Vikings Stadium Hearing To Cover Financing Options

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota lawmakers took another shot Tuesday at figuring out a plan for a new Vikings stadium.

The state’s politicians held a marathon six hour hearing as two cities compete for the right to build it. The Vikings disappointing season may be winding down, but their drive for a new stadium is ramping up.

Like game day for the Vikings, spectators lined up outside a State Capitol hearing room several hours before kickoff. Skeptical lawmakers voiced a question many Minnesotans have:

Why the hurry?

“What is the urgency? I hear a lot that we need a Vikings stadium and we need it soon. Frankly, I am not yet convinced. I’m willing to learn,” said Sen. Julianne Ortman with the Taxes Chair Committee.

The Vikings are asking the public to build a $1.1 billion facility in Arden Hills, telling lawmakers the team is  $42 million below the NFL average in revenues.

The head of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission flatly testified that the Vikings are ready to leave Minnesota if a stadium deal can’t get done soon.

“I don’t know if it is next year, I don’t know if it is three years. When you have a business that is either losing money or not making money, as sure as the winter comes or the leaves fall, they will leave,” said Ted Mondale.

Vikings officials said as they have all along that they are focused on a new stadium in Minnesota. They also revealed that they’ve been contacted by three communities elsewhere that they would be happy to have the Vikings if they moved.

“We want to be here were doing everything we can to get this done here. But yes, we have been contacted by other communities,” said Lester Bagley, the Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development.

In the Capitol hallways, all claim to be Vikings fans. But many said it’s wrong to use public money for a stadium.

Arts supporters protested one idea to use money from the Legacy Fund: taking it away from arts and cultural heritage projects.

“Saying the Vikings are part of our cultural heritage is like saying the Cleveland Indians are part of American Indian heritage. It’s just kind of fake,” said Sheila Smith with Minnesota Citizens for the Arts.

The Vikings lease with the Metrodome expires in about seven weeks, and it was clear Tuesday that the lawmakers are pressing hard for answers.

They got one Tuesday: After meeting with the Vikings, Minneapolis said it has narrowed its list of three stadium sites to one preferred site: The Metrodome. Going into the day there were four sites for a stadium, and now there are two.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said using the Metrodome would be $215 million cheaper than the team’s preferred option of building a $1.1 billion stadium in suburban Ramsey County.

Rybak also offered a $300 million local share from an existing local sales tax. He said the Minneapolis Armory could be converted to a game-day events center.

More from Pat Kessler
  • Not Crying Here

    And let the whining and crying about the stadium begin.

    • Lame Minnesotains

      here’s the funding answer…if you can’t pass a drug test, NO WELFARE CHECK!!! The money saved annually will pay for the stadium in no time!!!

  • DougT

    Wish they would spend half as much time and energy on more pressing issues – which are more important to the majority of the taxpayers in the state.

    But today it seems like the “pop culture” sideshow, see the freaks, distractions, get more attention than the main event. Ahh what a culture…..

    • tom tom

      Would have been SWEET if they had put this much effort into keeping the FORD plant open.

      • jackactionhero


        You mean Ford or the government?

      • Build IT

        FOUND ON ROAD DEAD…may we should have used our tax dollars to keep it open

    • Dave's not here

      Frustrating, isn’t it?

  • Stand on your own two feet, not mine.

    Okay, here goes. I hate the idea of giving tax payer generated money (via a direct tax increase, expanded gaming, memorabilia tax, or anything else that originated in the taxpayers’ pocket) to any private enterprise for the purpose of further enriching the owners.

    Similar to “the end justifies the means” argument, that would really be no different than adding a surtax to everyone and giving the money directly to Zygi Wilf, i.e. if he doesn’t pay for it with his own money or financing, we will end up paying for it, one way or another.

    As for the job creation angle, you know full well that the 7,500 number preached by the Vikings is an embellished estimate. Add to that the facts that these are temporary jobs and there are no guarantees the jobs will go to Minnesotans. For that drop in the bucket, the residents of MN are expected to make 30 years worth of payments totaling well over one billion dollars? That’s not worth it, not at all. We’d be further ahead giving the money directly to the first 7,500 construction workers who win a drawing for it.

    And who, may I ask, has decided that the Vikings and Zygi Wilf are more deserving of our money than any other group or any other company in Minnesota? No matter how you cut it or how you measure it, just about any well known home grown company in Minnesota provides more jobs, better jobs, better benefits, and more tax revenue than the Vikings ever have or ever will.

    There is absolutely nothing about the Vikings or Zygi Wilf that makes them entitled to any financial assistance from the people of Minnesota. Both the Vikings and Zygi Wilf make plenty of money – certainly enough to finance their own stadium.

    • Ordinary Guy

      Really well said.

    • Ben

      You make very solid points, I can’t say I agree 100% because I feel there are intangible benefits that the Vikings bring to this state as well. However, your argument was very civilized and very well thought out. I actually read the entire post and didn’t see one thing about “greedy liberals” or “idiot democrats” or “whiny babies.”

      Its nice to have a breath of fresh air. Its arguments like this that, even if we don’t agree, provide hope that people will come to their senses and put extreme partisan views aside to figure this out.

    • red


    • Citizen

      I’ve read many post on this topic. Your’s is, in my opinion, the best post so far. And I second everything you’ve stated.

    • Check the FACTS

      The Metrodome, which was built without any state funding, had generated $246 million in tax revenue through 2008, including $234 million to the state, according to an analysis funded by the commission. The Vikings were the largest source of that tax revenue, generating $126 million.

      More than the Gophers… TCF Bank Stadium…. And more than the Twins…. Surely you’ve heard of Target Field… So why don’t the Vikings deserve a stadium? Because YOU say so? Please come down off your high horse and enjoy something for once in your tightly wound life. Many people love football and love the Vikings, who are you to say differently??

      • Yes, a civil discussion is more productive.

        According to a November 8 story by Jason DeRusha (link:

        “The total in direct contributions from the Vikings games to Minnesota is about $21.5 million [per year]. If the state paid $650 million for a new stadium in Arden Hills, it would take 31 years to recoup that money, at a rate of $21.5 million per year.”

        Please note that the yearly payment used above does not include interest – thus, the actual cost to taxpayers would be considerably more than $21.5 million per year for 31 years. That net figure was presumably used by the reporter merely as a direct comparison to the annual amount the team currently brings to the state.

        The Metrodome opened in 1982 so if the $126 million you stated is a good number, that would amount to only a little more than a $4.8 million per year benefit to the state – certainly not a significant number when compared to what other MN companies pay in net taxes.

        According to the site Wikipedia, the dome was “was funded by a limited hotel-motel and liquor tax, local business donations, and payments established within a special tax district near the stadium site.” The total cost was $68 million which, even in today’s dollars, is very substantially less than the proposed $1.1+ billion for a new stadium. While most would agree the Metrodome is a fairly utilitarian stadium, the proposed new stadium is way over the top in comparison.

        Simple arithmetic demonstrates that funding a new stadium in this price range is a bad financial investment for the state, especially given the current economic outlook.

        As another poster stated, there are intangible benefits and they certainly need to be taken into account.

        Overall, it would be far more palatable if the costs of building a new stadium were born in direct proportion to the benefit derived. That, of course, means that the Wilf ownership group and the NFL should be paying the lion’s share, not the other way around.

        • Vikings True and True

          That was a lovely post.

          What bothers me most about this debate, however, is that it basically seems to boil down to whether or not you’re a football fan. The Twins stadium cost the public $350 million (with Twins owner Pohlad contributing just $130 million) and the Twins generate less revenue than the Vikings, so it would seem fitting that a Vikings stadium should be allowed more funding…

          The Vikings have said they will contribute $407 million (around 40% the cost) of a stadium… 3rd largest private stadium contribution in NFL history… I just don’t know what else any of us can do to get the people like you to change your mind. I love football, I love the Vikings and have been watching them since I was little, I can’t wait to bring my own son to a game… It’s just sad that doesn’t matter to some people, that’s all.

          • frozenrunner

            The economic times tight now make the debate boil down to what should money be spent on. In light of the acrimony over the budget debate it does come down to where is the money going. Minimal investment was needed to bring football to the state. The metrodome was minimal investment at the time. Football fan or not, the Wilfs want you to pay for their profit

            • jackactionhero

              What economic tight times?

              Please be specific.

              • ???

                I think frozenrunner is referring to the $876 million surplus. Times are so very tight.

      • Drop Kick

        Who are you to question anybody’s right to voice an opinion? I, along with a majority of others will not finance a new stadium for a minority group that can
        pay for it themselves.

        • Drop Kick Knows All

          Oh, I wasn’t aware that I stated that you could not voice your opinion. I also wasn’t aware that I could not voice mine. Don’t call yourself the majority unless you can prove it. There are plenty of people that would benefit and love a new stadium–football fans or not. The “minority group that can pay for it themselves” is making the 3rd largest offering in NFL history despite our team’s record. What does that say about how much this team means to some people? But I guess things are only important if YOU think they are.

  • MrBB

    Build it, build it, build it………..

    • raidersfreak

      I wish some big company who is in the know I will throw a random name out there like Microsoft. Lets say Bill gates hypothetically loved the vikings and wanted to help the team due to every factor that has been discussed. This would get the finance done the and vikings could make their deal with the their financial partner instead of the state. This type of scenario would keep the hoopla out the capitol if they were doing it on there own.This financier would secure the naming rights and help with missing 600-700 million. It would be an awesome Xmas gift if the Minnesota Vikings could get a corporate partner instead of dealing with the state but I realize this is just a pipe dream.

      • weswon

        Pipe Dream? You have got to be kidding! What human being who runs a great run business like Micro Soft would even consider making a stupid investment like a new Vikings stadium with the potential of a 31 year payback and no participation is the profits of the company. NONE thats how many! Only a developer would ask for such a rediculous amount of money. It is funny but in my life every developer I have ever had contact with is an expert in extracting money from the public coffers, ie, direct no interest loans, tax increment financing, direct subsidies, etc. Its time to say NO MORE developer subsidies. Ziggy and family are big time Billionaires. I wonder how much of that was tax payer subsidized? Just say NO. Yes iI am a football fan as a matter of fact I am watching the Vikestinkings stink up the T.V. screen right now against the Detroit Lions. I have been a Vikings fan for 51 disappointing seasons. If this is the last one, good for me. I won’t have to feel sick every year at the end of the Vikings football season. The score is 21 Lions and the 51 year disappointing Vikings 0. And to think it is only the first quarter. Put you money where your mouth is Ziggy and build you own stadium or move to L.A. or where ever. Just leave us in missery over the Vikings 51 years of disappointing football finishes.

  • Rockford

    Good, progress continues to be made.

  • Semper Liberi

    No public money! It is obvious we have become a “mob rule” society. Very soon the only freedom we will have is to freely hand over everything we earn to the state, or suffer the punishment. Free indeed! All of you sheep who continue to cry to the government for more of this and more of that should really just wake up and realize what is happening. You are nothing more than slaves of the state and you are too pacified with your sports and cable TV to realize it.

  • Jason

    Go away vikings. Stop begging. Go stand on another corner. You cannot have ANY money from my family. WE CANNOT AFFORD THIS.

    • Dennis from Elk River

      If gambling in any form were to be the foundation behind building this stadium explain to me exactly how that would be taking money from your family. That is of course be unless you gamble which is your option.
      What I fail to understand is the numbers from surveys indicating over 70% of those questioned are in favor of this method of financing why should it be an issue. Democracy = majority rules.

      • Ordinary Guy

        Losing gamblers without adequate means may get public assistance funds. They may also turn to crime, meaning more enforcement and property loss, insurance and worry. A failed non-smoking casino may also need a bailout.

      • jackactionhero

        “Democracy = majority rules”

        That is absolutely FALSE. You do not understand the concept if that’s what you think.

  • SEE YA!

    Hey Vikings LA is calling your name!

  • Johnny Rain Cloud

    LA can’t hold on to a team! If the vikings leave they will be back in less than 15 years. Guess what they will want a new stadium to play in. Instead of 1.1 billion dollars it will probably be closer to 10 billion in that time. Think about it! Just build it now and reap the benefits sooner. All the naysayers are short term thinkers and never planned ahead for anything in your life. Yes, there are long term benefits to this!

    • Foul Ball

      That’s what they said about the Minneapolis Lakers. That was over 50 years ago, don’t hold your breath. GO VIKINGS! and take the Twins with you.

  • MrBB

    Build it, build it, build it…………..

  • Crazy Joe


    • Crazy Joe Knows!

      Haha exactly! These babies said the same thing about the Twins stadium and now they all love it and bathe their kids in sunblock and take them to the game on Sunday in their Prius.

    • Listen to Joe

      Build it & STFU cheapskates!!!!

  • ron

    why don’t they use the money still being collected on food and liquor by bars and restaurants in downtown minneapolis which was supposed to be used to pay for the dome but is still being collected and going who knows where

    • me

      Nah – just pass a special tax on people with bad hair who are named Ziggy & own sports franchies…

  • lame Minnesotains


  • Matt

    I love how the idiots say “they should move to LA” you won’t be saying that after your taxes are raised to make up for the vikings moving to LA

    • Guy

      We will just use the money that we don’t have to pay to jail & prosecute Viking players for things like domestic assualt (not to mention all the other cr@p they have pulled over the years)

    • Jill

      Taxes raised if they LEAVE? Are you on drugs?

      There are no economic benefits to taxpayer subsidized stadiums. Anyone who tells you different is lying.


      • Food for thought

        You should use reliable sources when citing. .edu, .gov, or any scholarly article would have been a better choice then what you posted. I think someone needs to go to college and learn more. Maybe it will open your mind as well.

        • Jill

          What parts of the studies do you dispute?

          • jackactionhero

            Why do the other major cities in the U.S. all have 4 major sports franchises, but Minnesota shouldn’t, Jill?

            Please be specific.

      • lame Minnesotians

        hey Jill, the Vikings are not part of MLB.

    • noneedtoknow

      Exactly ..Well said

  • lame Minnesotains

    here’s the funding answer…if you can’t pass a drug test, NO WELFARE CHECK!!! The money saved annually will pay for the stadium in no time!!!

  • courtney

    all of you are annoying…i recently just graduated from college (so clearly have student loans) but dont mind having an increase in taxes to keep the vikings here! what is mn going to do without a football team?…you are all soo cheap! I LOVE FOOTBALL AND THE MN VIKINGS!…and compared to other stadiums out there we absolutely need a new one! GIVE THEM THE STADIUM THEY DESERVE FOOTBALL IS AN AMERICAN SPORT AND BRINGS US ALL TOGETHER!

    • Guy

      Obviously it does NOT “bring us all together” … or else we wouldn’t have arguments about this…

  • mnmark

    Take your MPLS location and enjoy because I will not commute to a disaster location that has no easy access in or out of your current site. Arden Hills is similar to the old Met and provides much more for revenue and atmosphere that the owner and fans have talked about since the MET. Get it done and do it right and only in Arden Hills. If you haven’t looked east to Lambeau than you will never understand a true experience and this comes from a Viking fan of 44yrs. I am rural and will NOT attend your game in this Metrodome location.

  • Krissi

    I like what the Packers are doing to raise the money to make needed repairs/upgrades to their field; selling $250 shares of “stock” in the team to people willing to pay for it. All the person really gets is a piece of paper to hang up, but that way, the true fans are paying for it, not the whole population.

    • Too bad

      I also love that idea. The packers are grandfathered i. The nfl doesn’t allow teams to be publicly traded anymore.

  • Jill

    Remember our politicians bailing out NWA?

    All the money was lost.
    No jobs were created.
    NWA went out of business.

    Our politicians are not qualified to do business with Zygi. This is Deja Vu.

    • jackactionhero

      That was a non-sensical comment, Jill.

      I mean really. Why bother?

  • WTH?

    I love how people are so against giving money to something that generates money for the city and state and entertains millions of people but have no issue giving millions of dollars to something like the Cowles Center. A place that just the other day had a drag queen show which maybe ten people saw. Wow.

  • Brad

    It costs more to try and bring a team back. People can talk all they want about letting them go but no city that has lost an NFL team in the Super Bowl era has just “let them go”. Every single one has paid more to bring one back. They have all succeeded with the exception of L.A. and they are trying hard. It sounds good to say “let them go” but that has never worked out. It hasn’t even worked out in Minnesota. After letting the Lakers and North Stars go the state worked to get a team back. It makes much more sense to just keep the existing team with a rich history in the state.

    Also please stop saying they should sell stocks like the Packers. How many times do people need to be told that the NFL will not allow that. The Packers were grandfathered in.

  • SO SAD

    Has anybody ever considered the residents of Arden Hills and the impact this will have on them? I think not. Would you want a big monstrosity like this in your back yard where your home value will probably decrease? This will most likely make their home loans become upside down because now they will owe more than their homes are worth. But let’s just think about your own entertainment not the livelihood of the residents in Arden Hills.

    • bobby

      Do you have any proof that it would lower property values? Has any research been done to that effect? Or are you just making things up?

      This is MY opinion, but I would think that living close to a stadium, bars, restaurants, hotels and other businesses would increase propert values(increase in taxes also)

    • raidersfreak

      Did Ramsey county vote on that issue I dunno I am just asking?

  • acoustics

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