The Minnesota Vikings today acknowledged that they’ve been eliminated from consideration to own a new Major League Soccer franchise in Minneapolis, putting the ownership of the Minnesota United team solidly in the driver’s seat for a franchise here.
“We are in advanced discussions with (United owner) Bill McGuire and his partners in Minnesota to bring a Major League Soccer expansion club to the Twin Cities,” a statement from the league said. “[We] are particularly excited about their plans for a new soccer-specific stadium that will serve as the club’s home. We remain on track to announce the next MLS expansion market in the next 30-45 days, though no specific date for an announcement has been set.”
“MLS leadership is well aware that the passionate soccer fans in Minnesota combined with a world-class, soccer-specific stadium make the Twin Cities and our state a perfect home for the next MLS expansion team,” Minnesota United said in a statement this afternoon.
About that world-class stadium? Who’ll pay for it?
MPR’s Tom Scheck reports that Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says the state isn’t interested.
That doesn’t eliminate the possibility of public financing, should McGuire seek it. The county and the city could take it on and neither has ruled the idea out. Of course, nobody is yet asking for public assistance.
If it gets public aid, a soccer stadium here would be the seventh sports stadium in the Twin Cities. Since Minneapolis took over Target Center under the threat of losing the Timberwolves in 1994, taxpayers have contributed or are on the hook for at least $1.36 billion in aid.
Here’s the current breakdown.
Target Center – 1990
Renovation of Target Center, which Minneapolis purchased when the Timberwolves threatened to move to New Orleans in 1994, has yet to begin. It still owes about $55 million on the original $80 million deal. In the renovation plan, Minneapolis will pay nearly $49 million, The Timberwolves and Lynx will pay $43 million, and AEG, which manages the arena, will pay $5.5 million (6 percent).
The city will also pay at least $50 million for ongoing improvements over the life of the deal, which expires in 2032.
Xcel Energy Center – 1997
Minnesota approved an interest-free loan of $65 million — more than half of which funded the new arena. The owners of the team reduced the obligation to $48 million. The City of St. Paul funded its share, $65 million, through the issuance of sales tax revenue bonds. In 2007, the state forgave St. Paul’s obligation to repay $32.7 million, the amount left on the original loan. The Wild pay about $8 million a year in rent.
Though the arena is now a senior citizen at 18 years, payments that would have been used to repay the state, are used for arena upgrades.
TCF Stadium – 2009
Minnesota funded 55 percent of the project — about $137 million — under terms of legislation signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2006. It comes from the state’s general fund — about $10.25 million for 25 years.The University’s share of the stadium is $111 million. That includes $35 million for naming rights from TCF, a yearly $25 activity fee on students, and parking fees for events.
Target Field – 2010
The $555 million included about $350 in money backed by Hennepin County, much of it raised through a .15% county sales tax enacted by the Legislature in 2006. $90 million of the public money was for infrastructure work. The Twins contribution was initially $130 million for ballpark construction costs plus any ballpark cost overruns or enhancements.
The local tax will continue until the bonds are paid. Hennepin County has been paying off the bonds faster than originally intended, leading to some speculation that the sales tax money could be redirected to a soccer stadium project.
CHS Field – 2015
The $54 million project increased by nearly $9 million after tests showed contaminated soil on the site of the park. The city received a $25 million economic development grant via state bonding in 2012 from the state for the project. The city funds its $17 million share through $8.5 million in city bonds, paid over 25 years. It also used $1.5 million from a capital improvement program, and use $3 million from selling land to the Port Authority. Another $1.5 million comes an existing citywide half-cent sales tax.
Vikings Stadium – 2016
The largest construction project in state history uses $462 million in state financing, which it raised through a sale of bonds with a 4.27 percent interest. Minneapolis will pay back a $150 million share of the state bonds with existing hospitality taxes that were earmarked for Minneapolis Convention Center debt that was to be paid off by 2020.