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Volume 24 No. 155


Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf said making his net worth public as part of a New Jersey civil suit "will pose a serious threat to me and my family," adding "malicious individuals" could target them for physical attack and extortion, according to a front-page piece by Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. New Jersey Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson on Monday "gave the family 20 days to appeal her decision." The Wilfs, who are "finalizing negotiations" for a new $975M stadium that would publicly subsidized, are "fighting the ruling." Wilf indicated that making his net worth public "might affect his business dealings as the owner of the Vikings and could 'damage' the family’s overall business efforts." The Wilfs "have long kept their business dealings private," but the civil suit has "shed a rare spotlight on the family’s financial affairs and over the past month has given Minnesota officials pause as they complete negotiations" for the new stadium. Wilson on Monday pointed out that estimates of Wilf's net worth "were already posted" online, and that Wilf had "chosen to maintain a high public profile." Wilson: "If one is reclusive about one’s net worth, I think you probably don’t become the owner of an [NFL] franchise" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/11).

WHERE WERE YOU A YEAR AGO? In St. Paul, Tom Powers wrote, "Minnesota should not move one shovelful of earth for a new Vikings stadium until the Wilf family publicly discloses its net worth." Getting a stadium deal done "remains a good thing, although the state's due diligence was horrendous." The Wilfs "have been on trial for years in New Jersey," and if Minnesota "did know about it, why is there such a panic to revisit the Wilfs' finances following the judgment?" Powers: "Maybe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell showed up at the Capitol and reiterated that everyone here should just shut up and do as they are told, or else run the risk of losing the team. In any event -- whoosh -- this went over everybody's head." It served as a "great full-pressure strategy by the NFL, executed perfectly at just the right time," and if it "weren't for all those unfortunate court judgments, this all might be water under the bridge by now" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/10).

The Yankees are "facing a record" MLB luxury tax penalty of $29.1M, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. That figure is "about equal" to the entire Astros payroll. The Yankees currently have a $236.2M payroll "for purposes of the luxury tax, and must pay a 50% tax" over the $178M threshold as a "repeat violator." The Dodgers also will be "required to pay a luxury tax this year," but their penalty "will be much less of a financial hit than the Yankees since it's their first offense." The Dodgers "will be taxed at 17.5%, paying a tax of about" $9.9M to MLB's central fund. Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten said, "We understand the impact it will be this year and in the future. But I think over time, we will become a team that doesn't pay tax." Nightengale notes once a team "averts the luxury tax for one year, it resets the team's future tax rate." The Yankees are "adamant that their payroll will plummet, and are hopeful of reducing" it below the $189M luxury tax figure beginning in '14. Kasten said, "The luxury tax is a good thing. It's been a good thing for our industry, and I'm fully supportive of it. It's made a difference" (USA TODAY, 9/11).

The MLB Cardinals have debuted a new digital video series on the Instagram social media platform. "#TheFrontOffice" parodies the former NBC comedy "The Office" and includes Phyllis Smith from that show in addition to team mascot Fredbird and various Cardinals players and execs. "#TheFrontOffice" debuted with three 15-second episodes, and will continue with daily postings over the next several weeks. One plotline will revolve around a rivalry between Fredbird and the Rally Squirrel from the club's '11 World Series title run. The Cardinals dubbed the effort an installment in its "#Nestflix Original Instagram Video Series," a pun on its nickname and the popular Netflix video service.

The Seahawks game against the 49ers on Sunday is as "hotly anticipated as any regular-season contest the team has ever played" at CenturyLink Field, according to Bob Condotta of the SEATTLE TIMES. Epic Seats co-Founder & VP/Operations James Kimmel said that the "lowest price for a ticket" to the game yesterday on his website was $225, the "most ever for a regular-season Seahawks game." He added, "It is the hottest regular-season ticket we have seen, and we’ve been in business 10 years." Kimmel said that the game "rivals any Seattle sporting event his company has seen," and that the only game with a "similar get-in-the-door price" was the '06 NFC Championship Game against the Panthers. Condotta writes given inflation and higher face-value prices, the '06 game "probably remains a more-sought ticket in relative terms." Tickets as of yesterday afternoon "were even more expensive" on StubHub, where the lowest price was $256.10 and the highest were suites listed for more than $11,000. Kimmel said that prices "have decreased slightly in the past few weeks" (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/11).