Vikings Owner: Fans Needn’t Be Nervous About L.A.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings are in the final year of their lease at the Metrodome, funding for a new stadium hasn’t been secured and a developer has taken another step toward building an NFL-ready facility in Los Angeles.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf tried to disconnect those dots again Wednesday. He said Vikings fans need not worry about the progress to the west.

“No,” Wilf said sternly when asked whether fans in Minnesota should be nervous that the Anschutz Entertainment Group got an endorsement from the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday for the funding and timeline of the project there.

“We have momentum here in Arden Hills,” Wilf said, referring to the suburb 10 miles north of Minneapolis where Vikings and Ramsey County officials have agreed to put a stadium if the state signs off on the deal.

AEG has competition from Majestic Realty Co. to build a stadium in the Los Angeles area and bring an NFL franchise back to the nation’s second-largest market, which lost the Raiders and the Rams in 1995. AEG’s plan for a $1.2 billion downtown venue, to be called Farmers Field, targets completion in 2016.

Wilf and his stadium point man, vice president Lester Bagley, mingled with business and political leaders from the northern suburbs during training camp practice Wednesday. Ramsey County commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega joined Wilf to tout the job-creating benefits of the $1.1 billion project, which would cost $53 million more if it’s not finalized this year due to construction cost inflation, according to Bagley.

“Our sleeves are rolled up. We want to get it done,” Bagley said.

Wilf and his brother, team president Mark Wilf, met with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton last week.

“It went very well. We realized that many of the details that we were negotiating in the past, and questions that were asked in the past, were answered,” Wilf said. “We still have a few questions to be answered, but we’re very optimistic we had all the pieces in place and we’ll be able to achieve bipartisan support to move this forward.”

Dayton has voiced his support for a new stadium but was previously critical of the plan, calling it incomplete. One issue still pending is how to pay for road improvements around the site, and how much of an upgrade is necessary. Bagley said those costs have come down to around $100 million.

Wilf and the Vikings have pledged more than $400 million to the project, which also calls for a half-cent sales tax in Ramsey County that would contribute another $350 million. They’ve asked for $300 million from Minnesota, to be produced by new statewide sales taxes on sports memorabilia, luxury seats and digital video recorders as well as stadium naming rights, a Vikings-themed lottery game and an income-tax surcharge on NFL players.

Minnesota’s $5 billion budget deficit blocked progress this spring, though, and the partisan impasse over how to fill that gap forced the state government to shut down for two weeks in July. The special legislative session on the budget didn’t address the stadium issue, disappointing the Vikings.

The Vikings are pushing for another special session this fall, with the goal of approval by the end of October. Dayton has not committed.

“We’re so close, folks,” Bennett said. “It would be a shame not to put those people to work.”

Dayton, at an unrelated news conference Wednesday, said he’s asked officials from the Metropolitan Council and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission to further study the Arden Hills site before putting his approval on the project.

“It’s not going to be resolved by the end of this week or whatever, but we’re proceeding and hope people understand the need for the time that’s involved,” Dayton said. “There’s still a lot of good will on both sides.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Nervous About Vikes Moving To L.A.? « CBS Minnesota

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  • Maddog

    I am nervous that they won’t move to LA. I don’t want my tax money going to help Ziggy.

    • argo

      “. . . the nation’s second-largest market, which lost the Raiders and the Rams in 1995 . . . ”

      Nothing since 1995?!?!?! What’s the deal? Why can’t they snag a team?

    • Shizzy

      Just get them out. NOBODY wants them in MN. Goodbye!

      • Ragnar


      • Mike

        Speak for yourself, idiot! Everybody wants them! If you don’t like them, don’t go to their games, and I won’t watch your operas.

        • who cares?

          Define “everybody” please

  • Don't let the door hit your behind on your way out.

    I’m nervous that no matter how many times I slap it, Zygi’s hand keeps trying to go into my pocket and take my money. That boy just can’t take a hint – I don’t want him to have my money!

    Tell you what, Zygi – as soon as the great state of MN puts up money to cover 2/3rds of the cost of a new building for my auto repair business, then and only then can it help you build your business.

    Pay for this yourself, Zygi, just like the rest of us have to. Contrary to what you may think, neither you nor your team are “special.” Special needs maybe, but not “special.”

    If you don’t like the renovated dome we’ve already given you, take your ball elsewhere. We don’t need you.

    • Mark

      I hear theres plenty of room in LA for even you, Mr. tightwad. Speak for yourself …. I for one love the Vikings and am looking forward to seeing them play here in MN. for a long time to come. If it costs a few extra cents in sales tax, so be it! Thanks for staying Mr. Wilf!!

    • Swordsman

      Your auto repair business doesn’t funnel millions of dollars into the economy, provide thousands of jobs both temporary and permanent, and doesn’t put millions into charitable organizations or spend time with disabled children who want your autograph.

      Just guessing of course.

  • Why the Wilf Haters?

    If the Vikings or NFL were to pay 100% of the costs, then it should be used only 8 times a year (10 if you count preseason) The rest of the time it will sit vacant. If we are going to pay 2/3 of your Auto Repair Business then you can only use it 10 days a year, the rest of the year you have to let others use it.

    • MARK

      This post makes no sense whatsoever. Why would it sit vacant most of the year if the Vikings were to pay for 100% of a new stadium? I read your post three times and still have no idea what you’re talking about…

      • Neille Sawyer

        Makes perfect sense. He is saying that if the Vikes/NFL pay for the thing 100% they are under no obligation whatsoever to use it for anything other than NFL games. Meaning, that other than the 8 t0 10 times a year it is used for an NFL game it could sit empty and useless. The dome is owned and operated by MSFC
        which gives a license to the sports teams that use it, as well as scheduling other events at the dome. There would be no guaranty that the NFL would be willing to grant those same privileges to any other group or even if they owned any stadium 100%.

        • MARK

          Because the NFL and the Wilfs don’t like to make money? They wouldn’t want U2, for example, to play at a new Vikings stadium because U2 would pay them a bunch of money, and the NFL and the Wilfs don’t like to make money? That’s your argument? That makes sense to you? LOL.

          • Neille Sawyer

            Not saying it would happen but that it would be their rigjt to do so. It would not be the high buck events that would be missed but the other less publised that would be missed. Do you have any idea how much money various high school and association team make running concessions at games and other events? Rather doubtful that the NFL would want to continue that. The recent lock out oretty much proves they are after every penny and would not share nearly as much if it were not mandated in the contract for their facility as it is now. Go lol at those teams who would lose out on that fund raising.

            • Swordsman

              The stadium won’t belong to the Vikings. It will belong to the state of Minnesota. How can we be this far into the deal and you aren’t aware of the most basic of all facts surrounding the proposal?

              The Vikings would have a LEASE only. The stadium would be MINNESOTA’S.

  • What?

    I continually ask the question: What is wrong with the Metrodome? Not a single person can provide an honest answer.

    • Ragnar

      you mean other than it’s haggard, stodgy, obsolete, tired, etiolated, antiquated and haggard? Nothing.

      • What?

        Exactly my point….not an honest answer.

        • MARK

          The answer the NFL would give you, if they were being honest, is that the Metrodome does not make enough money. There aren’t enough luxury suites, they can’t charge huge ticket prices because the building is not shiny and new, there are not enough places for stores and beer stands, and lots of other things I can’t think of. Anyone who says that any part of this issue is motivated by anything other than money is not being honest.

          • Tryin to reason

            Or the fact that the concourses are to narrow, not enough bathrooms, audio stinks, the view in some sections is terrible, parking sucks unless you want to pay an arm and leg. I have to park at garage c 7-8 blocks away at games so I can get back on I-94 after the game in a timely manner. Tailgating is 2-3 blocks from the stadium, some experience. Golfers don’t pay alot of money to play on a lame course. Why should I have to pay a lot of money to watch my team play in an outdated,lame stadium ?

            • Neille Sawyer

              But on the other side of the coin you refuse to see one dime spent for either remodeling or a new stadium nor would you accecpt higher ticket prices that would accompany either option?

              • Swordsman

                The existing facility is not feasible to upgrade to be on par with the other stadiums around the country.


  • MIke

    Must be a Republican, always thinking about yourself.

    • MARK

      People like John Doe who don’t understand that a new Vikings stadium would make money for the state in the long term don’t have very good financial sense, and are probably poor.

      • What?

        How is it good in the long-term rather than the Metrodome?

      • Skol

        And another one that gets it!

        • Gets it? God save the king ...

          Have another beer, Einstein. The smoke is puffing out of your ears from all that thinking.

      • Ladies & Gentlemen, presenting Our Savior, Mark!

        Oh dear Lord, if brains were gunpowder …………..

        If you genuinely believe that a new Vikings stadium will make money for the state, you should liberate all of us by waving your magic wand and donating a new stadium, thereby saving the rest of us all this angst, discussion, BS, and expense of having to pay for one ourselves. You could even name it “Mark Field” and keep all of the profits for yourself – after expenses of course.

        • Skol

          Let me! Let me!
          Vikings players, visiting players and Vikings staff pay state income taxes of $12.5 million annually. As player income increases at 5 percent a year and staff at 3 percent a year, the revenue take increases.

          • Sales tax collections WITHIN the new stadium, including liquor, are pegged at $5.3 million per year, with a 3 percent increase annually.

          According to the CSL calculations, those taxes grow to about $1 billion over 30 years — the expected life of a stadium. That would be a net surplus of about $500 million to the state over the typical life of a modern stadium. The Metrodome has lasted 30 years.

          If you extend it to 40 years — an unlikely length of a stadium’s life — you get to the larger number that Mondale has been mentioning, $1.8 billion in total state tax collection, or $1.36 billion as a net surplus to the state because of the initial $300 million investment.

          • SnowFire

            Skol – so many little errors in your statements makes them all sound humorous! More seats – the new twins stadium as less seats, more seats only means that there are more distant seats not close up seats. Comment on Zygi owning a dozen stadiums and you changed it to be a dozen teams. Your last statement with numbers – financial experts don’t agree that these ventures are financially beneficial to the local economy. We all know how easily numbers are manipulated especially big numbers and how they trickle down.

            If you want a new stadium start raising funds so those that are not interested don’t have to pay for you entertainment. Everyone in these organizations are overpaid as it is and they should reduce their compensation to pay for the required facilities to make those big bucks.

            Mentioned in the article is the idea that there will be bipartisan support – the tea party should be outraged at the idea of using tax payer money, increasing taxes and creating new taxes to pay for this! If Zygi was poor they would be spending millions to shut this down.

            • Skol

              @snowfire. have you ever been to a twins game? at the dome i mean. they did’t use all the seats during twins events behind 2nd base–so when building the new undeserved throne they didn’t need to have the size of the dome. now let’s talk vikings. sold out! sold out! now about the continuing ignorance of the seats not being “close” other stadiums stack ’em up a lot better than the dome. not that i like the xcel but thats what i mean by stackin’ ’em up. Now the numbers—that’s where i got the numbers–2 diffeent reports and did an estimate 1/2 way. if you don’t understand that it is financially beneficial, that’s on you. Now, i would never ask you to pay for my entertainment. i’m just all about keepin’ ’em here and not getting the likes of you in a full out panty bundle. if ya had a brain and saw the profit margins then you wouldn’t be so wedged. this thing will go thru—and you still won’t understand why and you will still be whining that it did. Ta Ta.

        • Kyle Weaver

          you’re an idiot

      • Move witht the Queens

        You like the vikings move to LA

        • Not Michelle Bachman

          Vikes stay…YOU move! (trust me, you won’t be missed)

          • Kyle Weaver

            Go back to Iowa

    • You must be a dufus.

      Do you ever have anything new to contribute?

  • Erik

    I don’t get why the Dome can’t be remodeled like what they did in Greenbay and Chicago. Come on Wilf and the Vikes, it make more sense to remodel the Dome…all the infrastructure is already there….access by two major interstates, bus, and soon to be two LTR lines. Plus there is room to expand and build training facility, hotel and parking….all right there. We shouldn’t abandon the Dome…heck it has a new roof that should last at least another 30 years. I think that we all could agree to the price tag of a remodel and expansion of the Dome…and since it’s still a public stadium….I am sure that we could agree to a small sales tax increase/accommodations tax and/or ticket user fee to fund it.

    • Common sense

      Money is the answer! All the construction contracts, new advertising rights, and once the Vikings get their new stadium, ticket prices will go up! Ticket sales will increase as just a result of fans wanting to see the new stadium. Heck the Twins aren’t going to the playoffs this year (and for those that thought otherwise at the beginning of the year…you were delusional), and they draw an incredible crowd at higher ticket prices and concession stand prices (look at all the high-end food items you have there).

      Money, money, money! Money!!!

      Yes it will be at some tax payers expense. No doubt! You as constituents have a choice to whether to support it or not. Best thing to do is write your representatives in the Senate, Congress, and Dayton (Exec.) and express your thoughts.

      Just remember Mr. Wilf is a business man, and he will likely move the team if he doesn’t get his way.

  • I'm just sayin

    the dome paid for itself 5 times over and will continue to do so with the new roof and feild. One more large venue in the twi cities that is not in down town Murderapolis is what thsi area needs to compete with the big citites for more conventions, concerts and quite possibly the Olympics. Heck, the DNC may even come here some day…

    • Say wha' bro?

      The dome paid for itself? Five times over? Whoaaaa there pardner, you must have gotten into the loco weed. There hasn’t been a dime of profit associated with the dome … any “profits” have been used, and then some, by “expenses.”

      You must be one of those perpetually inebriated tailgaters, eh?

  • James

    I’ll drive the moving van. Got lots of additional help, we’ll find our own way back from LA, don’t worry about us. Just want to help get you guys started. Go LA Vikings!

    • Bob

      I’m in!! I’ll bring the bubble wrap and tape.

      • Hulk Hogan

        Congratulations James and Bob you got your names printed on WCCO’s webpage!! Now get your facts straight before printing such negative garbage.

      • yay

        oooooh bubble wrap makes such funny sounds

        can I play too?

        (Notice the ‘L’ in that word. PLAY, not PAY!

  • Adelle

    “They’ve asked for $300 million from Minnesota, to be produced by new statewide sales taxes on sports memorabilia, luxury seats and digital video recorders as well as stadium naming rights, a Vikings-themed lottery game and an income-tax surcharge on NFL players.”

    Where in there does is say it will come from your own pocket? It will only come from you if you choose to participate in those things.

    • Skol

      Finally, some freakin’ common sense! And to the why do we need a new stadium brood—kinda simple other than all the reasons already stated and then some. WE NEED MORE SEATS! I’ve been a season ticket holder for 11 years and all I’ve gotten as far as un upgrade is a move one section over and 3 rows down. Vikings fans are hard and true–not a lot of entropy in this crowd.

    • He never stops begging for your money.

      3rd grade math lesson for you: You’re not exactly accurate but let’s accept your premise on the first $300M from MN taxpayers. The next little item is another $350M ALSO coming from MN taxpayers – and this portion is NOT “optional.” MN taxpayers are facing a number of so far unspecified taxes, e.g. a sales tax increase, to cover this $350M which WILL come “from my own pocket.”

      The age old fact you love to ignore: If owning a sports stadium was a profitable venture, Zygi would already own a dozen of them. They aren’t and he doesn’t. Get it?

      The next “little item” to consider is the $5 billion tax deficit that MN STILL HAS. That problem has NOT been resolved, only postponed; it will be even more severe the next time it has to be faced (which will be sooner rather than later).

      Like it or not, the state of MN and its taxpayers simply cannot afford to fund a new stadium for the Vikings or anybody else right now. Zygi is well aware of that fact but do you know what? He doesn’t care. His only concerns are his own personal wealth and power, not the well being of our state or the taxpayers.

      The challenge remains: put it to a state-wide vote, a simple yes or no. Let the people who have to pay for it decide the issue, not you, not me, not Dufus Dayton, and certainly not the very selfish Zygi.

      • Skol

        Zygi doesn’t own a dozen teams cuz there aren’t a dozen more to own. It’s a pretty elite club (minus the Packers) and the group doens’t allow outsiders–Tom Clancy? I hope you won’t mind the loss of 350 million in lost annual revenue if your wish comes true and the Vikings leave. What needs to happen—and it won’t—is the NFL needs to go public so that people like me can buy up a whole bunch of stock and they can build off that and not the locals.

        • Skol

          I meant 30 million not 350 million.

      • Adelle

        I can’t possibly comprehend how you think owning a stadium isn’t profitable. The older fact that YOU love to ignore: it does. Period. So let’s pretend the Vikings leave Minnesota, we would lose over $700,000,000 a season if not more. Also you can’t forget those who run the concession stands, security, management, people who take care of the field, etc, would all be out of a job. Now building a new stadium would create new jobs, bringing down the Minnesota unemployment rate. More people who have a job the more money is stuck into the economy. A little something you probably didn’t know, the lower the unemployment rate, the lower the crime rate, which I’m hoping that you have the brain cells to connect those pieces. Furthermore you can’t forget the businesses that would flourish around the new stadium, with good customer service they’d bring people back long after the season isn’t finished. Oh but let’s not forget, it all doesn’t matter because according to you, you’ve created a conspiracy theory that Zygi is some evil concubine trying to destroy Minnesota. In my opinion I love the Vikings and I believe and know they are of value to this state. So, I have come to the conclusion, instead of voting on whether or not to get a new stadium, how about we vote people like you out of this state. Who honestly are most likely not contributing anything to our society except your negativity. Don’t like talk about sports teams? Go to one that doesn’t have one. Wow that simple. Being close-minded and saying that a sports stadium isn’t a “profitable venture,” is basically saying rebuilding the I35 bridge wasn’t a “profitable venture” for Minnesota.

        • You are a menance to society!

          OMG. Are you actually functioning somewhere out there in society? Your logic (more specifically, the lack thereof) defies description!

  • Goodby Zig

    Enjoy La Zig Weather is nice Just a little smog

  • Common sense

    Lets say for arguments sake that a new stadium will sell all total 50,000 seats for 8 home games @ an average of $70 per seat (this is an average so take it easy). Thats $28M. Thats gross. Lets say on average that each person coming to the stadium will spend an average of $10 on food and items. That’s an additional $4M. For a grand total of $32M for 1 season.

    $32 Million. Now that’s gross. And the stadium owner only get s a portion of that. Lets say 1/3. Thats $11M (we’ll round up) per year in revenue.

    Lets say that the stadium owns parking. Lets say that most people are giong to commute together to the new stadium (lets say on averge 3 per car at $10 per car). Another $1.6M.

    Now we have a grand total of $12.6M in yearly revenue (GROSS). We must expect that the yearly costs of maintaining the stadium and parking lot structure will cost something every year. Let’s say $1M total.

    We’re back down to $11.6M per year.

    Now TV is where I might get a little fuzzy here and someone will need to help me out, as I don’t know how these contracts work between the stadium and TV.

    Going with the $11.6M per year though, there’s no way from ticket and parking that they can get a good payback on their investment.

    It would take the city at least 30 years to payback a stadium bill. For those would argue taxes. I say this. They already get taxes from the Vikings and the people that make enough to tax that work at the metrodome. From an accounting perspective you can’t figure that in, it already exists.

    Now if Ziggy is saying he’ll leave without a new stadium, then you’ll have to finish the rest of the equation (TV revenue, liability insurance, ect…) then figure out a payback year in the future and take it to the citizens of MN to vote for it or not.

  • Skol's air biscuits.

    Oh that Skol, what a hoot ‘n a half he is. Need a number? Just ask Skol to bend over, spread his educated buns, and pull a “factual” number out of his bum.

    Hey, maybe Dayton should appoint (anoint?) Skol state auditor and put him in charge of the new stadium. Skol could give him numbers faster than a sheep can produce gas clouds!

    • Skol

      What numbers are wrong? Please state your objections up front so that I can be front and center to correct you. Oh, and I’m a chick. So my bum is slightly cuter when I hold my biscuits

      • All of 'em toots, all of 'em.

        So that explains why you’re so dumb … fat, ugly chick buns.

  • Rep. Michele Bachmann

    Let them leave. See ya losers.

  • Kyle Weaver

    Oh Not Michelle Bachman, you card

  • Kyle Weaver

    Oh Not Michelle Bachman, you card.

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