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Will New Stadium Deal Stop Vikings Move to LA? Fan’s Opinion
It looks like a preliminary agreement has been reached in Minneapolis to build the Minnesota Vikings a new stadium, but I wouldn't count them out as a team that could soon be playing in Los Angeles. There are just too many obstacles, too many approvals that need to happen before the deal becomes a reality. All while the two Los Angeles stadium developers are probably waving big checks in front of the Vikings' owners to move to L.A.
The Vikings need a new stadium and their current stadium lease has already expired, allowing them to move without any penalties. I think the team is being heavily courted by Los Angeles' stadium developers to move here and unless the downtown Minneapolis deal goes through all the hoops it must to become reality, I really do think we will see the team make the move west.
The situation in Los Angeles
Los Angeles has two competing NFL stadium projects, both actively seeking an NFL team to make the move. AEG, the company behind the proposed Farmers Field stadium project in downtown Los Angeles has, at one time, publicly confirmed they have had discussions with five NFL teams (and probably several more). One of those teams mentioned by AEG as a possible candidate to move to Los Angeles is the Minnesota Vikings.
The situation in Minnesota
The Vikings currently play in the Metrodome, which opened in 1982 and is badly in need of replacement. The complex is formally known as the "Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome". I think the team is losing money every year due to not having a modern, competitive stadium. That means a stadium with ample luxury suites and VIP seating, as those parts generate big revenue for NFL teams. Older stadiums also lack some of the space for retail and shopping mall-type areas, as many modern stadiums also include. All these spaces generate rent from the concessions who lease them out.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports a preliminary agreement has been reached on the division of costs for the new stadium. The new stadium would be built on or near the site of the current stadium, in downtown Minneapolis. The project is estimated at $975 million and the city would pay $150 million, the state would pay $389 million and the Vikings would pay $427 million. The deal would also have the city paying $180 million in operating costs over the next 30 years.
While that all sounds great, the Vikings' vice president Lester Bagley told the paper: "There is no agreement. Everything is subject to negotiations. We're working hard on an agreement, but we're not there yet." The team has publicly supported a competitive project, one proposed for suburban Arden Hills. I just don't think this new downtown deal will ever become a reality.
Assuming those figures are correct, the project would then need the approval of the Minneapolis City Council, as well as the Minnesota State Legislature. In these difficult economic times, those approvals may be hard to come by, those are citizen's tax dollars going to a private enterprise. Will the Vikings offer discounts to city and state residents who helped pay for their stadium? I doubt it. The plan would also need to be approved by the NFL.
Although born and raised with Eagles fans in Philadelphia, Freddy Sherman has always been a citizen of Raider Nation at heart. Since his dad got him a signed George Blanda football as child, to meeting Lyle Alzado in the 1980s, he hasn't looked back. Follow him on twitter @thefredsherman
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