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Volume 24 No. 115


The stadium plan for the Vikings that emerged Friday "put the team in a spot any football fan could identify with -- needing a touchdown with time running out and still a long way from the end zone," according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. With six weeks "left in this year's legislative session, the proposal's formal introduction was praised" by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, and legislators on both sides said that there is "still enough time to approve a stadium funding plan." But the bill, set to be formally introduced today, "still has plenty of blank spots in it." Kaszuba noted "no site has been picked and the bill would allow nearly a year to make such a selection." Dayton on Friday "appeared open to passing legislation by mid-May that would advance a new stadium without completing a deal." He said, "I'm agreeable to that, as long as they pass something that can enable this project to move forward." Friday's bill "closely followed an outline that the plan's two GOP authors released a week ago." Under that plan, the state "would commit to as much as $300 million, largely through a series of so-called user fees that would include a pro-sports memorabilia tax, a Vikings lottery game, a sales tax on direct satellite services, plus a property tax exemption on the stadium." Three other state contributions "would come from a player income tax surcharge, a state tax on luxury boxes and the sale of the stadium's naming rights -- all moves that may draw opposition" from the team and the NFL (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/9).

FOURTH & LONG? Despite the "shrinking amount of time available" in this legislative session, state Sen. Julie Rosen said that she "didn't think legislative committees would take up the bill in the next few weeks." She acknowledged that the bill "leaves many unanswered questions, chief among them what Twin Cities city or county will partner up to host the stadium and tap local taxpayers for another portion of the cost." Rosen said that the "creation of the Stadium Authority -- which would replace the current Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission -- and the 2012 location deadline will give the Vikings more time to recruit the right local partner" (AP, 4/8). In Boston, Greg Bedard noted the Vikings "finally had their bill to build a new taxpayer-financed stadium submitted in the Minnesota legislature" on the same day the Twins "were hosting their home opener" in the publicly financed Target Field (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/10).

Plans for a football stadium in downtown San Diego “have not progressed since Mayor Jerry Sanders and Chargers President Dean Spanos held a rare meeting March 7 to discuss their mutual desire to build the team a new venue,” according to Matthew Hall of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Similar stadium plans in L.A. since then “haven’t stopped making headlines.” Sanders on XX Radio on April 1 acknowledged that he is “watching the Los Angeles drama ‘to see how it unravels.’” He said it is “really important to keep the Chargers.” He added the L.A. talk has spurred “other discussions, which are good now, with some private people.” Hall noted while Chargers and San Diego city officials “continue to meet regularly with an eye toward putting a stadium plan to a public vote in November 2012, financial negotiations won’t begin until the state and the NFL resolve their unsettled issues.” Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani said, “The collective-bargaining situation holds the key to whether the NFL is going to subsidize part of this stadium with a loan. And until there’s a (California) budget deal, everything is open for discussion and debate” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/9).

YOUR MOVE: In L.A., Bill Shaikin noted if the Chargers move from San Diego -- “most likely to Los Angeles -- the Padres will become the only team in the majors without competition from the NFL, NBA or NHL.” However, Padres President & COO Tom Garfinkel is “not so sure his team would strike gold if the Chargers bolted, because the teams share many sponsors and the market is the fourth-smallest in the majors.” Garfinkel: "We'd like the Chargers to stay. We think it's good for the city." Shaikin wrote the San Diego market is “too small and too sophisticated to ensure the Padres prosperity, even as the only game in town.” The Padres “cannot pack Petco Park unless they win” (L.A. TIMES, 4/10).

VANOC officials on Friday said that the Olympic Village used during the '10 Vancouver Games “will have a shortfall” of between C$40-50M “after all the units are sold and the construction loan paid off.” In Vancouver, Jeff Lee noted the shortfall is the “first concrete confirmation that the city is unlikely to recover all” of the C$578M it is “still owed by the former owner, Millennium Developments.” But the figure is “far better than initial estimates” by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in '08 that the city was "on the hook" for the entire cost of the C$1B village. City officials said that it is “still too early to tell what the exact shortfall will be,” and Lee noted that will “largely depend upon how strong the condo market remains” (VANCOUVER SUN, 4/9).

ALL IN FAVOR: In L.A., Rich Connell reports in a “political twist few officials appear to have anticipated,” AEG’s proposed downtown NFL stadium “could require an approval from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, not just officials at City Hall.” A review of records “spanning nearly half a century of financial and development issues involving the Los Angeles Convention Center, where the stadium would be built, shows that the county board has had to consider and vote on a range of city proposals involving the complex.” If the Convention Center accord requires changing, L.A. Special Assistant City Attorney Jane Usher said "both the city and the county must sign off." City Hall talks on a final stadium proposal "could take months" (L.A. TIMES, 4/11).

MUM'S THE WORD: Twins Owner Jim Pohlad said that he is “excited about an idea he has to further enhance” Target Field next year, but he “wants to keep it a secret and hasn't even revealed it to team management yet.” He said that he “first wants to make sure it would be approved.” Pohlad: "Last year was (generation) G1, this year is G2 and next year will be G3" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 4/10).