Stadium plans would require Vikings to sign 40-year lease
The bill to help fund a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings was introduced Monday and predictably discussions surrounding the measure were turbulent.
Even the Vikings themselves seem to be skeptical about a plan to build a $791 million stadium with their lease at the out-dated Metrodome ste to expire following the 2011 season. Interesting in the whole deal – the Vikings are hoping for an outdoor stadium.
The current plan, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, calls for the Vikings to foot a healthy share of the bill -- $264 million. The rest of the cash would be generated via taxes on hotels, rental cars and NFL merchandise. Yes, you want to plunk down some hard-earned cash for your Percy Harvin jersey or your NFL licensed Jared Allen mullet? There’s a new tax in mind for you.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty is opposed to the tax measures and it will be interesting to see how the bill does in committee. One proposal calls for a stadium authority to run the building and introduces the creation of a sports-themed lottery scratch-off game (other states have introduced these) that would be expected to produce about $5.5 million annually.
Both proposals involve the Vikings signing a 40-yard lease and mandating that owner Zygi Wilf be forced to help pay remaining stadium debt in the event he sells the team. The Vikings, per the report, only desire to pay $210 million for the creation of a new stadium and are not interested in having a roof over the joint.
"We would be the only NFL team to sign a 40-year lease. I think our owners would be willing to consider that, but we need some flexibility," team spokesman Lester Bagley told the Star Tribune.
Still, Bagley called the introduction of ideas a good start. Pawlenty’s spokesman Brian McClung wasn’t so supposrtive.
"We remain opposed to any stadium plan that includes tax increases, including the hotel tax, jersey tax, and rental car tax in one of the plans unveiled today," McClung said. "The governor continues to believe the team needs a local partner to be successful in their effort."
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