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Reality Check: Vikes’ Contributions To New Stadium

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings continue their stadium drive at the State Capitol, telling skeptical lawmakers they’ll contribute more money to the stadium effort than almost any other team in NFL history.

It’s among the stadium selling points of which the Vikings are most proud. Team Owner Zygi Wilf said he is contributing a substantial amount of money to the stadium effort.

“We came forward with $425 million, which is the 3rd largest team contribution in NFL history,” Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley told a Minnesota Senate committee Tuesday. “And we are in a small market. The only other two larger (contributions) were Dallas and New York.”

WEB EXTRA: NFL Stadium Funding Information

That’s actually true. Stadium financing figures since 1997 compiled by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission confirm that the Vikings contribution would rank third in the NFL.

But there’s a catch: The New York Jets/Giants stadium at the Meadowlands is 100 percent privately funded at $1.6 billion.

The Dallas Cowboys, 63 percent privately funded at $750 million.

The Vikings are putting in $425 million, and no doubt, that’s a significant investment: About 38 percent of the $1.1 billion price tag.

So here’s what you need to know. The Vikings’ contribution includes up to $150 million in a low interest NFL loan that visiting teams pay when they visit Minnesota. There could also be  $75 million from the sale of personal seat licenses.

Together, they could drop Wilf’s personal stadium stake to less than $225 million. And that’s not the whole story.

The Vikings $425 million stadium investment may be the third largest in the history of the NFL, but Minnesota’s public share is record setting at $650 million.

It would be the largest taxpayer stadium contribution in NFL history. The previous record-holder for most public money in an NFL stadium: The taxpayers of Indiana donated $620 million to a new Indianapolis Colts stadium, Lucas Field, in 2008.

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