Forbes: Wilfs’ worth ‘irrelevant’ in Vikings stadium financing debate

Mike Ozanian

The Forbes sports business guru, Mike Ozanian, has weighed in on the flap over the Wilf family’s personal wealth and the risk that a New Jersey lawsuit might affect the financing of a new stadium for a team they own.

He said the combination of league financing, taxpayer support and other revenues will be adequate to pay for the Vikings share, regardless of the Wilfs’ legal outcome.

“The Vikings have already won the funding game and the Wilf family’s wealth is irrelevant because the league’s and public’s contribution can be used for the stadium’s upfront construction costs and the $277 million the Vikings are going to pay is over 30 years. Meanwhile, the Vikings will generate an additional $40 million or so of cash annually from the new stadium.

So regardless of how much the Wilfs end up paying in their court case and the family’s net worth, the Vikings will be able to meet their financial obligations for the stadium because of the large upfront funding from the NFL and taxpayers. The Wilfs may be “evil” but they are also smart.”

An MPR analysis backs up Ozanian’s math. The average NFL team gets about $154 million from personal seat licenses, and the equivalent of about $120 million in naming rights proceeds. A deal like that would leave the Vikings with just 0.7 percent of their share left to pay after other revenue is applied to the deal.