Target Field generated nearly three times more tax revenue last year than Dome did in 2009

Categories: Economy
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Target Field has played a role in increasing tax revenues and downtown eating and drinking, but is it enough?
Figures supplied by both the Twins and the public ballpark authority and a separate analysis by the Department of Revenue indicate Target Field has has significantly increased the amount of sales and use taxes generated by the Twins.

The numbers show that the ballpark generated $17 million in tax revenue last year, compared to $18.6 million during Target Field's inaugural 2010 season. According to the Star Tribune, in 2009, the last season before Target Field opened, the Twins generated just $6 million in tax revenue at the Metrodome.

While last year's dip in tax revenue reflects the gradual waning of Target Field's honeymoon period -- and with 300,000 less fans expected at Twins games this season, the number will almost certainly decline again this year -- the team is clearly generating more tax revenue at its new home than it did at the Dome.

It should be noted, however, that the post-Target Field tax revenue numbers include at least $4.5 million generated by ticket sales under the city's entertainment tax. When the Twins played at the Dome, ticket sales weren't subject to the tax, meaning that $4.5 million slice of the pie doesn't reflect increased economic activity.

With regard to downtown more broadly, there are indications that Target Field has indeed played a role in stimulating economic activity. State analysts report that downtown liquor tax proceeds were up a staggering 40 percent in 2010 and 2011 compared to the $1.9 million generated in 2007, but warn that part of the increase is simply due to the economy pulling out of recession. Similarly, downtown restaurant taxes were up 11 percent last year compared to 2007, though they've been increasing steadily each year since 2004.

So while Target Field is apparently helping fill tax coffers and driving business to downtown bars and restaurants, there's still a long ways to go before Hennepin County taxpayers will see a full return on their $350 million investment. And with the Twins struggling on the field and attendance declining -- the team expects annual attendance to level off at about 2.7 million per season, compared to 3.2 million in 2010 -- the timeframe for realizing that return  could continue to get pushed further into the future.

Related coverage:
-- Despite quiet offseason, Twins still on track to pack Target Field
-- Twins payroll: Why in Gardy's name is it being slashed?

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