Good Question: Why Not Tear The Metrodome Roof Off?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings claim to want an open-air stadium. They’ve almost got one, now that several panels of the Metrodome roof have collapsed. 

“You know they want an outdoor stadium, just take the roof off,” said Julie Macdonald of Danbury.

Why not tear off the Metrodome roof?

“Well we’ve looked at that,” said Ted Mondale, chair of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.

“For $10 million you can take roof down and insulate so the pipes don’t freeze. And you’d have an outdoor stadium for $10 million,” he said.

In the days after the roof collapse, pipes started to burst in the Dome. All of those pipes would have to be insulated. The same is true with concession stands and bathrooms. But compared to the cost of a new stadium, it’s a bargain.

However, the Vikings wouldn’t get their new luxury boxes, restaurants and stores. That’s the revenue they want to be competitive with other NFL teams.

When the Vikings ask for an outdoor stadium, “I’m 100 percent sure they don’t mean the $10 million take the roof off and insulate the pipes here at the Metrodome option,” said Mondale.

In fact, tearing off the roof is a more expensive option for taxpayers than replacing the entire thing.

“A total redo: taking the roof off and putting a new one in, is estimated at $15 million. That would be paid for by insurance money,” said Mondale.

The insurance deductible is $25,000 and that would be the total taxpayer cost.

On the other hand, a roof tear-off would cost $10 million and insurance would only cover the cost of the loss of the use of the damaged roof, maybe $1 or $2 million, according to Mondale.

So taxpayers would have to come up with at least $8 million for an un-domed dome facility, useful for “10 Vikings games and that’s it. Then they would leave,” said Mondale.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • Darren

    Let the Vikings Leave. Losing Team.. And they have said over and over again that the Twin CIties can not support so many Professional Teams.

    • Sir Francis

      Heres a thought….you leave…k?

      • Realist

        Here is an even better thought Sir Francis…the Vikes stay and you leave. Millions of $$$ in pay for nothing. Too mnay teams…too much money…go to L.A.or somewhere else.

        p.s. Take the Wolves with you.

      • Mercy Me!

        I’m with you! They don’t play very well, so why not dangle the new stadium as the proverbial carrot they get IF they win a certain amount of games or trophies? Adding another tax to the general public isn’t fair to those who are NOT football fans. What do I get out of it, I get no pleasure in watching a bunch of full grown men play a child’s game, fighting over a piece of leather! The only good things to look at are the tight ends.

  • Vikings Fan

    Do you realize how much money the Vikings make for the state every year? Probably not. Millions of dollars are made each game and that’s not even including the taxes every player must pay in order to play in Minnesota when they come here. If the Vikings leave, the state will be even worse off.

    • Bob Holden

      Packer Fan
      I think if the Vikings leave Minnesota it would also negatively affect the economy
      in Wisconsin & other neighboring states. I think people forget about that.
      I know Minnesota may foot the bill-but we all could loose out-directly or
      indirectly. This Packer fan does not want the Vikings to move for more than just
      the rivalry. The move move would affect the entire Midwest

      • GoodUpsSon

        Ugh…well said. Commen sence is a rarity on this thing. And you said it….without a pro football team…we join the ranks of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, etc. We dont want to be hillbillies do we?

    • Sheryl

      Wrong again Viking fan who probably sits home with his beer on the couch watching the Vikes play. You can cheer for them when they move to California

      • Jean

        Sheryl why don’t you move to Iraq, then you don’t have to worry about America’s favorite pastime?

      • Sir Francis

        No Sheryl you are the one thats wrong…Vikes will be here long after you are dust…

  • 4Q2

    I agree with Vikings Fan; the team may have its FO issues, but they’re probably the biggest draw of all our sports teams. Look, a team’s owners will always hold its city hostage every 25-30 years for a new stadium — that’s just the way it is… and now it’s the Vikes’ turn. Let’s face it: the Dome was very much a product of the 70s/early 80s when purely functional, utilitarian stadiums that housed both the city’s football AND baseball teams were all the rage. But those days are over. We’re one of only about a dozen US cities who are represented by a team in all 4 major pro sports leagues (plus, we’ve got the Lynx and the Swarm on top of that), and I’d like to keep it that way. The long-term rewards will far outweigh the short-term costs.

    • thesuperman

      Fo issues? What in the hell is that? Quit abbreviating everything.

      • 4Q2

        Uh, Front Office? I thought most sports fans knew that. : / And that was the ONLY thing I abbreviated… unless you also don’t know what US stands for.

  • Dave Seavy

    Yes millions of dollars are made on each game, and that doesn’t even include the legal income. Our local bookies would be at a disadvantage if the Vikes moved.

  • Joe

    And yet with all these millions made at every game, no one though of saving away money for the replacement. How many of those millions actually made it into the TAXPAYERS coffers?

    “However, the Vikings wouldn’t get their new luxury boxes, restaurants and stores. That’s the revenue they want to be competitive with other NFL teams”

    That’s what they care about – how THEY can make more money and get US to pay for it. If we’re building it, WE should get the revenue – not them. They’re just renting the space.

    • Chris

      I think we must look at the building as a multi-functional site that can provide MN residents opportunity for years to come… Even if the Vikes are not in the picture.

    • Ron

      Joe Joe Joe —-
      Sigh…. Reality Check… It’s nothing new, Minnesota and it’s local municipalities have already subsidized “Private Buisnesses / Corporations” many times. (i.e tax breaks), including the ARTS – OMG!!!

      Joe, if Minnesota were to stop giving tax breaks to corporations, many companies would pack their bags and move to another state (or country – WHICH WOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO OFFER A NICE TAX BREAK.

      Joe – Can you come up with another excuse?

      • Jason

        Ron, could you be a little more condescending? Joe is absolutely right, it’s what the Vikings think about, how much money they can make. Yes, several others benefit from them staying in the state, but with all their antics, fewer and fewer people care whether they stay here or not. That is the reality of it.

      • Sandy

        Ron, Go take your meds

      • thesuperman

        When the rest of us have been bleed of OUR wealth. Then please tell me where the money will come from?? Government is nothing but a Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. Take from those who make and give to those with no ambition.

        Wake up!! Were are 14 trillion in debt as a nation. When does the insanity stop??

    • thesuperman


      Well said. But when do the Vikings put a winning product on the field? Why pay Brett 25 million. One man is not a team. The Vikings have become a bunch of eyes. As in the letter I. A bunch of me’s. It is all about me. I got one word for the whole team. Dysfunctional!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Paul

    However, the Vikings wouldn’t get their new luxury boxes, restaurants and stores. That’s the revenue they want to be competitive with other NFL teams. I guess that says it all. If the Vikings want the extra revenue and the owner is the one to benefit from a new stadium. He can pay for it.

    I know all you Viking lovers are going to say they bring in jobs, And they bring revenue to the state and on and on you ramble. This state is 6 billion in the red and to ask for public support is asinine. Get out you check book zig and pay up front for you new stadium.

  • Kwai Chang Caine

    Let the leave, They’ll never win a super bowl until they move!, Remember the North Stars, They never won a Stanley Cup here, Then they move to Texas and win it all!!!

  • Victim Du Jour

    A new stadium will put people to work, stadiums do employ people, and provide part time work for thousands.

    If you experience the loss of a job, it’s easy to fall back on cleaning work at a stadium until you find something else.

    It’s easy to blow off a stadium, but little people will miss the Vikings if they leave.

  • No fair-weather fan here

    Anyone who thinks the Vikes leaving is a good idea, is not a true fan. You bring up the North Stars and say they never won anything here. So what? How many memories do we all have watching them play. For many of us, it crushed us when the left (especially those who were kids). Watching the North Stars, the Twins, the Vikings (heck, even the St. Paul Saints, since they were cheap to go to)–that was a lot of people’s childhood memories or adult memories (and I guess you could add the T-Wolves during the KG days…now they are forever in a “re-building stage”). Do you really want to be like Iowa or ND/SD with no home town team to cheer on. The North Stars left, then the Wild came many years later. Why go through the same thing again? What would you have done if the Twins closed up during all the MLB woes? Minnesota won’t be Minnesota without the Vikings. Yeah, it may increase taxes, but think about all those great family bonding moments that will cease to exist. And yes, I do think it is ridiculous that Zigi and the players can’t just fork over a tiny bit of their pay to cover the cost but that is business in the NFL for you. Finally, I can guarantee you that if the Vikes, led by the once very much hated enemy turned huge fan favorite–Favre, made it to the Superbowl and won last year, this discussion would not be taken place. A new staduim deal would have been made and approved during the offseason. Reality, we lost due to some crushing blows and fell out of reach of the Superbowl. Then, this season was a long list of disasters and ending with firings. But that doesn’t change the most important thing. They are still the Minnesota Vikings, they are still OUR team. Do you really want to throw that all away?

    • harryoya


    • Realist

      True fan shmu fan. If has nothing to do with being atrue fan and about reality. This State is lost…lost goals….lost touchdowns….lost baskets…..lost runs. I pay enough for the liberal way that has them build more bike paths or a useless lightrail, embarassing infrastructure and all the while the onions run us deeper and deeper in debt.

      I have an idea, if they want to compete with the other teams in the NFL, how about you put out a quality, competitive product on the field?

      I have to pay for my heat, the food on my table….pay my bills with the money I make and no help, now why can’t they?

      NFWFH-what a redneck!

    • Jason

      I have been going to Vikings games for more than 20 years. I try to get to one every season. One thing that is very glaring is the fact that, even with Brett Favre, that dome has never, ever, been full. Even watching a game on television, it is obvious the Vikings can not fill a stadium. “Throw that all away?” Seems like, with all the “fans” in this state, they have already been thrown away. To build an outdoor stadium, in the hopes it would benefit the state is wishful thinking. Let them go. It will SAVE millions, and there are a lot of other uses for the MOA stadium.

    • thesuperman

      No fair weather fan,

      Open your own damn pocket book and write Zigi a check for $50,000 and then YOU my friend can be the VIKINGS one and only fan. Do you know why? Because then you would have a vested interest in their well being. Wake up. We are 14 trillon in debt as a nation. $6 billon as a state. Look at Greece you fool. Look at Spain. History has a way of repeating itself quite frequently.

      • Jean

        so dramatic, you act as if it will cost you hundreds of dollars every month. I bet you honestly “think” that too.

  • Sir Francis

    Arden Hills works…get ‘er done…and for the nay sayer’s out there…our time will come!!!

  • Chum

    If the Vikings move, the local sports writers (overweight idiots and alzimmer patient) would have to find a new target to criticize. Those guys should move somewhere else and the Vikings should stay.

  • Mike Hunt

    I like spaggetti.

    • Kristine

      I like eggs. ;)

      • GOPACKGO

        I Like Tater Tots!!!

      • Realist

        Me too.

  • jan1215

    Sports economists like Andrew Zimbalist and Roger Noll have long argued that building new stadium do not provide any net economic benefits. Instead they represent a transfer of wealth from the average taxpayer to wealthy players and owners.

    More telling is that none of their economic arguments have been refuted. Instead stadium proponents ignore economics and appeal to emotions. Read books like “Sports, Jobs and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums ” and “May The Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy”
    and you’ll probably come to the same conclusions.

  • tiredandretired

    Time for the Vikes to tighten their belts like everyone else. That’s just the way it is these days.

    • TooFunny

      LOL….gotta love the old folks and their homespun wisdom!!

  • jan1215

    Here’s a link to a paper that discusses “Sports, Jobs and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums”:

    “The economic rationale for cities’ willingness to subsidize sports facilities is revealed in the campaign slogan for a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers: “Build the Stadium—Create the Jobs!” Proponents claim that sports facilities improve the local economy in four ways. First, building the facility creates construction jobs. Second, people who attend games or work for the team generate new spending in the community, expanding local employment. Third, a team attracts tourists and companies to the host city, further increasing local spending and jobs. Finally, all this new spending has a “multiplier effect” as increased local income causes still more new spending and job creation. Advocates argue that new stadiums spur so much economic growth that they are self-financing: subsidies are offset by revenues from ticket taxes, sales taxes on concessions and other spending outside the stadium, and property tax increases arising from the stadium’s economic impact.”

    “Unfortunately, these arguments contain bad economic reasoning that leads to overstatement of the benefits of stadiums. Economic growth takes place when a community’s resources—people, capital investments, and natural resources like land—become more productive.”

    ….”In every case, the conclusions are the same. A new sports facility has an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment. No recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return on investment. No recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues. Regardless of whether the unit of analysis is a local neighborhood, a city, or an entire metropolitan area, the economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus.”

  • joe

    funny, for less than what they pay one player the roof can be rwmoved.playing a kids game all your life and being really good at it dont change it from being a kids game.the true viking fan should step forward ,strip him or herself of all wealth give it to the vlks. prove there dedication and leave the taxpayer alone

  • Ellen

    The whole sports thing is a waste of money and resources. I don’t watch the games, but when I see brief coverage on the news….there’s thousands of people in the stands. These are fools that have paid big bucks to park, buy tickets and over-priced food, and buy outrageously priced hats, jackets and other memorabilia. And then folks complain about the economy and not being able to make ends meet? They get no sympathy from me. Why don’t they stay home and spend time as a family…playing board games, bicycling, whatever. Most professional athletes are over-paid, over-privileged, and don’t think twice about their own immorality, doing drugs, and breaking laws. And the fans still
    seem to idolize the morons. And our kids are supposed to look up to the sports “heroes”? Pathetic. Even in high schools, sexual abuse goes on in the form of “innocent” hazing. Look at what happened in Elk River, and the perp in
    Eden Valley that sodomized another player got off practically scot-free! Sad.

    • kg

      Everything costs money. Your board games cost money, your bikes cost money, everything costs money! Its just a matter of how someone chooses to spend it. I agree that people shouldn’t get any sypathy for spending over their means. But calling sports fans idiots its a little out of line. No one is calling you an idiot for playing checkers and going on bike rides so maybe you should think twice about the sports fans that can afford it and still live within their means before you calling it a waste. Maybe Hasboro games is a waste of money and resources for producing all these board games, who knows! Sporting events are good family bonding time as well!

      Just remember, everthing costs money and money is supposed to be spent so dont call people idiots for doing so

    • Joe

      Yet the taxpayers were forced to pay for some orchestra hall?

  • Jessica

    Why not? It’s probably the closest thing they will get to it at this time. Not everyone gets paid millions and can afford to support what they(the Vikings) want. They should maybe think about what the country is going through at this time and realize the people of MN are barely paying the bills much less to pay for a new stadium? I love the team but they are being selfish, they may get a new stadium in Cali but how much in debt is that state they are worse off than we are.

    • Jason

      Touche’, well said.

  • linda

    Are you kidding me? GREAT FAMILY MOMENTS? We’re not poor by any means but would NEVER be able to afford decent seats for a family of 5. The salaries the players get is ridiculous- let’s face it they’re only baseball/football players not brain surgeons. Maybe if their salaries were about a tenth of what they are ticket prices would be more affordable.

  • DDD

    We are still paying the tax for the Metrodome – temporary taxes never go away

  • hoover

    Everybody’s got something to hide except for me and my monkey.



    • Smirk@You

      Why would you oppose user tax and county funding to build the stadium? Seems pretty rationale and a smart way to fund the stadium without using general fund tax dollars. Do people use a brain before posting or you just open your yap and let the nonsense fly?

    • ChuckyWood

      Whatever Chuck…you leave…i’m tired of my taxes going to help YOU, YOUR KIDS in school, YOUR PARENTS SSI, that street in front of YOUR house, etc. and i get nothing in return. YOU USE THAT STUFF…YOU CAN PAY!!! Use my tax money that is wasted on you…and give it to the Vikes. At least they entertain me….what the heck do you do to earn my tax money!?! Thats right….NOTHING, you do NOTHING or give NOTHING back to the state. Some may even say you’re a burden Chuck….a big burden. (again..please leave)


    How to bail out Minnesota, build a stadium, and fund much need Police & Fire:

    1. Tax Clothing other states do so this has to be sacrificed no if’s and or butts
    2. Tax food that is convience food ie: chips, pop, sweets, sorry it has to be done
    3. Raise the Tax on cigarettes and booze
    4. Yes raise the gas tax

    5. Tell the tight wads to open up their check books and shut their mouths. We all use the above items,


  • Lisa Gonyea

    OK..from long time fan…The Metrodome is outdated, that is a given. It is true that the new stadium generates money…all the hotel rooms that are rented at games, restaurants, people other than players employed by the Vikings, nothing to say all the wealthy football players who live and pay taxes here. If they leave…we would soon become a second class city.

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