Vikings, Wolves Reject Coleman’s Stadium Ideas

By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV and James Schugel, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Just when you thought you’ve heard all the financing proposals for a new Vikings stadium another one is now in the mix. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is introducing a plan he believes will solve a multitude of concerns for the Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild.

Coleman’s “statewide solution” would impose a 2-cent drink tax to pay for all the desired stadium and arena improvements. He says it will remove the competition among cities and municipalities that are vying for professional sports teams.

The St. Paul mayor adds that the time has come for an overall solution to better balance the financial burdens of funding big league stadiums.

The plan would have the NHL’s Wild and the NBA’s Timberwolves share a single home. Both would play out of St. Paul’s much newer Xcel Energy Center. That would allow the plan to retire the Target Center’s outstanding debt, removing the nearly $75 million tax burden from Minneapolis taxpayers.

“What I’m trying to do is to say we can come up with a statewide solution and stop having conversation after conversation after conversation, as to how we solve these issues,” Coleman said.

The plan would impose a 2-cent per alcoholic drink tax statewide. That alone is expected to generate $48 million a year in statewide revenue. Coleman said that annual flow of cash would be enough to service the bond payments on the state’s  $550 million contribution towards a new Vikings stadium.

Coleman says his plan is not site specific, meaning if the Vikings insist on relocating to Arden Hills they can still do that.

The drink tax funding would also be tapped to make improvements to the Xcel Center, in order to accommodate both the Wolves and the Wild. A new training facility would be build nearby to help with the stringent demands on scheduling both teams.

Another $75 million would be used to pay off the outstanding debt Minneapolis taxpayers owe on the Target Center. The building would be retired and prepared for renovation. The idea behind demolition of the Target Center is to remove it from competing with the Xcel Center for concerts and other major events.

Coleman says consolidating the two teams into one building would ultimately save taxpayers money.

“It would cost half of what it would to upgrade the Target Center to accommodate both teams at the Xcel,” Coleman said. “So we think it’s a good bargain.”

But Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak isn’t on board.

“It would be a mistake to close the Target Center and move the Timberwolves. The sensible solution is to renovate the Target Center,” Rybak said.

Coleman’s plan would also have to gain support from Timberwolves owner, Glen Taylor. The team released a statement Wednesday saying in part,  “we are happy here and support a renovated Target Center.”

Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leopold said he appreciates Coleman’s efforts and remains open to the idea.

Meantime, the Minnesota Vikings say they appreciate Coleman’s efforts but remain “laser focused” on their partnership with Ramsey County and building a new home in Arden Hills.

In addition to funding facilities for Minnesota’s major league teams, the plan would also help build the St. Paul Saints a new ballpark in Lowertown. Funding would be a combination of $27 million in state bonds, $10 million from the Saints and $10 million from the city.

More from Bill Hudson
  • mark

    why would you want the Timberwolves instead of the Vikings?????? I think mr Coleman needs a mental evaluation!!!

    • stace34

      Mr Coleman is not getting the Vikings, Arden Hills is not St Paul. I think you needa mental evaluation.

    • Jake Englert

      I Agree Let’s lose the wolve’s and wait for more talant to start a NEW team!

  • E

    Why would you want either….

  • David R...

    How about putting all three in the same stadium?

  • E

    @David- Too Late

  • No to Wolves in St Paul

    I don’t think Coleman has gone to a Twolves game lately too many crossover dates on schdule for Wolves and Wild. Nice try though to bring more to St Paul side of the cities.

    • Matt

      Too many crossover dates? Pretty sure they figured it out in Denver, Dallas, Toronto, NY, Atlanta, New Jersey, Boston, need I go on?… Chicago, Wash. DC, Philadelphia, oh and LA (with 3 teams). It seems like we’re the only city that has a separate arena for NBA and NHL. Put the timberwolves in the X and tear down that piece of junk that is the Target Center.

      • gowolves

        timberwolves are fine in mpls, more to do around the target center than the X too! and yes the twolves are bad, but the WILD arent far behind. The X is a better arena and it was built 10-12 years later than target center too! Still, i would rather be in MPLS and than in St paul anyday!

        • dan

          Comparing the Wolves Franchise to the WILD? Wow, what a stretch! When is the last time the Wolves sold out anything?
          Who would ever support anything the Wolves put on the court? Keep them in Mpls, no one else wants them!

  • Ven

    1. Smart idea to generate revenue regardless where it goes – clear sign that Zig/Vikes are wanting the ‘free’ land and development they are getting
    2. T-Wolves in St.Paul – can’t be any worse than what you get in Minneapolis, horrible product – they even bring good teams down to their level and make it hard to watch.

  • Robert redbone

    I don’t know maybe take 200 million per year from a Racino !!!

  • M

    Coleman really is the “assistant mayor of Minneapolis”. Whatta goof. Just got done giving $2M of public money to a millionaire restaurant owner. Wants to put Wilff on welfare too. Very liberal and progressive.

  • vikessuk

    No welfare for wilf.

  • The Grynch

    Thank god they said no to this one. I would have to get absolutely hammered in order to tolerate a T-Wolves game and the extra $0.02 per drink would put a hole in my pocket.

  • Todd

    M What restaurant?

  • insane idea

    UGhhh please… no. We all know what kind of people come with basketball…..
    turn st paul into a ghetto – no thanks.

    • tom

      St paul is already a ghetto, it will just make it worse,

  • Jamie

    Mr. Colemans an IDIOT. Why you would want a NBA team in your county instead of an NFL teams Is beyond Me.I agree with the bottle Idea. do that and use slots from casinos and youd pay off the stadim pretty quick.Then you could use the extra money for the next 20 yrs to pay for roads and schools

  • oh no!

    Ummm, no! The dumbest idea ever! The Vikings bill hasn’t even been heard yet at the Capital and Coleman is already switching up plans???? Thank Goodness both Vikings and Timber Pups both say NO!
    Bring Vikings to Arden Hills and lets things going!

  • Stamps

    NO to any statewide taxes to build a sports stadium. Let the owners pay for it themselves or go to LA.

    • SR

      I agree with you! NOT a taxpayer dime should go towards a Vikings stadium. If the Vikings want one that bad, then crybaby Zygi, the spoiled brat players, and VIKINGS fans should be the ones ponying up the money for the cost to build it…NOT the taxpayers. Chris Coleman is an idiot for suggesting his plan. Why in the he!! is this idiot still in office? Oh, it’s the bleeding heart liberals that live in the city of St. Paul that keep voting him into office.

  • Kodiak

    The Timber wolves were crying about a needing a new stadium years ago. They are the next ones trying to line up for stadium money…Coleman knows it and is trying to snag them to help Saint Paul.
    I say no Pro team should get a dime of money. They do not offer anything to the State or cities. Let them either put up or move. We do not need them.

    • Psychedelico

      Really? They don’t provide hundreds of millions of dollars in locally spent revenue, at restaurants, at bars, at hotels, in merchandising sales, nor is the government helped with all the taxes on all this additional revenue? what about the thousands of jobs each pro sports team creates, from the additional waitstaff at nearby restaurants to bartenders, hotdog slingers, beer sellers, ticket takers, security guards, janitors, etc at the stadiums

      Yeah, Mr. Brilliant. The sports teams don’t provide ONE LICK OF GOOD. Get real. You are on the moon.

      • SnowFire

        Psychedelico – all these required periperal businesses are being subsidized also then, maybe they want to pay the taxpayer portion! Everyone would love to have a business were the taxpayers kicks in a few hundred million or hang on the shirt tail of a deal like that! So if all this money isn’t spent around a pro sporting event what will happen to all this money? It will be spent on something else in the local economy – on non-subsidized venues. Maybe have the over paid players invest in thier future? Which team do you own anyway?

        • Todd Oesterreich

          Not. My season ticket money would be spent on another week skiing the Rocky Mountains, or some other vacation sure to be out of state.

    • tom

      they shouldn’t get any public tax money, they are a business, let the owners pay for the stadiums if that is what they want

  • Used to be fan...

    Maybe the Vikings should look for Arden Hills in say, California!! Who do they think they are– being so arrogant as to place conditions on the free money they are asking for. I say let them go.

  • jan

    The money woouldbe better spent on helping the people who lost their homes in the tornados. How can they even thhink of giving all that money to some billionaire?

  • Sam Maass

    Go Vikings, And, Take the Twins with you!

  • Richard brink

    Samm please move out of this state …

  • tom

    How bout we just kick them all out of the state and be done with it,

  • zee the reporter

    good idea! zee reporting in!

  • Let's vote on my plan!

    Oh? So the state’s “contribution” to the Vikings has gone from $300 million to $550 million? Under my plan, the state’s “contribution” is ZERO, Wilf’s is whatever it costs to build the stadium he wants, and the over burdened taxpayers of Minnesota will not pay for ANY future sports stadiums. End of story.

    Need some help packing, Ziggy?

  • Harlymanmn

    Coleman’s plan makes sense. Implode the Target center, have the VIkings play in the Humphrey Dome until a new Vikings Stadium is built on the site of the former Target Center, parking ramps and rail transit are already there. Everyone wins!

    • Not all bikers are like this one.

      I think you’ve been inhaling too many motorcycle fumes. Are you related to Norm?

  • SnowFire

    WE MUST ELIMINATE THE IDEA OF GOVERNMENT COMPETING WITH GOVERNMENT! Do you compete with yourself to drive prices up? This will solve many of our financial issues and put this burden back on the business, taxpayers should not be subsidizing big business. What a scam! Are we really that stupid?

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