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SBD/May 9, 2012/Facilities
Minnesota Senate Approves Bill Bringing Vikings Closer To New Stadium
Published May 9, 2012
TIME RUNNING SHORT: In St. Paul, Doug Belden in a front-page piece reports with time “running short in the legislative session, the bills now head to a House-Senate conference committee to resolve the differences” between what the two governing bodies have passed. A compromise bill would need a “second approval in both chambers before heading” to Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton. Meanwhile, Belden notes an effort to reinforce Minneapolis’ charter language in a “way that could have complicated the city’s ability to use money from existing sales taxes to renovate the Target Center was defeated.” Efforts to amend the bill to include a racino “did not succeed” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/9). NFL Network's Steve Wyche noted by the end of the week, the Vikings "should know if they’ve got a plan in place to have a stadium built.” However, this has been a "long, slugfest of a battle,” and there still are “potential hiccups” (“NFL Total Access,” NFL Network, 5/8).
TWISTS AND TURNS: In Minneapolis, Jon Tevlin writes, “Monday, amendments flooded into the speaker’s podium like pleas from dying men. Tuesday was even worse, with more than 100.” By yesterday evening, “it appeared the Vikings and their fans would get their stadium, and everyone from downtown business to unions and hog butchers will get a little somethin’ and in the end we’ll all pay for it, through the nose” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/9). The AP's Brian Bakst notes if the Vikings want to “break out of the shabby Metrodome,” they will “need to ante up or walk away empty-handed.” Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf “won’t be cutting a personal check -- at least not for most of it." The team "expects to tap into an NFL loan program for as much as $200 million." The Vikings also "cash in on naming rights, sell seat licenses and leverage other new revenue streams from a state-of-the-art stadium to make good on its debt.” The Vikings say their costs “go beyond the upfront contributions.” Team officials said that they “will pay an annual rent and help defray the operating costs of the building, which a public authority would also rent out for concerts, conventions, monster truck pulls and other activities.” Bakst notes, in “sheer dollars, the current Vikings stadium plan would be the third priciest” in football, trailing the facilities built for the Jets, Giants and Cowboys. The public contribution by percentage “could still shift, but in all likelihood a Minnesota subsidy is likely to cover between 40 and 50 percent of construction.” That would put the Vikings package “somewhere in the middle of NFL projects over the past dozen years” (AP, 5/9).
COULD L.A. BE THE ANSWER? ESPN's John Clayton said there is "no question about it” that if the Vikings do not get a stadium deal they would relocate to L.A. Clayton: “L.A. is on an 18-month cycle to see if they can get a franchise, and here’s a franchise that can become available after this season.” Wilf “wants to stay in Minnesota, but if this option slips away … what choice do the Vikings have but to move?” ("NFL Live," ESPN, 5/8). However, ESPN's Chris Mortensen said as much as NFL owners “want a team in Los Angeles, they don’t necessarily want it to be the Vikings." They "want to hold the NFC North together.” The Wilfs “have done it the right way." Mortensen: "They’ve taken the high road. They haven’t threatened publicly to make that move but clearly, that’s very much a possibility” (“NFL32,” ESPN2, 5/8). Meanwhile, in L.A., Sam Farmer reports AEG yesterday unveiled its latest rendering of Farmers Field, which includes an "open-roofed venue that almost looks as if it's wearing transparent shoulder pads, with outdoor concourses." The plan calls for a "light, accordion-style roof that is somewhat translucent, as well as lighter and less expensive than a typical retractable covering." Gensler Dir of Sports & Entertainment Ron Turner, whose company is designing the stadium, said, "From the very beginning, it was important that we had a building that felt like it was in L.A., that was very open" (L.A. TIMES, 5/9).