When you were a kid, did you ever spend your allowance foolishly and then sheepishly ask your parents for more money for something important – like cash to spend on a school field trip? For many families this was called a “teachable moment” and we were taught that if you spent your modest allowance on foolish things, you likely couldn’t be trusted to do better with more money.
It was a hard but important lesson to learn as a kid.
Apparently, some in state government never learned that lesson: Minnesota’s publicly funded tourist agency, Explore Minnesota, recently agreed to fund a one-year, $65,000 sponsorship with Aurora FC (Minnesota’s new women’s soccer team). This sponsorship includes an Explore Minnesota logo patch that team members will wear on their jerseys. Explore Minnesota officials believe seeing this logo will inspire women’s soccer viewers to travel to Minnesota to watch more soccer games.
Rep. Jim Nash (GOP-Waconia) raised some important and legitimate questions about this sponsorship and how exactly wearing a patch on a professional athlete’s jersey will inspire women’s soccer fans to visit Minnesota. He correctly asserted there are likely better ways to spend taxpayer dollars to lure visitors from afar to once again resume travel and to include Minnesota on that list of places to visit.
Tourism in Minnesota is serious business and many of those businesses that depend upon Midwest tourists patronizing our resorts, small businesses, and restaurants have suffered mightily during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rather than squandering even the smallest amount away when businesses so desperately need help, we hope Explore Minnesota will use their taxpayer-paid budget of $28.4 million more wisely in the future.