!

Getcher programs here.

Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra vs. Brahms,

Conducted by Coach Toscanini.

Keep track of the score on the Internet,

Or in your program notes,

Or just look up at our giant scoreboard.

And for the half-time show we've got a special treat -

A real live football play by the Minnesota Vikings."

Cheers,

Sandy

September 28, 2013 at 06:26 PM · We are definitely on to something here...

However, sometimes it doesn't turn out so pretty when football players and band members meet on the field of play:

September 28, 2013 at 07:28 PM · I think you guys are kind of missing my point. One of the MOST profitable organizations in the country, the president of the NFL clears 30 mil a year, is a NON-Profit organization, exempt from taxes, and if that is not bad enough, most of their stadiums have been built with mostly public funds. I can't see a doctor without amassing huge debt, but these incredibly wealthy jerks are actually making profit just from the subsidies they receive. We can argue about the merits of sports vs. music, but the fact remains that the NFL is actively stealing from the citizens of their cities and states.

September 28, 2013 at 10:52 PM · Judging by people's Sunday habits, I would venture a guess that it was a non-profit by virtue of its status as a religious institution.

I read that article and it really bugged me, but nothing is going to change until the fanbase realizes that subsidizing such a profitable business is ridiculous. Maybe the health and concussion approach is a better starting point to make people aware that something isn't right.

And I disagree that the classical music world should be modeled on the NFL. That would involve forming monopolies that lock players into bad contracts in order to pay a select few incredible amounts of money. That would involve huge commercialization and marketing of products to people as a driver of "the brand". That would involve parents pushing their kids to compete at very young ages at the possible risk of their physical and/or mental health. That would involve many young adults burned-out after realizing that they can't fulfill their dreams, and feeling like they have given so much of themselves and gotten nothing back.

Luckily, classical music has none of those problems.

September 29, 2013 at 12:19 AM · The idea behind public funding for a stadium is the prospect of 60,000 fans coming into town every Sunday, buying beer at local stores, eating pizza at local resturants, etc, etc. Thereby stimulating the local economy and making back the investment ten fold.

That's the story anyhow.

September 29, 2013 at 04:04 AM · "A more constructive approach would be to learn from what makes sports work."

What makes sports work is crony capitalism and political patronage.

The last time my alma mater (a top liberal arts school) asked for money, I replied that I'd be happy to give...when the head football coach was making the same salary as the average faculty member. The have not contacted me yet...

September 29, 2013 at 07:35 AM · Haha Scott, perfect response.

Sports are fine, but mozart a better. People rarely give it a fair chance, and hear music like that as boring. I bet people would love it if given opportunities to really appreciate it. Music appreciation since kindergarten would convince me to donate to any public school system.

September 30, 2013 at 03:23 AM · We don't want public funding, for Pete's sake. Keep in mind that everything that is subsidized is also regulated. I don't need the government telling me where I can play, how much I get paid, how many tickets a soloist could sell to a single concert, etc. And keep in mind that it's the wealthy who buy season tickets to symphonies, who purchase the best seats at every concert you'll ever play at, and who are often in large parts responsible for many of the wonderful arts schools across the country. Keep a perspective.

September 30, 2013 at 05:17 PM · From Sander Marcus

Posted on September 28, 2013 at 04:53 PM

> I can see it now:

>

> "OK, folks !!

> Getcher programs here.

Here's Peter Schickele's approach to "New Horizons in Music Appreciation".

October 1, 2013 at 04:24 PM · Polly, if that is the case, why is it not true for the NFL? The NFL is not heavily regulated by the government, in fact it was even given an anti-trust exemption and encouraged to form a monopoly, they keep all rights to the stadiums, and copyrights to the content created there (even though that content was funded by the public). They don't seem to have any issues. How much would it cost to be completely rid of the problems plaguing the Minnesota Orchestra? A fiftieth of what they gave the Vikings? A hundredth? Would 2 million cover it? Because that is only 1/250th of what they gave the sports team that only vaguely mentioned moving. Let us not forget that a top notch orchestra is a huge community resource, provides jobs (other than just musicians too) and should be valued enough by a community that the public steps up and asks the government to keep it alive, rather than the government without request giving away another half billion dollars (while already over a billion in the hole) to a team that in NO WAY needs the funds to continue operating. Makes me sick.

October 1, 2013 at 04:27 PM · "And keep in mind that it's the wealthy who buy season tickets to symphonies, who purchase the best seats at every concert you'll ever play at, and who are often in large parts responsible for many of the wonderful arts schools across the country." --

Well then why isn't the NFL funding left to the wealthy? Why do some feel the need to give our hard earned tax dollars (which are desperately needed elsewhere) to a massively profitable organization? They DO NOT need the money to continue operating, and I would venture that most of the team owners are hard line republicans who speak out against 'entitlements' for the poor, all the while holding out open hands, and feeling entitled to our money.

October 2, 2013 at 01:51 PM · On, believe me, I think the government should stay out of the NFL. But, there are regulations in place, or coming down the line, so don't be fooled by not being able to see them. I wasn't arguing that it's acceptable that the NFL gets money (it certainly isn't) but that musicians shouldn't look to the government to fix all their contract disputes.

October 2, 2013 at 02:04 PM · And your argument is a red herring. "Why isn't funding the NFL left to the wealthy?" You're not answering my point, you're bringing me back to your first point. The answer is pretty obvious, if you think about it. The NFL is pretty doggone profitable, and can be completely self sufficient, they just are on the list of accepted businesses to give tax breaks and such like to, a participant in crony capitalism. Secondly, your thing about Republicans doesn't belong on violinist.com. You're obviously some type of liberal dissing a group of people to which some of us here happen to belong, which is quite possibly against terms and conditions. Fact of the matter is that a lot of NFL guys from players to managers to top honchos are not Republicans with closed hearts to the poor, but individuals who would rather let the government handle the world's problems than personally get involved themselves. This applies to contract disputes, this applies to taking care of the poor, and it is a big problem for the NFL, and for Pete's sake, keep the Minnesota symphony out of these problems by all involved being reasonable, and quit asking uncle Sam to get his grubby hands in.

October 3, 2013 at 10:54 PM · "We don't want public funding, for Pete's sake. Keep in mind that everything that is subsidized is also regulated. I don't need the government telling me where I can play, how much I get paid, how many tickets a soloist could sell to a single concert, etc"

Some orchestras do in fact receive state funding, like Oregon, Colorado, and Minnesota. I'm not aware than they are regulated in any sense. I'm also not aware of excess regulations placed on any arts organizations that accept funding from the National Endowment from the Arts.

October 6, 2013 at 03:32 PM · Polly, maybe you completely missed my first response to you, or maybe you conveniently ignored it. Would make total sense if you did the latter, that tends to be the tactic of average american these days, ignore anything that is an actual answer to your half brained arguments, then attack the opponent for not answering your point. Kudos on your rhetorical skills. So here for the second time is the answer you claim I didn't give: "Polly, if that is the case, why is it not true for the NFL? The NFL is not heavily regulated by the government, in fact it was even given an anti-trust exemption and encouraged to form a monopoly, they keep all rights to the stadiums, and copyrights to the content created there (even though that content was funded by the public)."

I have just as much a right to call out the republicans here as you do to spout your libertarian 'keep the government out of everything that doesn't put money in my pocket' propaganda speak. Your admonition to 'keep perspective' is actually laughable, how about you go read some more Ayn Rand, and continue living in your little fantasy world. Leave reality to those of us who live in it please.

October 7, 2013 at 04:20 PM · The city where my orchestra is helps fund the arts with generous donations. They bailed us out last year and are also helping support us, and others, with generous management help. Some cities do care.

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