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Volume 24 No. 157


The Metrodome held its final game yesterday with the Vikings' win over the Lions, and the facility appeared to lose "only a few small items" to memento seekers, as team security staff and the Minneapolis police "doubled their presence in the 32-year-old building brimming with history" to prevent theft, according to a front-page piece by Andy Greder of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson John Elder said that about 25 fans "were caught trying to steal seats and banners, but they were not arrested," and added that the fans "were caught in the concourse or outside the stadium." Elder said that the seats and banners "were confiscated, and the fans left with nothing more than a reprimand." He added that the Vikings' security staff "increased to about 600 from around 400 and the number of Minneapolis police officers increased to 110 from 60." The Vikings "were able to avoid a repeat of the bedlam" that occurred after the team's final game at Metropolitan Stadium in '81 (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/30).

FANS SEEK FINAL FAREWELL: In Minneapolis, Richard Meryhew in a front-page piece reports about 64,000 fans "braved a bit­ter De­cem­ber chill to bid fare­well to the much-ma­ligned Tef­lon-co­vered sta­di­um." They "came from I­o­wa and North Dakota and as far away as London to catch a piece of his­to­ry." The Metrodome in the coming weeks "will be razed to make way" for a $1B, "state-of-the-art upgrade." The dome "went out Sunday with a bit of a whimper," as there were "ex­tra se­curi­ty of­fic­ers lin­ing the field at game’s end and an ad­di­tion­al 50 off-duty Minneapolis po­lice of­fic­ers work­ing the con­course and the crowd." Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said, "No one was in­jured. Every­­thing was re­spect­ful. It was a great day." The Vikings will play the next two seasons outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium on the Univ. of Minnesota Campus, with their new stadium "scheduled to open in time" for the '16 season (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/30).

A LOOK BACK AT THE 'DOME: In Minneapolis, Patrick Reusse noted the Metrodome opened in '82 "for an original cost" of $55M. Insults regarding the facility's quality "were so frequent that the offended Dome staff for years had the slogan 'We Like It Here' painted above the tunnel in the right field corner." The "more fitting epitaph for the Metrodome’s gravestone would be, 'We Got Our Money’s Worth'" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/29).

The L.A. Memorial Coliseum was "flirting with insolvency, but that didn't stop its government overseers from incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses to keep secret their deliberations on a new long-term lease for the stadium," according to Pringle & Lin II of the L.A. TIMES. The Coliseum Commission for more than a year "fought an open-government lawsuit that challenged the legality of the closed-door talks on USC's lease of the historic venue." The suit also "sought to make records related to the deal public." The commission after "losing the court battle" had to "pay about $415,000 in legal expenses incurred by the plaintiffs in the case." Experts said that the award, "paid last week, is one of the largest ever granted under the state's transparency statutes." The commission also was "forced to give The Times hundreds of pages of Coliseum emails." The e-mails show interim Coliseum Commission GM John Sandbrook "granting nearly every wish USC had for the negotiations and then helping the university build and maintain political support for the lease." Some of the e-mails the government "sought to keep under wraps show that the stadium officials and USC collaborated in securing backing for the lease in City Hall and Sacramento." As the lease talks progressed, Sandbrook also "tipped off USC negotiator Kristina Raspe to potential missteps that could hurt USC's position" (L.A. TIMES, 12/28).