New Vikings Stadium

| 39 Comments

vikes stadium.jpg
Photo from Minnpost.com

I was a big supporter of the new Twins ballfield and the new Gophers football stadium. My support was based on purely selfish and aesthetic reasons: Baseball is meant to be played outdoors and college football should be played on campus. It was a mistake to move those teams into a domed stadium and felt that both should have their own place to call home. Also both those teams are close to my heart and allegiance so of course I wanted the best for them. It was especially frustrating for the Twins and almost every state/city was building a new, interesting ballpark for their team and the Twins were being left behind.

Also, while I understood and was sympathetic to the argument against public support of basically a private enterprise, that never entered into my support for these two teams. First of course, the Gophers are a public enterprise and deserve public support. However for the Twins, it basically came down to the fact that most other baseball markets had already decided that public support was appropriate for a ballpark. Basically the price of having major league baseball was public support for a ballpark. And given that the finance agreement for a new Twins ballpark was going to cost me probably less than $150 a year, it was well worth it.

That brings us to the Vikings. I've been pretty quiet about a new Vikings stadium. This has been for a couple of reasons. One, while I watch on Sundays, the Vikings rank below the Twins and Gophers in my opinion. Also, while not ideal, indoor football at the Metrodome for professional football is ok in my book. Finally given the dire financial situation the State is in, those complaints about public support have a little more resonance.

The Vikings of course are pushing hard for a new stadium. There is no argument that, when compared to other teams, the Metrodome is not professional football-worthy. Fan amenities are low and revenue generating opportunities are slim. The Vikings lease ends in 2011 and if something is going to happen, it needs to happen soon. Although I have to say, threats of moving to California are not that realistic.

Unfortunately $950 million for a stadium in this economic climate is really tough. So given the fact that I believe the Vikings need a new stadium, here are some criteria that I think the state should pursue when considering a new stadium:

1. The stadium should be enclosed, either through a retractable or permanent roof. I think football should be played outdoors, but 10 games a year is not enough activity to justify a Billion dollar investment. A roof allows the stadium to be used for concerts, trade shows, high school sports, etc. It will cost more, but will provide more public benefit.

2. Vikings need to contribute more of their own $$$. Right now the Wilfs are saying they will contribute $250M. That needs to increase. In fact from the Vikings own web site, they should new stadiums with owner contributions ranging from 50 to 30 percent. A minimal contribution of 1/3 should be negotiated, with 50% the goal.

3. Support needs to be statewide. Hennepin County took on the burden for the Twins, that can't/won't happen for the Vikings. Gambling is an easy way to pay for it. Taxes on hotels, taxis, sports jersey's etc., is another.

4. The stadium DOES NOT necessarily need to be located in downtown Minneapolis. Professional football seems more suburban in its fan base. If there is a suitable suburban location, the Vikings should pursue it. The failing Brookdale Mall area is a perfect location. Lots of transportation and utilities already in place. Also this is a part of the metro area that could use an economic shot in the arm.

With these criteria in place, I could support a new Vikings stadium. Over 2010, as this debate heats up, I will take a closer look at the Vikings stadium debate and hope to generate some discussion over this issue.

What do you think should be done about the Vikings and their need for a new stadium?

39 Comments

I think they will end up moving to TCF for a year or two while remodeling the Dome. Financially, it is the only thing that seems to make sense. It worked for the Bears and temporarily moving to Champaign was a much bigger move than to the U of M campus for the Vikings.

From the state's perspective, I'm fine with saying that there is a value to having major professional sports beyond the tax revenue. I'm just not sure what that value is dollarwise.

I think the state should volunteer to contribute a certain percentage of the tax dollars earned on the team towards a stadium but the stadium should ultimately be the responsibility of the team. The state says we'll come up with $X and the team/NFL comes up with the rest. Not the other way around. The state would get those unmeasurable benefits provided by having professional sports without paying more than they are already generating.

Overall, I can justify a local investment that will get people coming to downtown for 81+ dates - many of which are played on dates/times where people wouldn't normally be heading downtown. It's much tougher to justify a local investment in a facility that will have 10 games per year.

On location, the only problem I have with a suburban location is the traffic in and out of a stadium. Downtown is set up well with 35 from the north and south and 94/394 from the east and west. Trying to get 60,000+ people to Blaine would have been a mess. Over 80% of the people in that stadium would have had to come up 35 from the south.

Seems to me that Brookdale is the PERFECT place for a Vike's stadium. Turn a blight into an asset! Plus, already in place: Hwy 100, I-694, I-94...

Brookdale would be a fine choice if you aren't worried about your vehicle being stolen why you are at the ballgame.

Congrats Jonathan! You win the prize for the first commenter to make the Brookdale=crime link!

Funding grand stadiums for profesional sports franchises requires a strong stomach. Seattle went through a very similiar process for the Seahawks about 10 years ago. My season tickets went from $62 each to $248 each. Quest Feild is nice but the end result for me is that I now watch the games on TV.

I believe the idea for a retractable roof should be ditched for some immediate cost savings. The Vikings should propose an enclosed stadium that can used for other events such as the NCAA tournament games and High School sporting events which should lead to more political support.

Oddly enough, I sense more public support for "not losing" the Vikings than I did for "not losing" the Twins during the thier stadium battle. I don't necessarily sense support for building and paying for a stadium, but most people don't want to lose the Vikes.

We Minnesotans must be addicted to that sense of foreboding doom we feel each Sunday afternoon.

What kind of lease agreement will accompany a new stadium? I ask because I have a feeling that if we were to build the Vikes a new stadium, in about 20 years, we'll hear about how it's antiquated and if we don't build a new one, the Vikes will leave the state.

Peter - a lease with a new stadium is generally "iron clad" for 30 years. The Vikings Metrodome lease has run from 1982 through 2011.

So you are correct, 20 years into a lease the public starts to hear rumblings about a new facility. That is unless the facility is built well enough in the first place to last longer. Stadiums today are built pretty well, and should last longer than 30 years.

Good Article. I agree with the sentiment. Regards, Seo

I adore this time of year. The tournament is the best thing going! If only D1 Football would pay attention!

wow!! the stadium is huge. I wonder how much they pay for building it.

AHHHHH!!!! Four more years until the next World Cup. I don't want to wait that long.

That stadium is by far the biggest thing I've ever seen. But, I share in the excitement of others... 4 more years, 4 more years! This time of year is the greatest.

What a massive stadium...Go Vikings...

I am glad we are gonna have this in our area as it will surely bring in much needed income to the area...well lets hope they build it strong enough to hold SNOW...

H. Quinzel=HarleQuinn

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