Voters and politicians are having second thoughts about a new Minnesota Vikings stadium that will also house early-season Golden Gopher baseball, as the funding plan looks to have serious issues.
A review of Wilf family finances in the face of a big lawsuit loss ($84.5 million in damages) has delayed the final negotiation of a lease agreement, which is expected to happen next week. Along the way, the funding plan for the facility has changed — electronic pulltabs essentially will yield very little revenue for the facility — and the Vikings are looking at selling personal seat licenses to cover a big chunk of their $477 million toward the $975 million stadium cost. From the Star Tribune:
As the Vikings and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the public board overseeing construction, continue to negotiate final lease and development agreements, stadium critics to Gov. Mark Dayton, the project’s lead cheerleader, have weighed in, hoping to reshape pieces of the deal in the final hours before the shovels hit the dirt and construction begins. On Thursday, Friday’s authority meeting to approve both was postponed at the last minute and rescheduled for next week….
The lease and development agreements still being negotiated will spell out terms of the team’s lease, as well as determine how much revenue the authority and team receive from advertising and sponsorships. They also will establish the terms for the personal seat license fees — the sum charged to season-ticket holders on top of the price of a ticket for the right to reserve a seat. Those fees, which can range on average from as little as $1,000 a seat to more than $10,000, count toward the team’s portion of financing.
It’s unclear why the agreements, which have been negotiated for months, were delayed this week. Stadium officials already were worried about the tight construction schedule.
Groundbreaking for the stadium has been delayed once; if a final lease deal is pushed back, it could be delayed a second time, and at some point the intended 2016 opening date will be threatened.
Besides hosting Vikings games, the enclosed stadium will host early-season University of Minnesota baseball games and local high-school and college matches throughout the winter, replacing the Metrodome. The Metrodome is one of the busier baseball venues in the country; during winter months baseball is played there virtually around the clock.
Rendering via Minnesota Vikings.
RELATED STORIES: Spat over financials could delay opening of new Vikings stadium; New Vikings stadium put on hold pending Wilf investigation; On the auction block: Metrodome contents; Compromise reached on baseball at new Vikings stadium; New Vikings stadium could host Gophers baseball — if the numbers work; Adios, Metrodome; One anniversary not marked by MLB this year: Metrodome opening
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