December 3, 2007
Everyone! I have some amazing and unexpected news! The state legislature has told the Vikings they probably won't consider funding a new Vikings stadium in the 2008 legislative session. Can you believe it?!?!?
Now be honest, how many of you could see this coming? I sure didn't. After Zygi Wilf said this summer that a new Vikings stadium would cost almost $1 billion I thought this was a done deal! And Zygi promised to put up $250 million of his (and the NFL's) own money! How can the legislature turn down forking over $700 million, especially when there is no financing plan? That is a heckuva a deal Zygi!
Then, if you'll recall, Zygi made the bold move of finally telling the truth about building new stadiums: it won't actually give the team any more profit! Check out this quote from the Strib in October:
For the first time, however, Wilf said the Vikings will derive almost no profit from a new facility. He cited additional debt service and a projected decrease in NFL revenue sharing ...
"There has been a bad rap that all you're doing is further enriching an owner if you give public funds for a new stadium," he said during a speech at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. "But that is not the case. It's a fallacy."
That was pure genius! Because what the public really wants to hear is that 1) they will be expected to finance 75% of the stadium and 2) the new stadium, and the public's contribution for it, really won't have any financial impact on the team! I don't know about you, but that makes a lot of sense to me!
Sigh ... I don't want to be too hard on Zygi, but I really don't think he has a clue how to get this done. No financing plan, an outrageous public contribution, no local partner, and a claim that a new stadium won't actually financially benefit the team. Huh?
I got an idea! How about we just stay in the Metrodome then? Zygi better start planning for that because that is his reality for the future. According to the Strib today:
Construction of a stadium generally takes four years from its approval to its opening, but the Vikings' Metrodome lease is scheduled to expire after the 2011 season. Because a new stadium will not be approved before 2009 at the earliest, it wouldn't open before 2013.
No new stadium until 2013? Try 2015 or 2016, and that might even be too soon. Here is reality: The NFL may threaten to move the team, but there is nowhere for the Vikings to move. Nowhere at all. LA doesn't want a team, and even if they did there are a few other owners in line before Zygi that would claim that prize. There is no way the NFL would give a newby like Zygi the LA market. No way. So, someone please tell me where else they can move?
So, that is my two cents. Start enjoying the Metrodome folks, because it will be many years before it is replaced. Many, many years. Unless Zygi starts putting up some real money, this deal isn't going to happen.
Posted by snackeru at December 3, 2007 6:17 PM
That, was a thing of beauty.
I'd say we might even get a Buffalo (let's play a game in Canada, eh) situation where a few of the Vikes games are played outside in another city. Can you imagine the Vikes playing in the Fargo Dome?
But you are right. Where would they go? Las Vegas is just not ready. San Antonio is possible but that's something Dallas and Houston would not approve as that would eat into their market share.
Zygi will sell. That's the key to look for. What will be the intent of the owner after Zygi? Keep the team here or buy with the intent to move?
Again, great summary.
Posted by: Brian Maas at December 4, 2007 10:25 AM
Replace "Vikings" with "Twins" and "Zygi" with "Pohlad" and this rant could've been written 2 years ago. Very insightful.
Posted by: Jaboz at December 4, 2007 10:25 AM
Actually I did write a post like this 2 years ago. You must be new around here (STM? Is that you?!?!?!). I wrote a whole bunch of posts documenting why I thought the Twins should be contributing more. I even called Dave St. Peter asking why the Twins weren't contributing more.
The difference between you and me, I suppose, is that even though the Twins didn't put up as much as I thought they should I am still happy.
And thanks for the thoughts Brian. I agree. Zygi is probably going to sell before 2011.
Posted by: Shane at December 4, 2007 10:35 AM
Zygi had a financing plan and a financial partner in Anoka County but for some reason, took a "stupid pill" and decided to look elsewhere.
Posted by: kevin in az at December 4, 2007 12:03 PM
The difference between you and me, I suppose, is that even though the Twins didn't put up as much as I thought they should I am still happy
Since it is a proven fact (Marlins '97) that championships in MLB can be bought; aren't you the least bit dissapointed that the Twins are continuing their "small ball" economic model in the face of bookoo new revenue from the coming stadium? Essentially, rather than adding to proven talent, they're shedding their best players and pursuing "prospects" in the hope of getting lucky?
Posted by: Jaboz at December 4, 2007 12:41 PM
Proven fact that championships in MLB can be bought?
And the supporting evidence is a Marlins team from a decade ago?
Thanks for the laugh.
Has Jaboz ever heard of a team in New York called the Yankees?
Sure, money helps. A lot. But it ain't no proven fact that money = championship. Especially when there's more than one team willing to spend the money: they all can't win.
Posted by: tato at December 4, 2007 12:56 PM
While the Yankees have and spend more money than anybody else, they also try, with a modicum of effort, to develope some of their own talent and remain successful over the long term. If you want to win a championship and couldn't care less about long term success, it can be bought. It's been proven and I stand by my example.
Posted by: Jaboz at December 4, 2007 2:51 PM
Would the Red Sox be a more relevant example? because I'd argue that they've done the same. Bought talent (at any price) to supplement what they already had. That's the formula for championships. I used the Marlin example because Huzinga flat out said that was what he was going to do and did it to prove it could be done. The Yankees and Red Sox do the same thing without the "in your face" posturing Huzinga had.
Posted by: Jaboz at December 4, 2007 2:55 PM
Shooter Klarley Balters started off one of his columns about a month agao saying that Toronto would want a NFL team if the Vikings didn't git er done here. However I don't want that to happen, 1, most obvious, the Vikings should stay in MN, 2, the NFL is the only league that hasn't destroyed itself by putting teams outside the U.S.! LEAVE THE NFL IN THE US MR. GOODELL, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT PUTTING A TEAM NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, OR WEST OF THE US BORDER! It's confusing as heck when you look at MLB and the NBA, and they both have one team in Canada, where they use to have 2 teams in Canada, and both times the second city, Vancouver/Montreal, got sick of them before they even settled down there. It makes sense with the NHL, but MLB and NBA, NO! Keep the NFL a US LEAGUE ONLY! Whew, a long rant. Other cities I've heard people throw out were Las Vegas, Portland (OR), Sacramento, New Mexico, etc. I think Jacksonville would best pick for a team to relocate to LA, but LA doesn't want a team, so I'm not even going to worry about it. Zygi should just pay for an open air one all by himself then sell the team, I'd like that, Vikings would no longer be known as the pansy team that moved into a dome because it was to cold outside by Chicago and Green Bay fans.
Posted by: CTM at December 4, 2007 3:00 PM
What if two team want to win a championship and couldn't care less about money? Do they both win?
Posted by: tato at December 4, 2007 3:01 PM
Mark Rosen saying a 5th player has just been added by the Red Sox to the Santana trade mix making it Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Justin Masterson and an unnamed CF prospect.
Posted by: Brian Maas at December 4, 2007 3:21 PM
What if two team want to win a championship and couldn't care less about money? Do they both win?
Nope, they finish 1 & 2 though. What's your point? are you trying to say that MLB isn't a collection of 3 or 4 teams doing what it takes to consistently win (including outspending other teams), with the rest of the league just trying to occassionally get lucky enough to justify the ridiculous prices it charges its fans? You're a rather idealistic/pollyanna'ish person, aren't you?
Posted by: Jaboz at December 4, 2007 3:42 PM
I think Zygi should buy a big parking lot somewhere, maybe the sears location in St Paul, maybe the spot along the river north of minneapolis that the Twins were looking at for alternatives .... Then he should drop an extra 100 mil and just build a stadium with a huge parking lot so everyone can tailgate and we can be done with this. He could build a stadium for under 500 mil if he would choose the right location, drop the roof and the surrounding development idea.
Posted by: MOJO at December 5, 2007 11:32 AM
Hey, how about a local sales tax!?!? a measly 6 cents on 20 bucks! where's Sid Hartmans' phone number?
Posted by: STM at December 5, 2007 1:47 PM
I know STM is not being serious, but I would argue that a sales tax in some form should be a part of this deal and it's probably even more appropriate for a Vikings stadium than for a Twins ballpark. With the Vikings, I understand a larger percentage of their attendance is folks coming from outside the Twin Cities or even outside Minnesota, but they spend money locally while they are here. A sales tax is about the only way you're going to get a contribution from them. But it's up to Zygi to figure out and present a financing plan to come up with the $700 million that hasn't been accounted for yet.
Posted by: Snyder at December 5, 2007 4:16 PM
I disagree that a sales tax for the Vikings stadium makes more sense than for the Twins ballpark. Considering that there are only 8 games a year which those folks coming from outside of the Twin Cities are attending, it really doesn't matter that they constitute a larger percentage of the attendance. I would bet that total annual attendance of folks from outside of the Twin Cities for Twins games is greater than that for Vikings games. Remember, the Twins had around 2.3 million in attendance last year. Meanwhile, the Vikings can only hope to get 585,000 in any given year (8 games regular season games and 1 post season game, if lucky, times 65,000 capacity).
Posted by: The Rational Actor at December 5, 2007 10:53 PM
If I were advising Zygi, I'd say you need to add a roof to your previous offer with Anoka County and go back to them on hands and knees to revive the deal with them. Get a deal done with them that doesn't involve any state money and you might have a shot. Anything else is DOA. Hennipen won't help you this year, and the city of Minneapolis is a joke.
Posted by: David H. at December 6, 2007 8:39 AM
Mojo mentioned the Sears location on Rice St. That would be perfect. He could even gobble up other parcels around which are blighted. He would have ample parking for those who wanted to tailgate...I-94 and I-35E are nearby, and light rail will be running along Univ Ave by then. This way he can have the open-air stadium he and REAL Vikings fans want.
Posted by: kevin in az at December 6, 2007 9:18 AM
I still like the State Fair site the best. I can't remember who it was that responded to this last time I brought it up (a while ago), but he/she had a long list of concerns. But, there is little to no chance in Minneapolis because of the lack of a local partner. (I have no idea who was whispering sweet nothings in Zygi's ear to get him to dump Anoka County and look toward downtown, but it was the dumbest move of the Vikings stadium "drive" to date.)
State Fair site has plenty of room and access, and if they were willing to rip off the roof, it could be built for $750M. Vikings would have to get serious about doing this and put up half the costs. (Since the NFL would put up 50% of the Vikings contribution, we are talking about $250 from the team and $125M from the league. The current G-3 formula is more complicated than that, but if the NFL contribution was the difference between getting it done, and not getting it done, it would happen.)
Then, the balance would have to come from local partners. The East side of the river is much more organized and more amenable to large projects, so if they could convince either the city of St. Paul or Ramsey County to help fund part of the $375M needed to make up the rest, then the amount they would be requesting from the State would be reasonable (actually, a "reasonable" amount would be zero, so maybe "palatable" is a better word).
STM disclaimer: this email in no way suggests that the State or Local Governmental entity would realize the same benefit by supporting a local sports team as they do by supporting Medtronic, Target, Guthrie, etc... This email simply attempts to provide a pathway for the Vikings to achieve their own interests. I personally gain great enjoyment from my teams, and support some public assistance, and am pleased that a Twins ballpark is being built even though I felt the Twins should have put up more than one-fourth of total project costs/one-third of ballpark costs. I also am pleased that a Gopher football stadium is being built, sans Vikings, and feel the financial model was appropriate.
Posted by: Derek at December 6, 2007 10:54 AM
Considering Hennepin County actually got a Twins ballpark deal done after St. Paul/Ramsey blew it in part because they couldn't even decide on a site, I disagree that the "East side of the river is much more organized" though they are more amenable to large projects as long as the state funds them like with Xcel Energy Center.
The big problem with the State Fair site is that it's owned and operated by the Minnesota State Fair Foundation, which has absolutely no interest in hosting a Vikings stadium.
I expect that if a new Vikings stadium is built, it will go on the current Metrodome site, if for no other reason than the Metrodome would need to be torn down anyway because it wouldn't get enough revenue from it's other events to continue operating if the Twins, Gophers and Vikings all depart.
And Rational, that's 10 Vikings games per year. You forgot the two preseason games that they play at the Dome. I got free tickets for the first one this season and was actually amazed at the turnout. People were TAILGATING for a game that meant absolutely nothing. Granted, that's still far short of the 2.3 million the Twins draw, but I'll bet if you looked at the number of fans coming from outside the Twin Cities for each, the Vikings could very well come out ahead.
Posted by: Snyder at December 6, 2007 12:25 PM
It's a nice site and location Derek, the only problem, the State Fair board has been adamantly opposed to it. They don't want the stadium at all. That's a major hurdle to your plan. If the people who own and operate the land don't want it, it's not going to happen.
Roger Headrick approached the state fair board, they said no. Red McCombs approached the state fair board, they said hell no. Why would their minds have changed since then?
Exhibition games at the Fair site would be a challenge as well as the State Fair is going on. Parking alone is a nightmare, plus there would be no tailgating. And would Vikings patrons have to buy admission to the Fair in order to get in to see the Vikings???????? I always hated the fact that I had to buy admission to the fair to see a show at the grandstand which I had already paid for.
Posted by: kevin in az at December 6, 2007 12:29 PM
I still say it's not too late for the Twins to leave their current ballpark and come back to the only good stadium proposal ever, my stadium proposal. Who's with me? Twindomes! 2 stadiu.. 1 roo...., i'll keep badgering people about it. It's never too late! Twindomes will prevail! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha!
Posted by: Rhino T. Spewdafora at December 6, 2007 12:57 PM
Using attendance figures to "rationalize" whether or not a sales tax is an appropriate financing mechanism doesn't make sense. Neither does considering the number of dates. The Gophers are going to get what? 5 maybe 6 dates per year? The Dome has been averaging over 200 scheduled dates per year! Even with the Twinkies gone; a climate controlled facility will still be utilized in excess of 120 dates. While the Vikes provided the impetus for building a new stadium, there is way more local economic benefit to building a retractable roof multi purpose facility (albeit slanted towards football) than a single purpose open air facility.
Posted by: STM at December 6, 2007 1:01 PM
According to the U, TCF Bank stadium will be used for more than just Gopher football games.
"The stadium will be used for many purposes. In addition to football, it will be a new center for campus life, providing a place for students to gather with family, friends and faculty for including all-University events such as convocation or graduation. It will be a place for recreational and intramural sports, concerts and special campus events. "
Posted by: Snyder at December 6, 2007 4:05 PM
It's still not too late to urge Mr. St. Peter, and Mr. Bell to bail on the current ballpark site and come back to the Twindomes proposal! My website needs hits, Please comeback, so what if you already broke ground, it's the wrong stadium, wrong place, wrong funding.. what was that garbage I keep repeating at the Star tribune messageboards? Oh yeah! Twindomes is the only good stadium idea for Minnesota! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha! This sleeveless white coat feels confy! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha!
Posted by: Rhino T. Spewdafora at December 6, 2007 5:04 PM