Wiggle room for the Vikings?

Vikings vice president and stadium capo Lester Bagley couldn’t make it on Kerri Miller’s Mid-Morning show about a new NFL stadium in Minnesota this morning. But he did send a tantalizing email. He wrote to producer Ted Canova that the team may chip in more than the 1/3 they’ve talked about paying for an open-air stadium.

“The Twins added additional funds after the bill was passed,” Bagley wrote. “Which is likely to occur in a Vikings scenario as well.”

targetfield.jpgSo how much more than 1/3 did the Twins kick in for Target Field?

A lot, says the Twins’ spokesman Kevin Smith.

He says the team chipped in another $50 million for in-progress upgrades during the construction and got an additional $4.5 from Target for the Target Plaza buildout. He said the Twins threw in another $15 million for buying land, after the court tussle over the stadium site’s price. And he says they’re tossing in another $4 or $6 million this off season for a new video board, fixes to the outfield and other changes.

All told, he figures its about $200 million of the $545 million the place will cost by opening day this year.

That calculates out to about 36.7 percent of the bill for the final product, including the $90 million in infrastructure costs.

They weren’t the only team to do that, of course. The Minnesota Wild, after signing a deal for the Xcel Energy Center that cost them $3.5 million annually in rent for 25 years, pledged $30 million more for post-hockey arena-deal upgrades to the $130 million X in 2000.

The question is: Will the Vikings end point look like the Target Field deal? Or is that the new starting point for negotiations for the team’s contributions at the Capitol?

  • Bruce W. Morlan

    The fair answer here has to be considered in light of the net costs and benefits. While it is clever to answer the question “what do you call Minneapolis without the Vikings?” with a flippant “Omaha, only colder“, the taxpayer truth is that the Vikings do bring some amount of direct tax revenue to the state since those high-paid sports stars from out of town do pay income taxes to Minnesota on the money they make while playing here. Many of them pay more taxes to Minnesota from one game in Minnesota than many Minnesotans pay from having worked here all year. But trying to get all of that data into a story is often too much to ask, so we instead get lopsided headline coverage that polarizes unnecessarily.

    Personally, I do not favor taxpayer’s betting on the promised income from home games being enough to cover the cost of a stadium, but then I am naturally conservative on fiscal issues when making bets like this with other people’s money (the taxpayers’).