The Vikings’ ownership will say all the right things publicly about their commitment to staying in Minnesota, the love for the fans, etc. However, be certain they are keeping one eye glued to what’s happening in Los Angeles, where a sparkling $800M stadium may be rising in the nation’s second-large Andrew Brandt
The Vikings’ ownership will say all the right things publicly about their commitment to staying in Minnesota, the love for the fans, etc. However, be certain they are keeping one eye glued to what’s happening in Los Angeles, where a sparkling $800M stadium may be rising in the nation’s second-largest market.
On Tuesday, voters in Industry (not the most alluring name, no?), Calif., approved a bond on the ballot providing $150 million for infrastructure improvements at a 600-acre site where a stadium has been proposed. That news dovetails with statements from a billionaire real estate developer, Ed Roski, who says he will build it (a new stadium) if they (the NFL) come.
The Vikings are not denying the possibility of a move, making a statement more for local Minnesota officials to read than to express a public interest in Los Angeles. As reported in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the team issued the following statement: "The Vikings are watching these developments with interest," said Lester Bagley, the team's vice president of public affairs and stadium development. "But we are currently focused on achieving a workable stadium plan to keep the Vikings here in Minnesota." This means they are focused on staying in Minnesota until they get the deal they want. Then they are not.
I know from experience how the renovated Lambeau Field dramatically affected our revenue outlook, and how dismal the future looked if the referendum on public funding did not pass. We were sinking deeper down the revenue rankings each year, only to jump into the top 12 the first year after having our stadium renovated and the $20M of revenues it produced.
There are the haves and the have-nots in the NFL when it comes to revenues from stadiums. The haves are recent tenants of splashy new or renovated facilities, reaping the income from the revenue-producing opportunities that a new stadium delivers, teams like the Colts, Packers, Seahawks, Cardinals and Lions. And the Cowboys, Jets and Giants will soon be passing all of these teams on the revenue rankings when they walk into their new digs.
Then there are the have-nots, teams that look at the new revenues from a place like Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the Colts will receive $122M over 20 years for naming rights and for which all but $100M of its $719M cost was financed by taxpayers (it will host the 2012 Super Bowl as well). These teams, among them the Chargers, Saints, Bills, Jaguars, 49ers and, of course, the Vikings, can only hope.
Having watched public funding go to facilities for the Twins and the University of the Minnesota without receiving similar treatment, the Vikings may soon no longer be singing “Love the One You’re With.” They might be changing their tune to “I Love LA.”
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