Zimmern: Too late to ask Super Bowl perk questions

The conversation surrounding the weekend revelation of perks demanded by the NFL in exchange for Minneapolis hosting Super Bowl LII entered the “don’t worry about it” phase today.

The advice comes from famed foodie Andrew Zimmern, who takes on local scribes today for paying attention to the controversy.

That’s like crying fire after you passed around the gasoline and matches, for the 50th time! Every newspaper-person, government official, civic leader, etc. who is opining foul, who is screaming for transparency in the process, or who thinks the NFL did anything out of sorts is naïve at best, and at worst is feigning anger to gain reader sympathy and stir the pot unnecessarily.

Even small conferences that come into the Twin Cities have lists of asks when they circulate the RFPs to see where to hold a convention or a major multi-day event.

If you are the NFL and awarding a Super Bowl, you CAN’T do it unless you contractually have a city on the arm for a certain number of perks they can re-sell as sponsored events (bowling tournaments), or a guarantee of state of the art infrastructure like cell towers and the like. It’s how these things work.

It’s the price of doing business and everyone knows that, Zimmern asserts.

“But where were the voices when it mattered? And why didn’t our pols push for that type of bid transparency to be contractually stipulated within the stadium deal for these types of events? That’s the better question.”

The pols have mostly shrugged their shoulder on the issue. Gov. Mark Dayton, who appointed the Super Bowl host committee, claimed ignorance yesterday while claiming to be “uncomfortable” with the perks but deferred to his committee. He said he hasn’t seen what the committee agreed to.

Neither has Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, according to her spokeswoman earlier this week.

The host committee has refused to release details of what it agreed to, but says there won’t be costs involved to the city or state, and that it will all be taken care of with private donations.