Vikings quiet in the wake of shift in funding plan

Earlier today, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced that a meeting with legislative leaders had resulted in a conclusion that a proposed Vikings stadium funded in part by a local sales tax won’t happen without a public vote.  Some of you have expressed, in strong terms, that this decision doesn’t kill the project.

Unless the powers-that-be can come up with another $350 million to replace the local contribution, it does.

Most telling in this regard is the absence of any statement from the Vikings in the wake of the announcement.  Recently, the Vikings had been firing off announcements after every twist and turn in the process.

Today?  Nothing.

PFT also sent an email to Vikings V.P. of business affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley (pictured), who has appeared at least three times on PFT Live to discuss the project.

In response?  Nothing.

This simply isn’t a matter of finding a forgotten wad of $350 million in an old pair of pants.  It’s been a delicate process from the start, and it won’t be easy to replace the third leg of the funding stool.  The fact that the Vikings haven’t issued a formal statement on such an important development confirms that.

UPDATE 10:43 p.m. ET:  The Vikings haven’t been completely silent.  Bagley spoke on the matter today.  “We have a local partner, it’s Ramsey County. We have an ideal site, it’s Arden Hills,” Bagley said, via FOX 9. “We have had zero talks with Minneapolis. We have a partner and it’s Arden Hills.  There’s time to pull this together.  We’re confident our leaders can get this done.”  His comment really doesn’t address the elimination of a sales tax as an option for raising the local contribution.

UPDATE 10:50 p.m. ET:  PFT has now received a response from Bagley.  “We still have a couple months before the lease expires,” Bagley said in an email to PFT.  “The good news [is that] all 4 Legislative leaders [and] Governor are working together, trying to resolve it, for the first time ever.  Today was mostly about the process moving forward, narrowing the focus. There are still enough revenue streams on the table that would resolve this issue in Minnesota. Replacing $350 [million] from Ramsey County will be difficult.  We look forward to seeing the State’s comprehensive finance plan.”

60 responses to “Vikings quiet in the wake of shift in funding plan

  1. I hope the MN State Legislature enjoy their time there, because there is no way in hell they will be re-elected if they let the Vikings leave.

  2. Do you want a football team or not? Does this have to be the signature issue for whatever your political beliefs are no matter what the cost?

    Have any idea how many other communities would do almost anything to get an NFL franchise even if it meant another 1/2 of 1% in sales tax for a few years and even if it sucked currently?

  3. Uh oh!!!!! LA northstars!!!! Don’t even bother leaving the colors and record books in Minnesota. This state could obviously care less! Besides, who is going to bring a professional football team to a market that couldn’t even sell out a playoff game? It’s pretty obvious that the vikings don’t have enough fans to remain in Minnesota. And I’m sure that ill hear this and that about their fanbase being sooo dedicated. Well let me tell you, I’m sure that’s true. Just like its true for every sports franchise in the entire world! The main problem here is that there just isn’t enough of them for it to matter. SKOL LA NORTHSTARS!!!!

  4. As a Viking season ticket hlder and a lifelong fan all I can say is Minnesota you do not deserve an NFL franchise. As much as it pains me I hope the team leaves, this state sucks.

  5. all the leaves are brown
    and the sky is grey
    I’ve been for a walk
    on a winter’s day

    I’d be safe and warm
    if I was in L.A.
    California Dreamin’
    on such a winter’s day….

  6. I was on a conference call today with Minnesota and an LA group. Things are being done through back channels. Sorry Minnesota.

  7. Sad… As a Packer fan this sucks, as it could mean the end to the most heated / hatred laced rivalry in the NFL. I hope that something can be worked out to keep them in MN, moving them to the NFC west and adding the Rams to the North doesn’t have the same luster.

  8. On one hand, these owners should fund their own stadiums – they can afford it and tax payers can fund other needs vs. a sport franchise. On the other hand, how can a community be so short sighted to not recognize the long term economic value of a NFL team and the additional revenues a new stadium can draw even outside of NFL games.

    As a big time fan of the Pack, I would hate to see the Vikes leave.

  9. Once again, the tax payers get screwed for some Billionaire. At least put it to the voters. If I’m going to pay for it, I want at least that much say in it. (I would vote for it)

    Put your vote, where your money is.

  10. Minneapolis sports writer Jim Souhan writes “Mackay sees Vikings as the state asset they are”. Harvey Macky points out some of the obvious, and not so obvious reasons why the people of Minnesota should come together to support a stadium bill. Really, what is going on here is self interested politicians caring more about their re-election than the long term health of the state. This is not throwing money away, this is an investment. I invest in stocks because I believe they will give me a profitable return. Hmm… maybe thats a bad example, but you catch my drift. Here is a link to the article.
    Stand up for Minnesota folks!

  11. donmajik7 says:

    Sad… As a Packer fan this sucks, as it could mean the end to the most heated / hatred laced rivalry in the NFL. I hope that something can be worked out to keep them in MN, moving them to the NFC west and adding the Rams to the North doesn’t have the same luster.

    Though I agree with lamenting the potential loss let’s be clear, the most heated/hatred-laced/and best rivalry in professional sports is Bears/Packers. The Vikings are a distant second.

  12. I have been a Viking fan as long as they have existed. They have been treated as a second class citizen throughout their history. Always playing in a stadium designed primarily for baseball. Now, after watching the Twins, Gophers and T-Wolves all get new or improved venues, the Vikes are told once again to suck the hind one and take what is left. If I was the owner of the Vikings, I’d be planning the move right now. Let the Vikes go and then the something for nothing crowd…er, I mean, the Tea Partiers, can stand in the empty hole of the Metrodome and brag about their latest “win”.

  13. cmwilk says: Nov 1, 2011 10:45 PM

    As a Viking season ticket hlder and a lifelong fan all I can say is Minnesota you do not deserve an NFL franchise. As much as it pains me I hope the team leaves, this state sucks.
    Stop it. Just stop it with the hyperbole. This isn’t the people speaking, it is our incredibly inept lawmakers who can’t agree or come to conclusions on anything. Were you even paying attention this past summer when everything came to a screeching halt because of the ridiculous demands from the tea party shills that fill up our state legislative offices?

    Yeah, we might have elected these guys (proud to say I didn’t vote for any of the tea baggers in there now), but we elected them to LEAD and all they have done since being in office is deflect and deny.

    This is ALL on them.

  14. Do we really need to visit the topic of educating you people on the way our government works again? The statements that “the people should get to vote on this!” that come out of every one of these articles is asinine.

    We live in a representative democracy, not a true democracy. This means we elect people to make the tough decisions FOR us. To those not paying attention in the world, Greece is big on the whole true democracy thing, letting their people vote on big issues, and where did that get them? Government bankruptcy.

    MN’s leaders need to step up and do what they were elected into office to do.

  15. The money quote . . .

    “There are still enough revenue streams on the table that would resolve this issue in Minnesota.”

    . . . . until there aren’t enough revenue streams to resolve the issue in Minnesota.

  16. Yeah I was about to say. Packers/Bears is way bigger of a rivalry. Shoot, my dad is a long time Packers fan (i’m not) and in his family the saying, “Bears still suck!” has been going forever. They don’t have a saying for the Vikings because it’s not like that with them.

    Still, there is a rivalry. Especially centering on the Brett Favre situation. But it’s not on the level of Pack Bears. Few rivalries are, honestly.

  17. I think that if they do end up having to move why not consider moving to Canada. The NFL is interested in moving a franchise to another country, most people do not want it overseas so why not across the border? This way it keeps the Vikings in a cold climated area and in the NFC North, the black and blue division. They could build a open stadium like they used to play in.

    I would love to see the Vikings stay in Minnesota, that what I’ve known my life. Get this deal done, true NFC North fans want to see them stay. Only the trolls want to see them leave.

  18. Don’t panic yet, Zygi really likes the Arden Hills site because he can make a lot of money developing the 170 acres of land he will get in a sweetheart deal. He can also get naming rights, parking revenues, etc. He can’t get land to develop at one LA site, and he can’t get naming rights revenue at Farmers Field. So he’s not rushing off to LA just yet.

    Also, Zygi hasn’t really put in 407 million. Sure, that is the check he would write. Then he will start collecting other checks he doesn’t get today. Naming rights $150 million. Personal Seat Licenses $125 million. Contribution from the NFL stadium fund $50-$100 million. That’s before the little stuff like parking and concessions. And the land to develop. So expect Zygi to dig a little deeper to fill the funding gap, and look for revenues that don’t come from sales taxes. Electronic pull tabs, etc. are still on the table.

    No, I don’t want the Vikings to leave MN. I want Zygi to pay for more of it. There is some financial benefit to the state/community, but it’s sure not $650 million. If stadium were really the financial winners teams try and make them out to be, owners would build them themselves.

  19. As an AFC fan from the other side of the country, I have no specific attachment to the Vikings organization, but it would be terrible to see them move. That team belongs in the Twin Cities.

    Move the Chargers a couple hours north – it’s not like anything would really change.

  20. Vikings fans, from what I have read it seem as if your legislature is only doing what the majority of the people want and that is not to raise taxes to help fund a stadium. If you the fans truly wanted to keep the Vikings in Minny, you would be protesting vigorously, writing letters, sending e-mails, calling your representatives, basically raising hell for your legislature to do something to resolve this issue, but I don’t see or hear that happening. Not that some have not done that but the majority has not. I live out of state and have e-mailed Dayton and even called. If they leave it is your fault ( the fans ) who sat on your hands and did nothing.

  21. Hegotrope, you are a giant phony loser. Go get on a conference call with the Easter bunny and leave the comment section to the adults.

  22. What ever will I doo with all this Vikings stuff hanging around the house? 🙁 Bye Vikes. I’d like to say it’s been fun, but … stressful would be more like it. lol I will miss you if you go though.

    If the Vikes go to LA; and MN keeps the name, the team could simply do like the North Stras did when they moved to Dallas. The New name would be “Kings”, and look … it fits the area.

    And divisional realignment? I see Seattle being the one moved to the NFC North. It is the farthest north team in the division.

  23. If the voters really support stadiums, why does the NFL oppose referendums in every city where they push for a new stadium? Minnesota legislators who oppose the stadium are pretty safe.

  24. Much like cmwilk said, I’m at a loss for words but we deserve to lose our team if this is the way it’s going to be.

    I have a mix of emotions right now. I’m praying for a miracle at least, this is the only team I’ve ever known…

  25. If you’re a member of the NFC north you’re guaranteed six exciting games a year: Pack, Vikes, and Lions (until recently its always been fun to mop them up, now they’re just plain exciting). Then you’re guaranteed the two boring games when you come across the Bears. Both teams struggle and it’s like nails on a chalk board. You all know what I’m talking about. A dismal overcast of a football team, for the last 20 years. So ya, vikes/pack is far superior to vikes/bears.

  26. Get the moving trucks ready!!! The best rivalry is Ravens/Steelers.

    When was the last time before the NFC Championship game last season Packers/Bears was relevant?

  27. I am a life long California Viking Fan. Every year I visit Minny twice and Chicago once to watch the team. If the people of Minny don’t want them than they are going away.

    Politicians don’t realized a very high percentage of angry vikes fans will hold them accountable.

    The one thing that kills me is some believe the vikes will leave the name out of the kindness of their heart.

    Not going to happen. Viking brand is worth big money and they are not going to leave the state o Minny the Viking name.

    If they move to LA, not only am i going to keep going to the games sign me up for season tickets where there will be good food, lots if bathrooms and room to move around.

  28. There are some viable proposals being discussed for a downtown site. The Wilfs are stuck on the Arden Hills site because they want to develop it and make billions. I say either take whatever proposal is made from Minneapolis and get a stadium built with plenty of suite space or go ahead and fund the Arden Hills site themselves. They’re businessmen; they should be able to figure it out. But taking their ball and running to LA would put them in the same class as Norm Green (the greedy North Star owner who kindnapped the team and took them to Dallas).

  29. Mike, it doesn’t mean that it will not happen. The fact that Ramsey County will not raise taxes to pay for the stadium in Arden Hills means that the project will most likely shift to downtown Minneapolis. The Wilf’s may prefer the Arden Hills location, but they will accept a Minneapolis location before they decide to sell the team.

  30. I know im going to get hammered for this, but I don’t see why this is such a bad thing. If the public would vote against it, then why should the politicians do it on their own? I know the money would have to come from somewhere, but if the locals are against a tax increase or a cut to local funds then it’s bad representation to shove it through.

  31. It seams to me That Mr Wilf has been more than fair! Not once has he threatend to move the team. I wish the people of MINNESOTA Legislators also! would have a little pride do whats right! and KEEP THEM HERE! Gov. Dayton really seams to care But should! Legislators and others need to do there jobs and stop worrying about keeping ther jobs. To lose three pro teams When will we learn! Everybody is looking for work building a new stadium will create more jobs than losing the vikes will!! Lets see the northstars leave we get the wild! minnesotans even help pick the name. we give them a new home exel center. We get the Timber wolves. We build Target center.We almost lose the Twins to contraction. And we build Target field!! No vote needed!! C,mon man

  32. Yes. Having the public vote on a $350 million project is a bad thing. It should be taken out of their handss and the politicians should make their minds up for them.

    A wealthy owner holds a sports team ransom and logic goes out the window.

  33. I really hope the Vikings stay in Minnesota. That’s their team. The only team that needs to come to LA are the Rams. The Rams belong in LA like the Vikings belong in Minnesota.

  34. I love it how Minnesota people actually think that there precious tax money will be wasted on a home for the Vikings. I hope those people know the thousands of people employed by the Vikings and businesses around the new stadium will now have no jobs. Not to mention the millions of dollars we will get back in taxes from the Vikings and the players from living within the state. But heaven forbid a half cent tax increase to help boom the economy not kill it.

  35. The Wild: New Arena
    T’Wolves: New Court
    Twins: New Field
    Gopher Football: New Stadium
    Vikings: Sent packing?

    As others have pointed out, the State funded ALL of these new facilities in some fashion, and you all think the Vikes won’t get one?

    I know it makes for great hyperbole, but every year for the last decade people have been saying the Vikings would leave. The said the same thing about the Twins, year in and year out.

  36. There have been numerous studies of the economic impact of new stadiums on tax revenues, local per capita income, etc., and if you exclude the studies funded by the interested parties (the teams!), the conclusions are generally the same – there is no meaningful economic benefit to the public of taxpayer funded stadiums. If the taxpayers of Minnesota are willing to hand over a few hundred million to a billionaire, then god bless ’em and good luck, I have no problem with it. But they should be allowed to decide this, not elected officials whose interests are typically their own and not those of their constituency. As someone previously wrote, if these things were such a great deal, the owners would pay for it themselves and reap all the benefits, ala Robert Kraft in New England. As a reminder, after much bluster and bluffing (hello, Connecticut?), Kraft capitulated and essentially paid for the entire Gillette Stadium project, excluding some relatively minor infrastructure contribution from the state. A decade later, he’s built a freaking retail theme park, with a hotel, restaurants, outdoor mall, etc. and his team is worth north of a billion dollars. So, man-up, Wilf, and put your own balls on the line!

  37. Most of you lavender larry rubes “can’t see the forest for the trees” because you’re letting your emotional attachment to something that’s not necessary to life (pro football) cloud your reasoning.

    Just go back to the poll on May 10, 2011 done by the Mpls S.T. and look at the numbers. 76% of the public are opposed to any tax payer funding of a new stadium and the political divided is almost perfectly split between those who identify as Repb or Dem. So your claims of the state overwhelmingly supporting a new stadium aren’t in the numbers. Additionally, you that are accusing the Tea Partiers of derailing the stadium deal is nothing more than you showing your political bias in spite of what the truth is.

    Pull your foreskin down from over your eyes and see the truth.

  38. There are still people in Brooklyn who would queue up to kill Buzzie Bavasi on sight if he ever came back from the dead. Don’t mention the name “Irsay” in Baltimore unless you use the word “hate” in conjunction with it. Ask someone from Cleveland to name one good thing about Art Modell, but do it from a distance.

    Where is the passion for keeping the Vikings at home?

  39. Blaming it on tea partiers. That’s a new one. Like the far left libs would overwhelmingly approve lining the pockets of another ‘millionaire and billionaire’ with money that could be used to feed the government bureaucracy.

    Do you want a professional football team or not?

  40. The anti-tax under any circumstances ranting of the GOP amplified by the tea party loonybags poisoned the political climate for financing a stadium by use of tax dollars.

    The Vikings do add to quality of life in the community.

    Tax dollars would not be the sole means of funding.

    But thanks to the absolute no compromise positions of those mentioned above, the Vikes will soon call L.A. home.

    Minnesota is a victim of circumstance. It ain’t pretty.

  41. I hate to be political, but I think i need to….Just for a moment.

    Minnesota has been going back and forth on this issue with the stadium for quite some time. Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty was always against the State to give in to the laws regarding “vegas style” casinos, which are solely operatated in Minnesota by non taxed Tribal Communities.

    This “Crafted” plan by our Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is nothing short of a political agenda. I have to think this whole thing is nothing more than a new source of revenue generation by adding laws relaxing the stronghold of Tribal Communities in The State of Minnesota. Brilliant. There has been long debates on the issue, so why not get the backing of the people on this, in this very emotional time. We lose the Vikings, which is the number one sports franchise in the state, or we keep them. We keep them so long as our republicans in Minnesota decide to change their stance on legalized state gambling, taking on the Tribal Communities. Something Minnesota has long avoided and Tribal communities strongly oppose. This source of revenue will be long and full of legal actions…It is time for Minnesota to gets its share of taxes from gambling proceeds. Property, sales, and income taxes are pretty much maxxed out in the state. Lets use new “state run” gaming proceeds for the Stadium, then use it for Roads, Environment…after the stadium is “paid for.” I love the Vikings and have been my team the last 40 years. A lot of disappoints thru the years. It would be a bigger disappointment than any other if they left the state. If they do leave…who to blame??? I think Gov Dayton has that figured out. Brillant.

  42. This is so typical of MN. They find a way to keep the Twins even though the team was to be contracted. They find a way to give the gophers a new stadium, even though they’ve sucked for years. The most popular team in the state…screw off, see ya. What?!? they left, quick build a stadium to get a new team here…

    As a Viking fan I hope that they leave, maybe then they’ll win a championship, it worked for the Lakers and it worked for the NorthStars. And I’m just looking for the championship, just don’t do something stupid like leave the name, it hasn’t worked in Cleveland (where the old Browns won a title). The people of MN have proven that they don’t deserve an NFL team.

  43. With a semi-smirk on my face…from a Packers fan…I ask the question again–why not upgrade the University of Minnesota stadium?
    Yes, I know, the egos involved what their own temples.
    But if public tax money is required, why not limit the amount?
    It seems stupid to build a new stadium when the current NEW U-M facility sits empty much of the year. I admit other sports use that facility, but isn’t finding solutions among top-level minds part of an academic mission?
    The stadium could be engineered to add on the NFL level skyboxes and profit garnering ventures, which would also provide a revenue stream for the U-M.
    But that’s the catch, isn’t it? Owners want it ALL for themselves and the taxpayers have to fund it.

    But it’s still a field that’s 100 yards long and 50 some yards wide. With that as a basis, you can go forward from there.
    But here in Lambeau-land, the folks are going to cough up $200 for a piece of paper that says you’re a stockholder in a non-profit organization. They will get nothing out of it financially, the team will add on to the stadium where WE CAN WATCH THE PACKERS BEAT THE VIKINGS!

  44. The winds of change are sweeping thru Minnesota. The right wing Tea Party and left wing OWS groups have put all politicians on notice that government handouts to the rich and powerful are not acceptable.

    Whether its TARP or Wall St bailouts, the average American (the 99%) are about to flex their muscle against the 1% that own most of this country and are mad that they starting to be held accountable.

    You saw it in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Libya. You are now seeing it the USA. The mega rich 1% (and the politicians they own) have a choice-they can voluntarily redistribute their obscene wealth throughout the population or have it taken from them.

  45. No time to comment… they’re busy making reservations with U-Haul……… Welcome to the wild, wooly nasty NFC West…….

  46. This problem can be solved easily if the 9 billion dollar NFL will just give or loan the Vikes a few hundred million.

  47. What national readers may not know is Minnesota ran a state deficit last year and only got the government operating because they have ‘borrowed ‘ funds from schools across the State and there does not appear to be any time soon when this will get repaid. This has left local communities reeling to offset this loss of funds.

    So when a billionaire keeps aggressively asking for public taxes to pay for a new stadium, when there’s one right now with a new roof he could lease again, people begin to wonder the value said billionaire brings to the table. And most studies show the teams and the revenues they bring in are basically a wash.

    While some may be blinded by their love of football, the truth is, the NFL and the Vikings owner are businesses wrongfully looking for a public handout at the worst possible time.

  48. I can’t believe we’re going to lose the vikings in MN. Nobody realizes that in 90 days when the viking’s metrodome lease expires theres nothing keeping them in M N. They’ll have any city which would like a NFL franchise putting together deals to attract them to their cities. And then the viking’s won’t have to put up a penny let alone the half billion plus cost run ups they’ve already committed too. I understand the politics and ethics but come on,i grew up watching games with my father and someday hope to pass that tradition on to my children. I can’t even explain how heartbroken I’d be if our Minnesota Vikings left…. Please dont let that happen. People willl quickly get over a tax for a new stadium, just like they did for the twins and gophers (why the hell couldnt gophers used the metrodome, or of built nfl capable stadium to share with purple,that baffles me)stadium. But the loss felt from losing the MN Vikings will motivate voters for generations. Bring out the hit-list for politicians who kept a deal from getting done. “blood will be shed before tears are dried”

  49. this is sick, and minnesota doesn’t deserve a nfl franchise!..To all those penny pinching cheapies, do you seriously think that losing this franchise is going to save you tax money? do you realize how much revenue this organization brings to the state every single year? out of staters, travel, tourism, shopping, motels, restaurants, just to name a few, not to mention do you realize how much property taxes and dues the owners pay to the state each year? yea, in the upside of 200 mill….just wait until thats all gone in minnesota and then come back and email me to let me know how much your taxes have been raised to make up for the loss of this team that the taxpayers have caused, and for those that think wilf should fund most or the entire project, serious? first off wilf is a business man that already pays his dues to your taxes, and brings in all the above mentioned, so he should buy the stadium himself to keep a couple dollars in your pocket? ridiculous!!….i am a life long viking fan and from a nearby state that travels twice a year every year so i can enjoy 2 games i will no longer support this team nor give a single dollar to the state of minnesota, and have instead secured tickets to 1 game in green bay! hey at least they will pay to keep their team!!!

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