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November 29, 2005

Sqwaking about all three stadiums...

Howdy everyone! Well, just a quick word about the upgrade of the software that runs this blog. If you didn't know, the Greet Machine sits on the UThink system at the University of Minnesota. Yesterday, we upgraded the entire system from Movable Type 2.661 to Movable Type 3.2. This was not a trivial change so it was a little nerve wracking yesterday. Well, for the most part things went OK. I did have to work on the system last night to fix comment submissions and allow people to change templates, but everything is looking good. On with the crux of this post.

Let's start with the Vikings. If you didn't get a chance to read Mark Craig's story in the Strib this Sunday, Saying No Way to the Cleveland Way, you should definitely check it out. Again, Wilf is emphatic that he won't move the Vikings. And up to this point I have always believed him. Unfortunately, after reading the story of how Cleveland lost the Browns, I am now of the opinion that while Zygi is a great guy, there is now way that he stays in the Metrodome forever. No way. I still think the Vikings have a better shot at a new stadium than the Twins, but if the Vikings situation turns into a repeat of the Twins fiasco, I don't expect Zygi to be patient and understanding forever. I don't know what it was about the article, but I just got a bad feeling.

The part of the article I foud most interesting though was this quote from Zygi:

Wilf said if anyone is waiting for him to pay for the entire stadium project, “it won’t be happening. We have a partner that is willing to throw in $280 million, the county of Anoka.?

That shouldn't surprise anyone. However, what I take away from this snippet is that I think Zygi is beginning to realize he has got to take the state out of the equation. Right now the state is expected to kick in $115 million. Forget about it Zygi! If Zygi came out and said, "OK, $280 million from Anoka County and the rest from me." Well, I think we would have a done deal. It would also demonstrate to Pohlad how to open up his wallet a little more.

Secondly, let's talk about the Twins. You probably saw this editorial/commentary from Hennepin County Commissioners Mike Opat and Randy Johnson so I won't get into it too much, but I was thrilled to see that Opat and Johnson still have hope. Obviously, they blame Pawlenty more than anyone over this mess, and I can't say I disagree. Pawlenty has shown zero leadership on this deal, even though it meets all of his criteria for stadium construction for the Twins. Again, though, the fact that Opat and Johnson are still discussing this is a good thing. We may see some action on this front in December.

And to back up that notion we have news about the Gophers stadium situation. Today in the Minnesota Daily there is an article discussing the sponsorship deals the U has put together and how they are in danger of expiring. That we all knew. However, the article also quotes University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter as saying they haven't given up yet on a special session:

Pfutzenreuter said the University will attempt to renegotiate the deals if they are in danger of expiring. Before the University contacts the businesses, it will make another effort to reach out to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, he said.

“(This week), we’ll take the temperature of the governor about a special session,? Pfutzenreuter said.

So, in other words, we may get another flurry of activity soon concerning the possibility for a special session. This is certainly good news, but I'm not sure we should get our hopes up yet.

Well, that is about it from here. There is more UThink work to do!

Posted by snackeru at November 29, 2005 8:39 AM | Stadiums


I used to think that Art Modell was a complete bastard for moving the Browns. After reading more and more about what happened over the years, I certainly have changed my views on him. He was put in a very bad spot and did what was best for him and the team.

I always love that communities want owners to pay for everything when it comes to the professional teams. But when it comes to the teams leaving, the community says "But this is our team, you can't take it!" The community cannot have it both ways, either it belongs to the owners and they can leave at their discretion, or it belongs to the community and thus, they need to assume some financial responsiblity for it.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at November 29, 2005 10:06 AM

"The community cannot have it both ways"

The owners can't have it both ways either. Either they make the principal financial investment and reap the financial rewards, or they are in genuine partnership with the community and split the investment & revenue streams.

Posted by: spycake at November 29, 2005 1:36 PM

My point is that if the community is not going to make a genuine attempt to help keep the team in their area, then they have no right to whine and complain that the team "belongs" there when the owner wants to take the team and leave.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at November 29, 2005 2:38 PM

But that's only looking at half of the equation. If the owner wants to keep all the revenues from a publicly-built stadium and control the location, viability, and even the existence of the team in the future, does that owner still have the right to complain about a lack of public financial support for his "community asset"?

How was Modell "put in a very bad spot" when Cleveland offered to build him a new stadium as part of the Gateway complex? Was he doing what was best for the team when he declined that offer, so he could keep his monopoly control over Municipal Stadium?

Posted by: spycake at November 30, 2005 11:09 AM

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