Sure enough, the Wilfs are not going to look a gift stadium in the mouth: The Minnesota Vikings owners agreed yesterday to pay an extra $50 million toward a new Minneapolis stadium, roughly splitting the difference between the $100 million hike the state house wanted and the $20 million increase the state senate approved. The revised legislation reconciling the two bills was approved in the house by a 71-60 vote at 3:30 this morning, and now heads to the senate.
From the sound of things, the Vikings have also agreed to the “blink-on” taxes on tickets, parking, and memorabilia that will go into effect if the state runs short of gambling proceeds to pay its share of the stadium; the Vikings did get back an exclusive five-year window to get an MLS team to play in the new dome, however.
So the final tally is:
- The state will put in $348 million, either from electronic pulltab gambling proceeds or from stadium user fees if that’s not enough.
- The city of Minneapolis will put in $150 million in cash plus $189 million over 30 years for operating costs, a total that (counting the cost of borrowing the money, since the taxes to pay for it will be tied up paying off the convention center for the next few years) should come to around $375-525 million in present value.
- The Vikings will put in $477 million, plus $327 million over 30 years for operating expenses. The team will get 100% revenue from NFL events, while the city and state will get money from the occasional monster truck rally.
There are a couple of lessons you could take from all this. On the one hand, it shows that when state legislators make demands, team owners who previously said “not one penny more!” can actually find quite a few pennies in order to protect a nearly billion-dollar windfall. On the other, it shows that if team owners ask for the moon and the stars, they can usually count on being bargained down by only a couple of lesser planets.