Would Minnesota's New Football Stadium Outlive Football?

The Minnesota legislature has been in a months-long battle to agree on a stadium proposal that would keep the Vikings in town (it looks like they'll succeed), and it's a safe bet that they won't be the last city or state that has this problem, as the debate over publicly-financed stadiums continues nationwide.

At the same time, the NFL's facing unprecedented scrutiny over the health risks inherent to football, intellectuals are debating whether we should ban the college game, and this week, ESPN's Outside the Lines reported on the risks of football among youth.

All of which leads to a good question as cities and states fork over hundreds of millions of dollars and take on 30-year stadium bonds: Will new football stadiums actually outlive football?

This blog post takes a good look at the issue, and centers of this:

when you're talking about building a stadium that probably won't be open for five years and then is expected to last another 30, it's good to take the long view. And the long view for football is indeed problematic...

The NFL is facing what seems like a neverending current of litigation surrounding football and its health risks, but worse than that, there's no real solution in sight.

So when you talk about the future of football, there's more uncertainty than you'd expect considering how outrageously popular it's been for the past 10 years. Sure, there's a chance they don't play the game at all in 30 years, but that's an extreme scenario. More likely? As the public understands the risks better, it could become something like boxing or pro wrestling, marginalized and taboo among the mainstream (and without all the big money sponsorships from image-conscious beer and car companies).

In other words, a city's investment in pro football may not bring back the same return 20 years from now. Anyway, it's just a question, and nobody can really answer for sure as to where football's headed. But the question itself says a lot about where football is in 2012.

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