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SBD/December 4, 2013/Facilities
Vikings Break Ground On New Stadium, But Opposition To Public Financing Deal Remains
Published December 4, 2013
CRITICISM STILL COMING: In Minneapolis, John Vomhof Jr. noted stadium opponents yesterday morning held a press conference at the Minnesota state capitol to "criticize the funding mechanisms used to pay the state's portion of the costs" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 12/3). In St. Paul, Bill Salisbury noted leaders of three conservative groups yesterday predicted the stadium's proponents "will be back for more state funding to finish the project." Taxpayers League of Minnesota President and former Minnesota state Sen. Ted Lillie said that taxes on electronic gaming meant to subsidized the state's portion of the stadium funding are "falling far short of projections, and he warned that stadium backers would try to tap tax dollars that would otherwise go into the state's general fund to plug a shortfall in funding for the project" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/4). Mark Wilf said, "We're focused on the project, the jobs it's bringing to Minnesota and what it's going to do for the economy." ESPN.com's Ben Goessling noted Mark Wilf "reminded those in attendance that Minneapolis is a finalist" for the '18 Super Bowl and has bid for the College Football Playoff championship game in '17. Numerous speeches "pointed to the 4.3 million work hours that will go into the project, and Rybak celebrated the revitalization the stadium will bring to Minneapolis' sleepy Downtown East neighborhood" (ESPN.com, 12/3).
BANKING ON IT: In N.Y., Pat Borzi writes criticism over the Vikings' facility deal with the state "brought a local face to the national discussion over public contributions to sports stadiums." Exactly how much the Wilfs "are committing remains a point of contention." The financing bill "calls for the Vikings to contribute" $477M, which will be "culled from three sources: the NFL; a financial consortium led by Goldman Sachs and U.S. Bank; and the Wilfs, developers from New Jersey who tightly guard their net worth." With the covered overruns, the team's share is "expected to surpass" $500M, a little more than half the cost. But the selling of naming rights "could reduce the Wilfs' share or the amount financed." Minnesota state Sen. Dave Thompson said, "I'd like to see the Wilfs put more skin in the game" (NYTIMES.com, 12/3).