Reality Check: Vikes’ Contributions To New Stadium

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.

More from Pat Kessler
  • Be gone Zygi

    That settles it then. Leave the people of Minnesota out of it! No money for Zippy!

    • Real Talk

      Why does that settle anything. Indianoplis has an AWESOME stadium and they get a Super Bowl there this year.

      Yes it cost money…but many, many, many people value the Vikings here. Just because you are not of them does not give you the right to condemn the whole project. Your view is just that…yours and it is partial.

      My tax dollars go to a ton of stuff i dont necessarily support. But it is the social contract we live by as a society. Keeping the Vikings here is NOT a BAD thing for the state…so stop pretending it is. It just cost money.


      • Many many many many many?!

        Many, many, many, many many? How many, many, many, idiots are there in Manysota? Many, many, many, many, many, many, many!!!!!!

        Shut your hole, idiot.

        • Real Talk

          Solid, well thought out retort by obviously one of our brighter citizens. Good job on figuring out how to access the internet. I’m sure your case worker is very proud.


  • Larry Bailey

    Can you do a reality check on what exactly will be built with the 1 billion plus. Who will own each component? parking lots, office buildings, stadium? How much vacant land is involved and who will own that?

    • me

      The public gets to own the BATHROOMS – cus we get all the chit…

      Ziggy gets everything else…

      • Matt

        no they stadium would be own by the state, not the Vikings

  • Jake

    Here is what Kessler DIDN’T tell you….. The Dallas Cowboys got $150 MILLION from the NFL to build their new stadium— I have yet to hear from the NFL of contributing ANYTHING to help US build a new stadium. Zigi wants to spend $19 MILLION on a stupid CONDO in NY, FINE. HE doesn’t need our taxpayer dollars to build a stadium for ‘modern day slaves’.

    • TL

      you should prolly re-read the article….

      “The Vikings’ contribution includes up to $150 million in a low interest NFL loan that visiting teams pay when they visit Minnesota.”


    And Minnesota’s share would be the highest in the NFL. That is obscene.

    Bye Wilf

  • TL

    Well that sort of puts a new perspective on the issue.

    So WIlf’s contribution is really only $225 mil when all is said and done, eh?

    Interesting. Im for a tax paid stadium…but not when the dollars being paid out is THAT unbalanced.

  • The Crux of the Buscuit

    I wish I only had to pay 38% of the value for MY home…….

    • dan

      The problem with your analogy is that you own your home and get to keep the profits once sold. Zigi and the Vikings will not own this stadium and are not entitled to all the usage fees it receives.

    • jackactionhero

      Nonsensical comment.

  • Jason

    Maybe we werent getting the best deal after all. Lets pay for our schools,police,fire and our mortgages first. I for one would like to use the bogus 876 million on reducing my property tax. Work first play later.

    • jackactionhero

      We already are paying for our schools, police and fire.

      You want someone to pay your mortgage too? Why did you throw that in there?

      • dan

        Jason must be part of the Occupy crowd

  • James

    Well done Pat Kessler!!! I’m very impressed, thank you for the refreshing perspective and much needed reporting on this. At a time when the media (including WCCO) appears to be the lap dog for the liberal left, you reach into your back pocket and bring out a confrontational position such as this. I can tell you, it was not what I expected from you Pat, but I can’t tell you how nice it is to see a balance on the topic for a change.

    Speaking of which, can you do a “reality check” on the bias balance of the news media? It would have to be a pretty comprehensive study of a slice of time instead of a “sampling” so to speak.

  • Jill

    Zygi is targeting three types of politician:

    -The corrupt: Their next campaign will be financed by Zygi.

    -The gullible: They believe there is an economic reason to give Zygi public money…even though ALL studies show the opposite.

    -The weak: Keep pestering these sheep and eventually they’ll cave.

    So, contact your representative and ask them which they are.

  • Journeyone

    More bailouts for millionaires by taxpayers!! Rich people telling the middle class and the poor this will benefit you. For example MN Revenue doesn’t want to lose the payroll taxes of the Viking players. The flip side when MN let the Northstars go, they worked very hard to get another NFL team and build the very nice xcel center. Also the Timberwolves are whining their stadium is over twenty years old… Let’s hope MN doesn’t campaign for Olympics. You know who will pay for that to be built, and continued maintenance. STOP THE MADNESS!

    • jackactionhero

      Minnesota did campaign for the Olympics. They didn’t get it because they don’t have any updated sports facilities. Oops. That would have been huge cash for the state. Oh well.
      Oh and a new facility would draw a Superbowl for once. That would be huge cash for our state’s businesses too.
      Oh well.

  • TL the alligator

    NO MONEY FOR A STADIUM…..let these rich b’terds pay for it themselves, the players, the management, the owners. Between all of them they should easily have enough money to pull it off….NO TAXPAYER MONEY should go to this…..the way they make such a stink you’d think that people would be dying enmass if there was no football team—-heres a fact—-WE DO NOT NEED THEM OR EVEN WANT THEM AT THIS STAGE…….i’d be glad to see them go to LA……buh bye greedy fools.

    • Jesse

      grow up all you haters! their are minnesotans who count on the money football fans bring in to survive. This stadium is about the future of minnesotas growth. I think if you cant see that then their is no future for minnesota!

      • Minnesota's future rests on a game?

        If Minnesota’s future depends on a stupid game, we are all going down.

        It is a GAME. It is cheap theatrics presented on a grassy stage by overpaid players and owners. It is the cause of all the “experts” that hash, rehash and second guess every minute of the event, boring people at work or at play to tears until the next performance. All those that “bleed purple”, buy grossly overpriced shirts with someone’s name on the back, guzzle overpriced beer, purple faces, cars, ad nauseum —get real. It is a GAME.

        Here is an idea…everyone that wants this dinausaur built, pay for it yourselves along with Wilf. Higher tickets, parking, shirts and beer should get it done. Oh, and don’t forget the flags that people put all over their cars. Those that use it—pay for it.

        BTW–does anyone even know what Wilf will charge for tickets to his new castle? Will the shirts, beer, flags and hot dogs be so outrageous that people can’t afford it anyway?

        • Jesse

          wow i can’t believe as educated as you believe you are you could read my post and believe its all about a game. if you dont like pro sports thats your choice. but your own selfish bias prevents you from seeing the big picture. Funny you were probably one of those who complained about the twins getting a new stadium, but I bet the first game you went to you liked what they did. either way im not saying your wrong. But if you dont like wilf again your choice. Complaining about the thousands of jobs that will be created in a downed economy is shear stupidity. So if you like supporting people on public assistance rather than doing something about it keep complaining. The longer the housing and construction markets take to get back on track the longer our state will suffer in this recession. Construction is a key part in turning around this economic problem we all suffer from. just my thoughts, not an attack on you!

          • @jesse

            Sorry, never went to the Twins Stadium, but I hear it is nice. I prefer NASCAR. Does that mean that the taxpayers should build a state-of-the-art NASCAR track for me and those that like NASCAR? OF COURSE NOT! If I want to attend NASCAR, I PAY.

            How many of the “thousands of jobs” will actually be from Minnesota? Does the dome employ “thousands of people” ? OF COURSE NOT.

            Build the stadium, fine with me. Just don’t use public money. Those that use it, pay for it.

            Here is a quote from your statement:

            “This stadium is about the future of minnesotas growth. I think if you cant see that then their is no future for minnesota!”

            That is pretty black and white, isn’t it? If you don’t mean what you write, don’t post it.

            • Jesse

              never said i didnt mean it! Minnesota needs the construction feild to turn around if we are going to continue to grow! Its that simple! and yes Honeywell/ Allied teck employ thousands of minnesotans. I know because in 1993 my late grandmother retired after 20+ yrs. from the arden hills “502” plant. shortly after honeywell and allied teck merged and some of the plants shut down. I also spent 18+ yrs. in Construction so my suggestion is go to a local carpenters/ labor union hall and ask them how many construction workers are out of a job. I think you will find it alarming. and as the nascar goes they are working on a track in minnesota at B.I.R. as a facility that would include nascar and drag racing and the motor cycle world. Simply put you obviously dont understand why the government is so concerned about the housing market. construction needs = Jobs, jobs= stimulation in local economy. so instead of complaining about what i say, “whats your solution?” have a great day!

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  • just the math

    so let’s look at some math. Roughly 500 people work every game day either in stadium preparation, security, food preparation, ushers, etc. 500 people making let’s say 30k each that’s 15 million in annual salary that would lose their jobs. The state loses state income tax on their checks of 6% or roughly 900k annual.

    Having a team in MN with players, coaches, and owners making a combined salary in the range of 150 million would be a tax loss each year of 9 million in state payroll tax revenue.

    Property taxes for a building of that size have to be around 1 million income to the state each year.

    Hotels, restaurants, bars, and taverns take in around 3 million per season related to people going out to see the games and spend money. Those sales are taxed at 7.5% sales tax or roughly 150k. Oh yeah and if the team moves those same restaurants will be laying off employees or closing doors so there goes another 500 or so jobs and a couple businesses. Don’t forget those employees are paying income tax around 6% on 30k each so another 900k in lost tax revenue for the state.

    Let’s not forget about the additional people losing jobs or paycheck revenue for the state, advertising companies (making commercials), manufacturing companies (making viking gear for fans), companies with contracts from everything from snow removal, upkeep, maintenance, installing seats, electronics, parking attendants in nearby lots, private security…the list goes on). So in short we can safely assume another 1,000-2,000 people will have loss of income at 30k per year or 60 mil with state payroll tax loss of 7.5% each or roughly 4 million per year in lost state revenue.

    Oh yeah and don’t forget those people will be OUT OF WORK, BUSINESSES WILL CLOSE….I’m sure plenty will sign up for welfare, MN Care, etc….so in the end it’s better for the economy, jobs, and the state to keep the vikings here. Of course being a fan I’m a little biased…but honestly so many jobs, people, businesses, and state revenue are involved it only makes sense to come up with some type of solution and keep vikings in MINNESOTA.

    • frozenrunner

      Here is a synopsis of the studies. Nothing has really changed
      Pro sports add nothing economically to a community when you have to pay for a stadium

      • Jill

        Here are four MORE studies:

        There are no economic benefits to taxpayer subsidized stadiums. Anyone who tells you different is lying. Note: Scam artists WILL lie to you when they are trying to take your money.


        • jackactionhero

          I wish I had a nickel for every time you’ve posted these dumb studies that NOBODY has bothered to go read.

          Give it up already.

          All the other major cities have 4 major sports franchises, but for some reason you don’t think MInnesota should. Maybe we should just change your state to East Dakota or North Iowa.

          • frozenrunner

            People probably are no reading the links because , as Jack Nicholson once said in a movie, you can’t handle the truth.
            All the other major cities do not have four sports. Name major league level football team for L.A, the hockey team in Houston, Baltimore or San Diego, basketball in Tampa or Baltimore, baseball team in San Antonio, Jacksonville or Sacramento. All places named are the top 25 metropolitan areas. Las Vegas was at number 30 with no major league teams.
            The proposal for the stadium in LA is 100% private pay.
            It is not the right economy to throw money at a stadium

          • Non-Sensical Comment

            I wish I had a nickel for every time you’ve posted these dumb state name changes too.
            And how about all the “non-sensical comment” statements you post. I for one think Jill’s statements are awesome and perfectly relevant.

            ALL other major cities???? There are some more good “facts” that are untrue. Are not Las Vegas and Salt Lake City to name only a few, major cities?? Las Vegas is bigger than both St Paul and Mpls.

            Oh good. I will probably get a “non-sensical comment” for that one.

            Bye wilf.

          • You're part of the problem, Jack

            Jack —

            A few weeks ago you posted a series of well-informed, fact-centric posts defending the OWS crowd, and you challenged those who were launching ad hominem attacks against OWS to argue from the facts. The very next day, when a poster cited a number of studies challenging the dangers of second-hand smoke, you completely ignored those studies and launched an ad hominem attack against the poster. Today, when Jill and others cite studies that speak DIRECTLY to the topic raised by “Just the Math”, you completely ignore those studies and counter with witless irrelevancies.

            Here’s what I’ve learned from this: You’re just another spinner. Rather than starting with facts in front of you and deducing conclusions from those facts, you start with a position, cherry-pick facts that that will take you to your position, and then present that subset of facts as your starting point so as to “deduce” from that subset of facts your position. When you are unwilling or unable to discover facts to support a pre-determined position, and when someone “argues from the facts” to a position that counters your own, you simply ignore their facts and hold firm to your position.

            Yours is the sort of intellectual dishonesty practiced by Birthers and 9/11 truthers and Holocaust deniers and seven day Creationists and global warming skeptics. Yours is the sort of intellectual dishonesty embraced by talk radio and television hosts and political handlers and (alas) politicians themselves. Your backwards, “position to fact” thinking favors facile, sound-bite “arguments” and “solutions” to horribly complex issues that beg for pragmatic, “fact to position” driven solutions. Finally, yours is an approach to argument that has so dumbed down our public discourse that those of us who respond to reasoned, evidence-driven criticism, people with the critical thinking skills to regard issues with objective detachment, people who value a high intellect coupled with an intellectual honesty FAR above a fealty to a particular party or ideology – people like us despair for the future of our country.

            You’re part of the problem, Jack. Here’s how to start being part of the solution: If you don’t know what you’re talking about, be quiet and listen to those who do know what they’re talking. Don’t speak UNLESS AND UNTIL you’ve educated yourself to the point where you can take a deductive, “facts to position” approach to the issue. In this case, that’d mean taking a look at the empirical, peer-reviewed studies cited by Jill and others before dismissing the conclusions drawn from those studies.

            • desert eagle .50

              THANK YOU for the above. Perceptive, and to the point!! ‘Nuff said.

            • Don't bother me with the facts

              I do believe you’ve left Mr. Big Mouth speechless. Luf it!

    • Really?

      Paper does not care what you write on it. Do you have studies, statistics and hard facts for your numbers?

      There is a solution: NO PUBLIC MONEY.

      Oh, by the way—–all the food workers at the concessions in the dome are basically volunteers. They don’t get paid money, They work for fundraisers, tuition for their kids, etc. I was one of them for many years.

    • agree

      amen brother…that’s 16 million per year lost and another 1 million or so for welfare and job assistance so 17 million per year we lose by not keeping them here.

      The lease is over 30 years and would expand the income for the team and increase the income from salary and other revenue the state gets.

      17 million per year lost in revenue plus 1-2 million lost in tax revenue is 19 million. To keep team it’s 19 mil x 40 years (new lease agreement) or 760 million for the state to spend at most 400 million. The state comes out ahead by 360 million…..

      I agree with you totally.

  • Ordinary Guy

    There are way more productive public investments than places to worship aggression. That said, it’s part of our nature, and if deemed so, they should design it from the inside looking out, to see it integrated into the scheme and function of the city.

    Paying for it is not like a federal stimulus that can be just printed through “quantitative easing”, which dilutes the world’s dollars, not just ours. State borrowing just hits residents. However, if it’s deemed so, a tax on internet sales and one on securities transactions do the least harm and the greatest good.

    • bigjc

      get a job hippie

      • Ordinary Guy

        You’re well-grounded, what exactly is your new idea or insight that you’ve been holding out on us?

  • SKOL

    I don’t care if the stadium is tax payer funded. I don’t care if Wilf is “only” contributing 225 Million. I love the Vikes. They have been a part of my life, for my entire life, and I don’t want to see them leave.
    Let’s get it done with gambling, taxes, donations, etc etc etc. Just get it done.

    Does anyone have the figures about the north stars and wild? How much would a new north stars arena have cost us in the early ’90’s, and compare that with what we actually paid to build Xcel energy center, and lure an expansion team back to MN. If anyone has some figures, please share. Thanks

    • @SKOL

      I respect your right to love the vikings and that they have been part of your life.

      However, many of us don’t love the vikings, and that is our tax money also.

      Build the staduim, fine with me. Just NO PUBLIC MONEY. Those that use it, pay for it. Simple.

      Or—put it to a statewide vote. That way, everyone can participate in the decision to use public funds. Simple again.

      • Here comes another one

        One of the frequent posters will probably come in here and say “that is why we have elected officials, to make those decisions”, or something like that.

        Not TOTALLY True. We have elected officials for MANY things, including making policy for the betterment of ALL of us, not just billionaires that want to fleece our pockets. If tax money is used for private enterprise, it SHOULD be put to a public vote.

        UH OH. I feel another “non-sensical comment” statement coming.

      • in your face

        Using your logic I support public transportation, but not with my money, so no more trains to be run that are not fully paid for by ridership. Busses, same thing and thos busses will have to pay for tabs too, no more free ride for the busses. How about those that collect welfare are also taxed on it as income? I mean 50% of all people do not pay taxes, yet those that collect assistance do not pay taxes on that assistance. I mean after all, they are the ones using it, right?

        • Orrest

          @ in your face.
          You are not using much brainpower. Forehead a lot of sloped?
          Using your logic. Public transportation is funded about 60 cents per rider a year. For every person that goes to a game that would mean the state should fund about $400k a year. Good luck with that. Federal dollars were used on light rail. Even if the state kicked in 10 million per mile, that would be less than a million for 100 yards of football field. . If you are unaware of payroll taxes of people’s income as well as sales and property taxes, (tobacco, alcohol, all of the fees) it is not worth it to try to point out the lack of validity of your point.

        • @ in your face

          Last time I checked, public transportation was just that…..PUBLIC. Thank you for supporting public transportation like the rest of us do also.

          Is wilf going to give the franchise to the state now so it becomes public? If yes, then build away.

          50% of all people do not pay taxes. Where did you dig up those numbers? Did you reach up in the sky? If you are going to quote numbers, please provide the source of your quote or else they mean nothing.

          Sorry, but your reply does not use any logic, especially mine.

          • Ordinary Guy

            These stands are not all mutually exclusive. That is to say, there is undoubtedly a common ground. Transportation efforts that are accessible and reduce commuting times and fuel waste for all is a good investment. Stadiums that are embedded in a hub of useful enterprises is desirable. Producing lasting, good-paying jobs is at the bottom of the discussion. Maintaining the spirit of the city and state is exciting. Picnicking is fun. But each considered alone isn’t enough.

            Planning all of these things to produce benefits beyond what each stand-alone icon would do is key. That will make or break any such deal.

  • Citizen

    It is not “true” that the Vikings proposed $425 million is the third highest ever.

    Generously assuming that financing was approved in 2000 (it was probably earlier), the following three stadiums were built in 2002 with higher inflation adjusted team contributions:

    The Lions contributed $346M for Ford Field, which would be $455M in 2011.

    The Patriots contributed $336M for Gillette Stadium, which would be $441M in 2011.

    The Eagles contributed $330M for Lincoln Financial Field, which would be $433M in 2011.

    So, now the Vikings are down to 6th highest ever on the 3rd most expensive stadium ever.

    • just asking

      where did you come up with your inflation numbers? 30% over that period?

  • zippy w

    all vikes fans suk

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