The Strib’s Mike Kaszuba takes a stab today at the nexus between the Minnesota United Football Club and the Minnesota Twins.
John Vomhof Jr. over at the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal broke the news last month that the Twins and Minnesota United traveled together to Kansas City to take a look at that soccer specific stadium there. A group of North Loop business interests are looking at the possibility of putting a similar facility near the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market, once a prospect to host the Vikings stadium. Cost estimates for yet another new stadium, this one for soccer, top $100 million.
On the other side of downtown, state law gives the Vikings five year exclusive rights to bring a Major League Soccer team to the new Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium, as the new facility is being called now. It’s set to open in 2016. But Nick Rogers, the team president for Minnesota United and son-in-law of owner and former United Health CEO William McGuire, says that doesn’t mean the Vikings owners have a deal with MLS.
“It’s like offering the right of first refusal to the neighbor’s car,” Rogers told Stadium Watch last month, regarding an MLS franchise. Which is to say state law doesn’t govern who can strike a deal with MLS, only who gets to play in the new stadium. In other words, Major League Soccer can sell a new franchise to whomever they want — as long as someone who isn’t the Vikings doesn’t try to put the team in the new stadium before 2021.
But there’s also a hitch, Rogers says. Minnesota United isn’t in the Major League Soccer business either. Unlike European clubs that can upgrade to higher ranking leagues, the North American Soccer League is a totally separate business entity from Major League Soccer. That means Minnesota United’s owners could potentially put themselves out of the minor-league soccer business if they switched over to MLS. But a partnership with the Twins could ease the financial hardship of leaving the NASL behind if Minnesota can bring major league soccer to Minneapolis.