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Super Bowl benefits outweigh NFL’s demands, Dayton says

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ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday that the requests the NFL makes of Super Bowl host cities are “way overboard” but that those issues are outweighed by the benefits of bringing the game to town.

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“I don’t think anybody needs free bowling alleys. Anybody who can afford to come here for the Super Bowl can afford to pay for the shoes and bowling ball and lane time,” Dayton said, referring to one of the reported requests from the NFL that bowling alleys be made available free for a celebrity event.

The list of conditions “doesn’t fit with my personal tastes,” Dayton said, but “the perfect is the enemy of the very good, and this is a very good deal for Minnesota.”

Dayton was responding to questions from the media about a Sunday report in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune laying out the NFL’s terms for host cities. Officials involved in preparing the successful Super Bowl bid have not said which of the NFL’s conditions they agreed to, nor have they released their bid package publicly. Last month, the league awarded the 2018 Super Bowl to Minneapolis, to be played in the new $1 billion Vikings stadium being built downtown on the site of the old Metrodome.

Dayton said he didn’t know which league requests have been granted, but he said he’s been assured any costs involved will be paid from private sources.

He also said he would have no problem with the bid proposal being released to the public, but that he hasn’t consulted the attorneys to find out what issues are involved.

The Pioneer Press requested the bid as soon as it was submitted in May, but lawyers for Meet Minneapolis and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said the data was nonpublic and would not be released until after the 2018 Super Bowl is played.

Dayton said too much attention is being focused on the few problems related to the stadium and Super Bowl and not enough said about the economic benefits of hosting the game and the related development being sparked around the stadium site.

“It’s just unfortunate there’s not a more balanced perspective, but that’s the way it is,” he said.

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