SBD/Issue 155/Facilities & Venues

Vikings Confident In Stadium Deal Before Legislature Adjourns

Vikings President Confident State Legislature Will
Approve Public Subsidy Package For New Stadium

Vikings President Mark Wilf Friday said that he is confident the Minnesota Legislature -- with only three weeks until adjournment -- will “approve a public subsidy package for a new stadium this year,” according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. No proposal for public subsidies has been “formally presented,” and Wilf “denied that much of the deal-making was occurring out of the public eye.” Wilf: “I wouldn’t view it as something going on behind closed doors.” He said that the Vikings were “leaving it to legislative leaders to determine when the proposal would be made public and what the details might be.” Wilf: “We are optimistic and confident.” He said legislative leaders are telling him “this is something they want to get done.” Wilf added that NFL officials, “at some point, would probably help testify at legislative hearings.” Wilf: “They’re very supportive, and they’ll be out here.” He also “left open the possibility" on Friday that proposals for a new St. Paul Saints baseball stadium and a practice facility for the Wild in downtown St. Paul “could become part of the Vikings stadium plan” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/24). Meanwhile, in St. Paul, Joe Soucheray wrote, “St. Paul should get the Vikings stadium. … Let’s go for it. Let’s just suck it up and get in the game. The Minnesota Vikings should be playing in Lowertown.” Soucheray: We have already proven that hosting the big leagues is a success. The Wild have sold out every home game they played, not that selling out a Vikings game will be a problem” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 4/24).

BIG SCREEN DREAMS: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Don Muret reports the Vikings "have set their sights on a center-hung video board after the NFL prototype has proved to be a game-changer at Cowboys Stadium." Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said that the team has talked with its architect, HKS, "about the possibility of hanging a big screen over the field from a fixed roof at a rebuilt Metrodome." Principals tied to the project noted that "all scoreboard options are on the table until state lawmakers approve a finance plan." Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Bill Lester indicated that the $870M budget for a dome retrofit includes $7.5M for a "traditional end-zone scoreboard, an old baseline number that would have to be bumped up significantly to include a center-hung board." The Metrodome has played host to the Super Bowl and two Final Fours, but none since '01. Lester acknowledged that a center-hung board "could boost the market’s chances for bringing those mega-events back to town" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/26 issue).

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