SBD/18/Sports Society

MINNESOTANS LEARNING ABOUT ECONOMY FORMERLY KNOWN AS SPORTS

          In the wake of the Timberwolves' Kevin Garnett turning
     down a $100M-plus contract offer and a public debate over
     funding for facilities for the Vikings, Twins and an NHL
     expansion team, the "new sports economy" was examined in a
     front-page Sunday feature by Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis
     STAR TRIBUNE.  Weiner: "How we got here -- big salaries,
     overspending owners and public subsidies -- is already
     troubling to many Minnesotans.  But where we're going is
     even more uncertain."  Jeffrey Pollack, Publisher of The
     Sports Business Daily: "As long as the market is willing to
     bear it, the owners have to be willing and capable of paying
     it escalating salaries.  It means that by buying tickets,
     watching sports on television and purchasing T-shirts and
     hats, fans are helping make sports a $52-billion-a-year
     industry."  Weiner: "What makes pro sports so maddening for
     the average citizen-taxpayer, especially now in Minnesota,
     is that 'the market' is not just driven by owners, agents
     and customers.  It is also driven by cities and states."  
     MN Stadium Task Force Chair/State Sen. Keith Langseth: "The
     fear that people have is that we aren't at the peak of all
     of this.  If we put in public money now, are we faced with
     being back here again?  Somewhere along the line, this thing
     has got to correct itself" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/17). 
     
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