Lost in the lockout is the fact that the Vikings are hoping to secure for themselves a new stadium in which to play their home games. Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that a bill that would lead to the construction of the new venue is expected to be introduced to the Minnesota legislature soon.
“My understanding from the bill authors is we’re getting close,” said Ted Mondale, who runs the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. “How they want to handle it is obviously up to them. It’s to the point now where the majority over at the Capitol now have their bill together and they’re going to bring it out.”
Should Vikings fans (those, that is, who don’t live in Los Angeles) be optimistic?
“I think it can happen this year. I think it’s probably as good a shot as ever,” Mondale said. “The governor [Mark Dayton] would like to see it, and has laid out what he’d like to see. You can’t pass a bill like this unless the governor is supportive of it. [Former governor Tim] Pawlenty was saying, ‘Maybe, yes, no,’ and when he said, ‘I’m not going to vote for it,’ it just can’t get done.”
Still, as the Associated Press explains it, a debate remains regarding whether public money should be used to build the stadium. Though the Vikings contend that the team has generated $186 million in local tax revenue since the Metrodome opened, some believe that government should not subsidize private business, regardless of the public benefit.
Then there’s the fact that, in a work stoppage, the public benefit disappears.