SBD/Issue 56/Facilities & Venues

Vikings Confirm L.A. Talks, But Remain Focused On Minnesota

Vikings Eyeing Four Sites
In Minnesota

Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley yesterday confirmed that the team "has been approached by groups that want to bring the team to Los Angeles, but he stressed that the team wants to find a stadium solution in Minnesota," according to John Vomhof Jr. of the MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESSS JOURNAL. Bagley during a "stadium-focused chat with fans on Vikings.com" said that the Vikings "have been approached by the two main groups behind the efforts to bring the NFL to Los Angeles" -- one led by Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski and the other by AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke. Bagley: "We've told those groups that we are focused on resolving the issue in Minnesota. We feel solid momentum and feel we're well-positioned with the new Legislature and governor." Bagley said that the team is "considering multiple Minneapolis sites and one suburban site." The team is currently "focused on funding proposals that center on user-based revenue, such as lottery games, a surcharge on NFL merchandise and various hospitality-related taxes." Using "racino" or "other gaming revenue also could be an option." Bagley said that if a stadium deal is finalized next year, the Vikings "will commit to signing a lease that will keep the team in the new facility until 2045." If the team "decides to build on the current site of the Metrodome, it would talk to the University of Minnesota about playing games at TCF Bank Stadium during the construction period" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/30).

HATCHING A PLAN: Bagley yesterday said that the team hopes to "have a plan for a publicly owned stadium, including site, costs and a financial partner, to present to state lawmakers within 30 to 60 days." Bagley said that the team is "'doing due diligence' on four sites: three in Minneapolis and one in a suburb." One site "likely is where the Metrodome stands on the east side of downtown Minneapolis." The "estimated cost of a fixed-roof stadium" is $791M, but Bagley said that construction costs "would vary by site" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/1). Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Kevin Duchschere notes Minnesota state legislators and Vikings fans "alike are worried about how a lockout could affect a publicly financed stadium deal." A lockout "could give cover to pro-stadium legislators worried about the issue's political risks, and ammunition to those already indisposed to helping fund a new stadium" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/1).

DRAWING THE LINE: In Atlanta, Bob Barr notes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during a recent visit to the city "made it quite clear that if Atlanta ever wants to host another Super Bowl, city leaders and the state first will have to construct a brand new stadium." Barr writes Goodell's "demand on Atlanta and Georgia in these tight economic times is particularly galling." City and state leaders "have more than enough fiscal problems on their plates than to worry about appeasing the NFL or one of its clubs." Barr: "They should say 'no' to corporate sports welfare, even if it means temporarily disappointing some sports junkies" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/1).

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