Vikings stadium approved, Rams, Raiders line up to be next

And it’s official: The Minnesota senate yesterday passed the conference version of the Vikings stadium bill by a vote of 36-30, giving final legislative approval to the $1 billion project, which will receive $500 million in construction subsidies, plus about $300 million in public money for operating costs. (Or as the Los Angeles Times puts it: “The Vikings will pay $477 million of the stadium costs, the public $348 million and the city of Minneapolis $150 million.” That would be The City of Minneapolis, LLC, presumably.) The Minneapolis city council still needs to sign off on the deal, as does Gov. Mark Dayton, but those are considered formalities.

Stadium supporters celebrated at the capitol, while opponents warned of pending doom (“We know there are going to families who are going to lose their house, probably their marriages, their cars, their livelihoods so we can enjoy football,” said state senator John Howe of the expanded gambling that will help fund the project).

And, of course, everyone started focusing on the question of who’ll be next to get a new stadium, now that Minnesota has set the baseline at $1 billion (fourth-most expensive NFL stadium ever) and $500 million in public construction subsidies (second-most after the Indianapolis Colts), reversing a trend that had seen the New York Giants, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, and San Francisco 49ers pay for more than 50% of their new facilities. The San Jose Mercury News’ Mark Purdy wrote that “you can hear dominoes falling, all the way from Minnesota,” opining that with the Vikings off the table for an L.A. move, “the [Oakland] Raiders are in good position to stare down Oakland officials and not blink.” The St. Louis Rams, meanwhile, have upped the ante in their own stadium upgrade campaign, reportedly demanding that the Edward Jones Dome have its fixed roof replaced with a retractable one, something that 1) may not be feasible, 2) would come at an unknown cost, and 3) seems dubious how much benefit it would be for anyone, unless Rams fans are really steering clear of games because they can’t see a patch of blue sky.

Not to be a broken record (in case any readers are too young to have seen a record, perhaps this will help), but it’s important to remember in all this that Los Angeles currently has two new-stadium plans that have been officially designated by the NFL as unacceptable, thanks mostly to the fact that a team owner (or the league) would have to pay for most of the construction cost via either rent payments or a chunk of equity in the team. And maybe also because this not having a team in L.A. thing is just working great for the league’s existing franchises as a boogeyman to scare local elected officials with. NFL owners, start your airplane engines!

16 comments on “Vikings stadium approved, Rams, Raiders line up to be next

  1. After living through the past 5 years of stadium propaganda in Santa Clara, I wouldn’t say the 49ers are paying more than 50%. The deal that was advertised in the stadium campaign to get people to vote yes was that the “49ers/NFL/stadium revenues” would pay 92%. Our mayor was on TV saying that the 49ers alone were paying 92%. The ballot measure only contained $40 million in redevelopment funds and $35 million in hotel taxes for voter approval. That’s all the people of Santa Clara were told we were responsible for.

    Fast forward 18 months, after 100 closed door negotiating sessions out of the public eye, and the stadium deal is nothing like what we voted on. Santa Claras’s agency, the Stadium Authority, will take on $950 million in construction loans that will come due at the end of construction and need to be turned into long term financing (yes, some of the loan dollars will be first funneled through the 49ers Stadium Company before being shoveled off onto the Stadium Authority.) Naming rights (which have not yet materialized) and personal seat licenses (which are not being made public) are supposed to buy down some of that $950 million in loans. Estimates in the media are that Santa Clara’s agency will have to refinance many hundreds of millions of dollars of the original $950 million in loans. Of course we’ve been promised all along ‘no cost to Santa Clara’s general fund’ and ‘no new taxes.’ But that hasn’t stopped our city council from spending boatloads of general fund money on staff salaries to work on the stadium project.

    It remains to be seen who or what will end up paying off the $950 million in loans. Had our elected officials been up front about the loans and put them on the ballot (or allowed the people of Santa Clara the chance to vote on the loans after enough signatures were gathered to request a vote on the loans, which was denied) then people here would feel more confident in what we’re being told. But there have been too many statements made that ended up not being true.

    It’s a big problem when elected officials stop representing the people who put them in office, and instead behave as if they were elected to represent the best interests of the NFL.

  2. So basically you are saying that LA will never get a team and that LA is being used for leverage? Kind of sad, LA didn’t loose the Rams and Raiders due to attendance, all teams have up and down years. LA lost the NFL due to one team playing in a terrible baseball stadium in Anaheim and the other playing in the Coliseum which opened in 1922 and hasn’t ever really scene a true renovation. LA and the OC were in major recessions and were recovering from the 1994 earthquake. The region could not and would not build a stadium for billionaires. Sucks that uneducated people say LA lost two teams due to fan support when it was all about money and no real NFL stadium.

  3. Once again this shows Minnesota Supremacy. Vikings are America’s team and will win the Super Bowl this season.

    Minnesota is simply better than your state.

    Bow down and worship Master Zygi!

  4. By the time all is said and done, this will be the premier football stadium in North America when it opens in 2016. Super Bowl 51 or 52 will be played here in FEB 2017 or 2018. The benefits to the Minneapolis-St Paul metropolitan area are all but incalculable and unimaginable. VIPs in Atlanta, St Louis, and Buffalo are looking intently and considering their response. And this decision ensures two, likely four more NFL clubs before the end of the decade making for a total of 36 clubs in the league with two of the clubs in Los Angeles in the future newly constructed stadium that wins out from the three or four current stadium proposals in the Southland. The next question to be answered over the next five years is where will the soon to be erstwhile Oakland Raiders end up.

  5. Viking Supremacy,

    I think the Onion store sells a T-Shirt embossed with “THE SPORTS TEAM IN MY CITY IS SUPERIOR TO THE SPORTS TEAM IN YOUR CITY”

    You should check it out.


    I love your post also. You should apply for a job with the stadium authority here in Santa Clara.


  6. Master Zygi is offended by some of this boards comments.

    santa clara jay:

    Show some respect to the Purple and Gold. This board has been against the Vikings.

    When we put you in our place, you should know who your Master is.

    Viking Worshipper

  7. There are significant disclosure issues, with regard to the “funding” of these stadia / raidiums… Try using the funding schemes to sell a security on the NYSE & see what happens to the principals.

    We’re talking about significant dollars that don’t clear any real prospectus test. How many property owners are truly aware that their property is used to collateralize GO bonds?

    Why are the products & production of other businesses punished / taxed to support the big business of sports franchises? Forget that high schooled rah-rah crap, sports franchises depend on an existing business community, not the other way around. If these owners are “business owners,” they should put on their big person pants & operate on profits rather than become dependents of real businesses.

    Green Bay has THE MODEL, that the NFL & its owners are afraid of…

  8. Neil you are absolutely right! After the shovels hit the ground at the 49ers undersized, under-parked, non-existing transit stadium site. The Local Bay Area Media Hords were out stating that, “if we didn’t get the stadium in Santa Clara, I would be out of a job, because the 49ers were going to move to LA.”

    That was a pile of BS…I personally called the NFL Offices on Park Ave, in NYC, and they told me that they (the NFL), would NEVER allow the 49ers to move out of the Bay Area.” It was a “ruse” by the Ownership of the SF 49ers to make the Chattering Meatheads put the word out that a Move was pending, if Measure J didn’t get a Yes vote!

    And as we all now know in the SF Bay Area, the ownership of the SF 49ers are “Intellectually Dishonest,” and our Media played a Major role in the dishonesty…IMHO

  9. It appears that Neil needs to create a companion website to FOS. I propose he call it

  10. For a good summary of how financial information wasn’t forthcoming in the media (i.e. provided to taxpayers) until after the Vikings deal was approved, see The Deets dot com.

  11. Joe- Are you advocating sending those teams to LA from Oakland to save us Bay Area folks money? If so, you get my vote.

    Vikings Supremlunacy- do you really need a new stadium more than new bridges? I’m not sure what Minnesota is better at, apart from growing mosquitoes and electing gullible officials (tie with south Florida I guess)

  12. I think all Minnesotans should be on their knees and bow to Master Zygi. He’s that good. A billion dollar stadium is the least we could do for this man. Or, making a holiday after his name. Master Zygi is supreme.