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POHLAD'S $111M OFFER FOR BALLPARK MET WITH "COOL" RESPONSE
Published October 27, 1997
Twins Owner Carl Pohlad pledged $111M toward construction of a new ballpark Friday, "an announcement that left [MN] legislators unimpressed and talking instead about acquiring the team from him," according to Weiner & Whereatt of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Because reaction to Pohlad's offer was "cool," legislators and Gov. Arne Carlson "instead began talking about having a charitable foundation created by the state take ownership of the team and build a scaled-down stadium." Pohlad's offer of $111M includes "at least" $35M in upfront revenue from selling the naming rights to the stadium and vendor rights (STAR TRIBUNE, 10/25). DETAILS: Pohlad's $111M offer toward the $411M ballpark "matched exactly" the recommendation by a legislative task force earlier this month. However, Weiner & Whereatt add that the offer is based on certain conditions: the team "would have to control all stadium revenue, if and when it's built; the team's Metrodome lease would have to be changed to increase team revenue by "at least" $3.5M a year while a new ballpark is being built and the business community would have to "guarantee" the purchase of 40 of the stadium's 50 luxury suites, and 22,000 season tickets in 2002, when the stadium would open -- "more than double the current season ticket sales." Sources say that Pohlad "would recoup his investment in about 20 years by receiving all of the revenue generated" by the $411M stadium (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/25). NOTES: Despite Pohlad's offer, MN Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe said ballpark approval remains a "long shot" in the Senate and is also unlikely in the House (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 10/26)....In MN, Sid Hartman wrote that with his pledge, Pohlad has secured the "guarantee that baseball owners would not block a possible move to" NC, if his offer is rejected. Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, on Pohlad's offer: "By comparison, this is extraordinary and generous" (STAR TRIBUNE, 10/25)....In Minneapolis, Dick Youngblood: "[T]he most distinctive aspect of the rancorous debate over financing a new Twins stadium has been the all-but-total absence of participation by the business community" (STAR TRIBUNE, 10/27)....For the '97 season, the Twins had gross ticket revenue of $14,498,337, an increase of $1,025,961. Concession revenue was down $195,798 from $2,307,142 in '96 to $2,111,344 this year (STAR TRIBUNE, 10/26).