Strong Local TV Ratings For Vikings Could Be A Factor In Stadium Debate
As the Minnesota Senate "begins hearings Tuesday on a Vikings stadium, both the team and stadium critics have repeatedly pointed to the Vikings television ratings to bolster their case," according to a front-page piece by Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Vikings ratings locally "in recent years have been among the best in the league," and the team last year "boasted the fifth best television ratings" in the NFL. For the Vikings, the ratings "show how the team is woven into the fabric of Minnesota." However, stadium critics are using the ratings to show that the NFL, "despite subtle hints, is unlikely to abandon such a lucrative television market." Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said that the ratings "are a ready-made argument for a public subsidy package to help the Vikings build a $1.1 billion stadium in Ramsey County's Arden Hills." However, Taxpayers League of Minnesota President Phil Krinkie said that the ratings "show there is little likelihood the Vikings would leave Minnesota -- with or without a new stadium." Krinkie: "This is all about money for (an NFL) owner, right? So why would you want to move a team out of Minnesota? These people aren't stupid." Kaszuba notes NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy "acknowledged that 'fan support is among the factors' considered by the league when allowing a franchise to relocate, as is a 'viable stadium solution.'" McCarthy added that the NFL "has not done an analysis of why Minnesota's television ratings have been so high" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/29).