Negotiators aiming for Tuesday stadium deal

The Minnesota Vikings may be prepared to put up 44 percent of the cost of a new $970 million stadium in downtown Minneapolis, under the terms of a deal that could be announced early next week.

Rough numbers were sketched out in a presentation to business leaders on Thursday, and a participant in the meeting tells MPR News that the team has pledged about $425 million to the project.

Several present at the meeting said that planners were hoping to make an announcement on Tuesday.

Mayoral spokesman John Stiles denied an agreement was done. “No deal,” Stiles said, in response to media reports that the city, state and team were ready to move forward to the Legislature. “We continue to negotiate through the weekend,” Stiles said.

Vikings vice president for stadium development, Lester Bagley, also said talks hadn’t finished. “There is no agreement,” Bagley said. “Conversations continue, but there is no deal.”

The team previously offered $425 for a deal in Ramsey County, but that was contiingent on a stadium getting built in Arden Hills.

Business leaders at the meeting heard that Minneapolis is also standing by its offer of putting $150 million in money up front for a Vikings stadium and $95 million for an upgrade to Target Center. The Timberwolves made an offer last year to put another $50 million into the improvements at the downtown arena.

The Timberwolves did not respond to an inquiry about their role in the city’s so-called “3-for-1” deal, which includes the stadium, the Wolves home and the convention center.

The deal is also expected to include a “poison pill” that would eventually strip the city of the proceeds of its hospitality taxes if the Minneapolis City Council doesn’t sign off on the deal. That could leave the city itself to shoulder the costs of maintaining and promoting its Convention Center, after the taxes pay off existing convention center bonds.

A participant at the meeting said former Minnesota Wild executive Jac Sperling told the group that negotiators were making progress on terms of a short stay at TCF Bank Field if the Metrodome site wasn’t available to the NFL during stadium construction.

‘We do not have an agreement yet,” said University spokesman Patty Mattern. “But we’re very close.”

The plan in the works has the state putting just under $400 million from the proceeds of the expansion of charitable gambling into electronic pull tabs. But a spokeswoman for the governor’s office also denied a deal was final.

Any stadium agreement would also require approval from the Legislature, where it’s likely to face substantial opposition.

  • Bob Kohlmeier

    This deal is almost done and I am still wondering what the heck Governor Dayton means by a “People’s Stadium”. Since early last year Dayton has said the state’s share would be no more than 300 million. Now they’re talking 400 million? I distinctly remember Dayton’s campaign promises to “tax the rich”. But since the deplorable shutdown, the only taxes that have gone up are mine, and probably yours, too. And now this subsidy for the rich? NO! Absolutely NOT! It is time for this governor to stick to his word.

    By the way, here’s my stadium solution. Since “live within your means” is a heavily used quote by numerous legislators, I suggest they tell Mr. Wilf the same! He has a perfectly good stadium seating 64,000 fans which has sold out every year since 1998. Our government should be telling Mr. Wilf what they tell us, “if you can’t live within those means, add whatever you need to the ticket price”. And be done with it!