33 thoughts on “The Only Question: Who Gets Rolled in the Vikings Stadium Deal?

  1. PM says:

    Why not do some kind of urban casino(s?) (say, on both riverfronts) that are operated by the tribes with 50% of the revenue stream going to pay off the stadium, and then when that is done going to the Met Council for infrastructure renewal?

    Just a thought….one with millions (billions?) of variations possible….

    1. My attitude remains … if a tax on fools (casino gambling) flies, its infinitely better than any other tax. At the same time, we do start looking like a cold Laughlin, Nevada.

  2. Momkat of Apple Valley says:

    Brian, I love your take no prisoners style of writing. And I’ll be so disappointed if we get rolled by my fellow Dems, Dayton and Mondale.

  3. I wonder if the open-air stadium Wilf wants built is the same one he described during a stadium commission meeting in 2005. It was a $650 million open-air stadium with 8500 INDOOR ‘CLUB” SEATS to be built in Blaine at the time. Since the average price of “Club”seats will probably be about $500/game, I don’t see a high demand for those seats if they are exposed to the elements for games in December and January.

  4. Newt says:

    Brian – you and I agree on something!!!!

    The taxpayer will be bent over by the Wilfs on a new stadium that will cost $1 BILLION for 8 home games/year.

    Let’s call it Minnesota’s TARP – it’s that bad a deal.

    1. A deal that good enough for the Vikings and good for Minnesota is possible. The deal that’s currently on the table is a “SWEETHEART” deal beyond belief.

  5. Gary Pettis says:

    No doubt, if the State ponies up with some bucks for a replacement to the Dome, our fine representatives will be convinced that a retractable roof will be required, so the facility can be used for other venues.

    The Wilfs will pay for a big chunk of a roofless stadium, and that is their line in the sand.

    Still, eight home games does seem like a small number. It will be important to keep in mind concerts, monster-truck rallies and even other sporting events like the state high school football tournament. Consequently, the cost of the stadium will increase as the package moves forward in the legislature.

    In the end, the money to pay for the stadium will come from a range of revenue sources: Gambling maybe, and perhaps a user fee on every product, gimmick and novelty available in the color purple sold in Minnesota, except for the things that Prince trademarks.

    This time around, the fees (okay, call them taxes) should be applied statewide rather than hitting the Metro only with increased taxing on purchases. There are a lot of Vikings fans in South and North Dakota, and every time I drink a beer in Minneapolis, I don’t want a higher bar tab to help our western neighbors travel here and enjoy the benefits of a first-class sports facility with no upfront, out-of-pocket contribution from them. They help out every time they travel to Moorhead or Pipestone for a drink and a meal with some sort of Minnesota new stadium tax. (That sounds like a good plan.)

    The Wilfs are retail property people first and then NFL team owners. Expect a nice pro football facility with around it, a hotel or two, a group of restaurants, a performance center, and a lots of boutique-like shops. Hopefully, those who venture there will be help paying “user fees,” too.

    1. There’s plenty of talk about imposing this thing statewide. But that seems a very rough sell. Although maybe we can set up new casinos in Thief River Falls, Ortonville, Pipestone, Jackson, etc.

  6. Jeremy Powers says:

    I can see a solution without additional state money. Dayton was brilliant to put Ted Mondale in charge of the project through the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.

    The Vikings say they will pay a third. The MSFC can use it’s existing taxing authority, that is still going on and nobody is complaining about, to pay for another third. Then get Minneapolis and Hennepin County to pay one sixth each in tax increment financing on the new stadium AND the surrounding areas.

    1. John Gaterud says:

      Jeremy Powers! Watch your “it’s”! That goes for all youse Rowdies, in fact. Dave Mona would never hire you—or, if he already has, would upon this breach, of this I am certain (in the words of the inimitable Bernie White), “fire your ass.”

      You, too, Mr. Lambert: Please tuck your punc inside your quotes. So unsightly in public. That is, unless you’re my Canadian neighbour, eh?

      With red pen hovering, lurkingly yours,

      1. Eileen smith says:

        John, Would you please share the it’s it’s message with Apple? The iPhone will not allow me to use it’s without the apostrophe. It’s annoying and it would cost me points in your class.

  7. Eileen Smith says:

    I can help you roll on this stadium, too. Just think of it as jobs bill. That’s what I do. I seem to remember the Twins ballpark had something close to 800 electricians working on it. Putting electricians and other construction workers back on the job would be a big win in my family. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. There. Don’t you feel better already? — Eileen

    ps Nice to meet you at the Benidt breakfast.

    1. Newt says:

      Maybe Eileen can pass a jobs bill for digging a giant hole in the ground and then refilling it. What passes as economic development around here frightens the hell out of me.

    2. Our Republican friends never get too specific about what kind — and quality — of “private sector” jobs they’re talking about. So I suspect they’ll point to 200 new hires at McDonalds as proof of an economic resurgence. In an ideal world we’d have a Work Projects stimulus that would take a decade-long view to infrastructure repair and … high speed trains.

      1. Newt says:

        The Northstar line is rapidly heading for insolvency. So let’s build more rail lines that don’t pay their way.

      2. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Show me the highway, or bus service, or sewage treatment plant, or state health department, or fire d epartment, pretty much any other piece of infrastructure that “pays for itself.”

  8. I heard the GOP were revising the tax code to eliminate the tax deduction for entertainment expenses…so in that case who gets rolled is Wilf since no one will be $500/ticket for the Vikes without a tax deduction, right?

  9. As Garrison Keillor once observed, state-sponsored gambling is a tax on people who did not do well in math. But I wouldn’t take too much comfort in the idea that we can line Zigi Wilf’s pockets with money raised from fools feeding it a quarter at a time into slot machines.

    In the end, a new stadium will be paid for by students through higher tuition costs, sick people through higher health care costs, victims of crime who will find fewer cops on the job to protect them, homeowners whose property taxes will continue to soar as local governments try to stay viable…etc.

    Here’s my stadium plan: The Wilfs say they’ll pay for one third of an open-air facility. Let’s sell them a one-third interest in our publicly-owned TCF Bank Stadium. After all, since the Gophers and Vikings share a tradition of losing, why not share a stadium as well?

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      The renovation of Lambeau Field some years back amounted to $300 million and was paid for by user fees on personal seat licenses (which a number of NFL teams have) a stock sale that generated about $20 million and a 0.5 percent sales tax in Brown County after county residents approved it.

      As I mentioned in another post, I don’t see why more teams don’t use stock sales and seat licenses.

      I think, given the state of local and state government finances, looking to them for help in building future stadiums is going to be tough.

      Perhaps those ideas, along with some kind of gambling ideas like PM mentioned, may be more feasible. I agree with Pettis, as well. Outstate and out-of-state fans benefit by the stadium as well and should have to pony up something other than forking out $10 for a beer and $5 for a hot dog.

    2. PM says:


      well, at least we will be happy (content?) fools, as we will be able to drown our sorrows watching the Vikes lose here, as opposed to being angry fools watching the Vikes lose in LA. That’s worth something, isn’t it?

      Owners don’t want to give up ownership because the reason you own a major league sports franchise is to be able to sell it later, at a huge profit. You really don’t make money running the show, you make money selling it. Sort of like the housing market, you see–but given that you don’t have to worry about a flood of new major league teams causing a market crash/drop in value, it is a guaranteed win. And what owner is willing to share that?
      There is a fundamental disconnect between the interests of the fans (who want a multi-generational bond with their sports institutions) and the owners (who make their dough when they sell, and want to sell to the highest bidder, who will almost always be someone who is filthy rich recently from someplace without a team).

      So maybe our best bet is to let the Vikes go, and then wait 5 years and take our pick of the Rams or the Colts or the Ravens…..

      If we do build a new stadium for the Vikes, then the most important thing will be the strength and length of the contract with the team.Tie them down, Teddy!

      1. No, actually….I could not care less whether we have an NFL franchise in town, though being forced to subsidize one tips the scales in favor of wishing they’d leave.

      2. Mike Kennedy says:

        Okay — the owner wants to keep all the ownership to himself, but the idea of selling each seat in the place and imposing user fees on each is still viable and more pro teams are doing it.

        I think owners are going to have to look at being more creative. First, California can’t afford a pack fo gum. I’m not too worried about the Vikes moving to LA. The state’s in hock up to its eyeballs and people are moving out. Good luck.

        Availability of credit and the market for bonds to finance stadiums both have dried up — Zigi may have a tough time finding the dough for his part of the deal.

        Naming rights have damn near funded some entire stadiums but I that market has diminished susbtantially as well.

        Why doesn’t Minnesota apply for some federal infrastructure money for a new Vikings Stadium? Surely, someone can come up with a convincing argument why a sports stadium is a necessary part of the metro infrastructure — right?

  10. Mike Kennedy says:

    Good find, PM. Can you now find one about how we in Minnesota are becoming more soft and sissy by the day?

    They are calling off school in many districts because of……cold? Are brains frozen over, as well as lakes This is MINNESOTA.

    The only time we didn’t have school when I was growing up was when the teachers went on strike — or someone called in a bomb threat.

  11. Now that we have all rehashed all the same arguments we have hashed for a decade of rebutting state sponsored corporate welfare for that benefits a mere handful of private citizens–
    –why BL’s initial premise of suddenly this year a Viking’s stadium deal is happening?
    –I disagree. I don’t see taxpayers taking this tax to heart while the taxes can’t happen that make students better educated, citizens safer from crime, drivers free from collapsing bridges, and create real jobs.

    I need more, and I’m not waiting for a voter backlash, I’m ready for a taxpayer (verbal of course) frontlash if I don’t see it.

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