MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Thanks to its planned new stadium, the Minnesota Vikings saw its value increase 22 percent in the past year, according to Forbes magazine.

The magazine analysis for 2012, released Wednesday, found the jump in value for the Vikings franchise was the single largest in the league this year. The magazine said the Vikings are worth $975 million, up from $796 million in 2011.

The other team to secure financing for a new stadium, the San Francisco 49ers, had a 19 percent jump in value — the second largest in the league.

Forbes executive editor Mike Ozanian said that’s directly due to the teams’ stadium deals, and the expected spike in profits that will accompany them. Ozanian said he expects the value of both teams to rise even further when the stadiums open and expected profits are realized. The new Vikings stadium is scheduled to open in 2016.

“It’s safe to say that, conservatively, a team’s revenue is going to increase a minimum of $25 to $30 million a year when it opens a new stadium,” Ozanian said.

Forbes rankings put the Vikings at 22nd out of 32 NFL team in overall franchise value. In the 2011 rankings, the team was 28th.

A Vikings spokesman said the team had no comment on the rankings.

Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson is pleased about the news.

“That’s what the Vikings were interested in, a better fan experience,” she said. “More restrooms, more places for concessions, more boxes and that increases the revenue and makes the franchise more valuable.

“We heard that during the Vikings stadium discussion people from all over the region come to see the Vikings play. They stay in our hotels; eat at our restaurants. And the desirability of the franchise I think is really important to keeping that strength going of visitors coming to our city.”

New Jersey businessman Zygi Wilf led the ownership group that bought the Vikings for $600 million in 2006. He immediately started pursuing taxpayer help to build a replacement for the Metrodome, an aging facility that made it difficult for the team to match the game-day profits of other NFL franchises.

A partnership between the team, the state of Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis finally came together earlier this year. Construction is to start in 2013 on a $975 million stadium — coincidentally equal to the team’s estimated 2012 value — that’s funded by a $348 million contribution from the state, $150 million from the city and $477 million from the Vikings. Much of the team’s contribution is likely to come from stadium-related profits and an NFL contribution.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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