SBD/Issue 154/Facilities & Venues

Vikings Create Grassroots Effort To Build Support For Stadium

Vikings Officials Have Created "Minnesota
Momentum" Effort To Garner Stadium Support

No formal Vikings stadium funding proposal has been offered at the Minnesota state Legislature, but that "hasn't stopped the Vikings -- in ways big and small -- from pushing every other button they can in the final weeks" of the Legislative session, according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Team officials have "created a grass-roots effort to enlist stadium support that they are calling 'Minnesota Momentum,'" and fans who "become 'recruiters' get a chance to win free game tickets if they sign up by Friday." Vikings DE Jared Allen has "become something of a poster child for the Vikings' stadium push." After a "surprise appearance" at a gathering of legislators Thursday, Allen "trekked on to an even smaller event -- an informal dinner of legislators at an apartment complex after a long day of committee hearings." Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said Allen is "a supporter of what we're trying to accomplish." Bagley added that the team is "attempting to capitalize ... on the growing interest -- by fans, the business community and legislators -- in finding a way to publicly fund a stadium before the legislative session ends in mid-May." But some legislators said that they are "annoyed by the aggressiveness of a stadium effort that is being conducted largely out of the public eye and too late in the session for thorough debate." Those that "strongly oppose" a Vikings stadium said that "while the odds remain long ... they worry the stadium drive is gaining traction." Minnesota state Sen. John Marty, a "longtime critic of public stadium subsidies," said, "I'm all of a sudden becoming very concerned" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/23).

BUSINESS MEETING: In St. Paul, Jason Hoppin reports the team's "recruitment of business support has Vikings officials zigzagging the state, making whistle-stops at every chamber of commerce luncheon from Austin to Owatonna." Bagley said that the team "also has visited with the CEOs of some of the top companies in Minnesota, including General Mills, Ecolab, Medtronic and others" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 4/23).

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