Vikings Owner Wilf Pushes Stadium Plan Ahead Of Special Legislative Session
Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf took part in a Q&A as the Vikings “take their quest for a new home into the overtime of a yet-to-be-scheduled special session of the Legislature,” according to Dave Orrick of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. Below are excerpts from the interview.
Q: How confident are you that the Legislature will even take up the issue, and how confident are you that the plan will pass?
Wilf: We believe we will be part of a special session discussion. We've done our part of everything the legislators have asked of us. We've come here with a local partner in Ramsey County and a site in Arden Hills. Now, we're all working together to come up with a financing plan.
Q: As I understand it, your recent meeting with AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke in Minneapolis wasn't about moving the team to Los Angeles, where he's looking to build a stadium.
Wilf: They were just in town for meeting about the Target Center, which they manage. I spoke to them about needing some sort of sports entertainment model so I can plan this the right way in Arden Hills. There was nothing else to it.
Q: Under the current Arden Hills deal, you're bringing a hefty contribution to the table. But part of it is likely to be NFL money, and part of it will be from future revenues. How much actual cash are you bringing to the deal, and what do you say to people who think a multimillionaire should be putting up more of his own money?
Wilf: It's a significant contribution, from where we began at the beginning of the year. We're talking about $407 million, plus whatever it might cost above that for a private financial contribution. There's $20 million per year in operation costs and game-day costs and overruns. There's no guarantee of any NFL money; I don't look at that as anything but our money (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/28).
COVERING SOME OF THE COST: In Minneapolis, Rochelle Olson notes a seven-page report from consultant Springsted indicates that Ramsey County's proposed sales tax increase “would provide enough economic gusto to support $350 million in bonds for a $1 billion Vikings stadium in Arden Hills.” The proposed increase “would bring in more than the necessary $22.5 million for annual debt payments.” Olson writes the report still “isn't likely to change the minds of those who want a statewide tax or user fees to cover the public share of the costs” (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 6/1).