Citizens vote to fund arenas in 2 Minnesota cities


The UMD Bulldogs’ home ice at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) was the oldest and one of the smallest rinks in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Yet when the DECC asked Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2005 to support State funding for part of a new arena, the governor said only if Duluth voters were in favor of increasing their local sales tax to pay the city portion of the $80 million cost.

The reality in Duluth was that people were fond of their intimate rink and everyone’s pocketbooks were strained. Greenfield Communications was hired to not just overcome these concerns and get a win, but to do so in a big way to eliminate hesitation by Gov. Pawlenty.

In February 2006, 61 percent of voters said yes, and in December 2010 Amsoil Arena opened.

Here are two radio spots from the campaign.

radio radio


Several years earlier, Steve Greenfield directed the communications campaign to get Mankato voters to increase their sales taxes to build an arena that would allow Minnesota State University, Mankato to become a member of the WCHA. Despite formal research showing 68 percent in opposition a few months before the election, Greenfield’s messaging helped change opinions and make Verizon Wireless Center a reality.