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POHLAD OFFERS 49% STAKE OF TWINS TO STATE FOR STADIUM HELP
Published January 9, 1997
The Twins yesterday unveiled a proposed ballpark partnership in which Owner Carl Pohlad would contribute 49% of the team's stock to the state in return for assistance on stadium financing and a 30-year lease commitment by the team to remain in MN. In total, the Twins would contribute $157.5M toward the new stadium, including $82.5M in cash, $25M in up-front project revenues, and the 49% ownership interest, which is valued in excess of $50M. The proposal would require approval by MLB, but with public ownership of the team's stock, the state would be able to prevent the Twins from leaving MN. The Pohlad family would own 51%, retain sole rights to field and manage the team and be responsible for all operating losses (Twins). REAX: In Minneapolis, Whereatt & Weiner write the Twins and stadium backers "hope" the contribution is "enough to persuade legislators to approve the deal and come up with the difference in public money," nearly $200M. A retractable-roof stadium is estimated at $354M. Pohlad: "It's a fair plan; in fact, more than fair." MN Gov. Arne Carlson: "This sounds like a very reasonable offer. I think it's the best package of it's type put forward in the U.S. in the past 15 years." The public's 49% stake could be held by the state or sold. But, Whereatt & Weiner note, the proposal got a "cool" reception from state legislators. State Rep. Loren Solberg, chair of a top House budget committee: "I want to see where the rest of the dollars come from. I'm not won over so far" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9). Sen. John Marty: "It's not going to fool the public. I don't think it's going to fool most legislators" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9). Weiner notes MLB has "long frowned" on public ownership. But Carl Pohlad's son Bob said, "We expect no objections. The operating control of the club rests with my dad" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9). A 'GIFT': Under the header, "A Gift From The Pohlads," columnist Patrick Reusse writes that the Pohlads "could have followed the pattern set by baseball proprietors in Chicago, Cleveland, Seattle and Cincinnati, and by football owners in Cleveland, Houston, and Los Angeles. ... Instead, a remarkable thing happened" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9).