March 24, 2005
Things are really going the Gopher's way right now. Not only does the Senate's State and Local Government Operations Committee approve their stadium bill to move forward, but now TCF and the U have announced a deal that supplies the effort with $35 million. So, let's recap:
- The stadium will cost $235 million.
- The U promises to privately raise $141 million
- $35 million of that has now been raised
- The U is asking the state to supply the remaining $94 million
- Yesterday the Senate committee approved this plan with the caveat that the U must raise $141 million or 60% of the cost of the stadium
If you are anything like me, you are wondering what about the Twins? Is there anything in the works for the Twins, the team that actually could leave our state? Well, it sounds like a plan could be unveiled as early as next week. According to the Pioneer Press:
Neither a Twins nor Vikings bill has been introduced. Team spokesmen say they're waiting for a nod from legislative leadership before seeking a bill introduction, but such action must happen soon to meet committee deadlines. Jerry Bell, the Twins' chief stadium promoter, said a Twins bill might be introduced next week.
Well, well! The plot thickens. However, while this is exciting news, the Twins had better get a couple of things straight. The Gopher stadium bill is being received favorably because the U is paying for 60% of the facility themselves. The U is also creating momentum by announcing a partnership with a large Minnesota corporation to fund $35 million of the stadium. The U is also only asking for $7 million a year from the state. No new taxes, no messy referendums, nothing really controversial at all. Are the Twins paying attention?
Last year Pohlad and the Twins offered $120 million, which conservatively is only 25% of the cost of a new stadium. The Twins also refuse to 1) pick a site or 2) use any of the money from corporate naming rights to pay for the stadium. Pohlad has burned every bridge possible in the legislature, and yet he is still being quoted as saying he doesn't think he should have to pay for any of a new Twins ballpark.
The U of M is creating momentum by learning from the mistakes of the Twins and Vikings and making it easy for the legislature to pass a bill.
If Pohlad wants a stadium he has got to change his tactic. I know I've said this a million times before, but it just needs to be said again. If the Twins come out with the same, tired plan they have trotted out year after year it will go nowhere and it certainly won't make it to the floor of either legislative chamber.
The U of M stadium plan and the Marlins plan currently being debated by the Florida legislature have changed how the stadium game is being played. You know it, I know it, and the Minnesota legislature certainly knows it. Do the Twins know it? Do they get it yet? I sure hope so. Wouldn't it be nice if the Twins could take the momentum generated by the U of M's stadium drive and do something positive with it? It looks like we might find out next week.
Posted by snackeru at March 24, 2005 12:24 PM | Stadiums
Frankly, the Gophers stadium ranks second,
(1. Twins, 2. Gophers, 3. Vikings) and a distant second at that.
That said, all college football teams should play outdoors, and TCF Stadium is a pretty good name as far as corporate sponsors go.
Posted by: TwinsJunkie at March 27, 2005 8:07 PM
I agree with your rankings for the most part, TwinsJunkie. However, I also feel that a new Vikings stadium will have to be built if we want to retain that team, and I am a BIG Vikings fan. So, I would group the stadium needs we have a little tighter together.
Posted by: Shane at March 28, 2005 3:57 PM