SBD/Issue 64/Facilities & Venues

Metrodome Roof Collapse Adds Fuel To Vikings' New Stadium Push

Metrodome Roof Has Collapsed Four
Times During Its 28-Year Existence

Vikings President Mark Wilf yesterday said that it is "premature to discuss" whether the collapse of the Metrodome roof yesterday "changes the debate over a new stadium," according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Snow and high winds deflated the Metrodome roof, forcing yesterday's Giants-Vikings game to move to Detroit's Ford Field and to be played tonight. Wilf yesterday said, "We're focused on the Giants game tomorrow. There will be a proper time to discuss such things." Kaszuba notes while the roof collapse is "likely to add fuel to the stadium debate," state legislators indicated that the episode "should not leapfrog the state's numbing $6.2 billion budget deficit in importance." Minnesota state Rep. Greg Davids said that the "collapse didn't change the fundamental issue: Though the team remains important to Minnesota, no workable plan exists to raise tax money for a new stadium that avoids using direct state aid" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/13). Yesterday marked the "fourth time in the Metrodome's 28-year history" that the roof collapsed. The roof gave way at 5:00am CT when "three fabric panels tore under the weight of more than 24 inches of snow in places." Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Dir of Facilities & Engineering Steve Maki said that officials from Birdair Structures today "will arrive in Minneapolis to assess damage and start repair work." It is unknown "how long repairs might take" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/13).

A BLESSING IN DISGUISE: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman writes the roof collapse was a "blessing in disguise for the Vikings," who may also be forced to move next week's home game against the Bears. Even people "against a new stadium will have to see that the team can no longer depend on the Dome to be its home." MSFC Chair Roy Terwilliger said, "This will make people aware, all the more aware, that the facility is nearly 30 years old and needs to be replaced" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/13). FANHOUSE.com's David Steele wrote, "It's an awful, and potentially tragic, reason for seeing the Vikings go after 50 years. But it's still leverage to owner Zygi Wilf and the supporters of a publicly-funded replacement for the Metrodome." Vikings fans should "feel entitled to some pessimism." The idea of "using a natural disaster as cover to spirit a franchise out of town is not exactly new (as Saints fans would like to forget)." Steele: "Mother Nature may have made the decision for everybody -- sealing the deal that Father Time couldn't" (FANHOUSE.com, 12/12). SI.com's Don Banks wrote, "It's hard to believe the Metrodome roof-collapse was real. ... Could Vikings owner Zygi Wilf have asked for a better visual than that in his quest to get his team a new stadium in the Twin Cities?" (SI.com, 12/12). Fox' Howie Long said, "You think they need a new stadium in Minneapolis? I think so" ("Fox NFL Sunday," Fox, 12/12). CBS' Charley Casserly said of Zygi Wilf, "This has to strengthen his argument in the need for a new stadium in Minnesota or guess what, maybe we just ought to move on" ("The NFL Today," CBS, 12/12). Bloomberg TV's Michele Steele: "You can't help but think that they're going to reference this when they lobby for some new digs" (Bloomberg TV, 12/13). In San Diego, Matthew Hall writes, "A gaping hole in the roof of the Metrodome that could cost team owners a lot of money? Nah, that would never be used in negotiations. The grass in Los Angeles, where snow exists only on Hollywood sets, may be greener already" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/13).

ALL OPPOSED? Prior to the roof collapse, the STAR TRIBUNE's Kaszuba noted a new poll shows "considerable resistance" among Minnesotans to publicly financing a new stadium. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, "generally reflected other polls regarding the stadium and found that 61 percent of Minnesota voters opposed using tax dollars for the project." The poll reported that 49% "would rather have the team move to California than get public subsidies in Minnesota." Minnesota residents, however, "were receptive to using proceeds from racino ... to build a new Vikings stadium." Sixty-two percent "favored raising money from gaming to build a new stadium, and only a quarter of those asked opposed it." The poll surveyed 949 Minnesota voters on Dec. 4-5, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.2% (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/11).

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