Vikings Stadium FAQ

What’s the latest on the new stadium for the Vikings?

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is in talks with the Vikings over the 30-year lease the team is expected to sign for the new stadium. That’s expected to include the most contentious issue in the project: the personal seat license fees the team is expecting to get from fans. That could approach $150 million, with some individual seats priced at the five-figure level. The MSFA is also in talks to acquire a nearby plaza, and the city is working on plans for a big $400 million mixed use development just to the west of the stadium.

When will building start?

Current projections call for a groundbreaking in November 2013. The project is expected to start with some utility work in downtown Minneapolis, including the relocation of an underground power line near the area, which has already started The plan calls for construction to begin in the parking lot east of the Metrodome, approach the existing stadium as play continues there. The Metrodome will then be deflated and demolished in early 2014 to accommodate the completion of its replacement. The project is expected to employ 13,000 people, including 7,500 construction jobs during the life of the project.

When will it open?

The Vikings expect to play their 2016 season in the new stadium. The current schedule calls for them to play through the end of the 2013 season in the Metrodome and play the 2014 and 2015 seasons at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, at a price of about $8 million per year, for costs and rent. Mortenson faces a $5 million per NFL game penalty for a late opening of the building.

What will it look like?

The final design final design for the new stadium was unveiled on May 13th, 2013. It will be a 1.6 million square foot facility with a fixed roof, although half of the roof will be transparent ETFE, the same fluoroplastic used on the exterior of the “Watercube” swimming facility in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The building is a large, irregularly shaped cube, with a canted roof and rising to a prow-like peak on the west end. The west end of the stadium will have five 95-high pivoting doors that  total about 350 feet across. The rest of exterior will be largely glass and metal cladding. The agreement between the state and the Vikings calls for 65,000 seats inside, with room for up to 72,000 for events like a Super Bowl. There will be 150 suites and 7,500 club seats, according to the stadium authority’s website. The winning architectural firm, HKS, was announced Sept. 28th, 2012 at a special meeting at the Metrodome. The firm dropped its price from $40 million to $34 million. They also offered a several non-retractable roof options, and offered a special market analysis of the area, designed to determine, predesign, what kind of seating and amenity configurations will sell best — and presumably generate the most revenue for the stadium and team. Other bidders included Kansas City based Populous and HNTB, EwingCole, from Philadelphia and Los Angeles-based AECOM, which includes the former Ellerbe Beckett firm in Minneapolis. You can read their bids, as well as the winning bidhere.

What will it cost?

Projections now call for the project to cost $975 million. About $822 of that is expected to be the actual cost of construction. The rest will involve land acquisition, administrative expenses and other costs. The legislation authorizing the project calls for a guaranteed maximum price contract for the construction, intended to cap cost overruns.

Who’s paying for it?

The Vikings, the state and the city of Minneapolis are sharing the up-front cost. Here’s how it will break down:

  • The Vikings have agreed to contribute $477 million to the construction — $50 million more than their initial offer, as demanded on the day the legislation was finalized. The team is widely expected to fund part of that with a $200 million league loan, to be paid from the “visiting team share” that the Vikings currently do not capture. The Vikings are also expected to sell personal seat licenses to ticket holders. Vikings Chief Financial Officer Steve Poppen told a Minnesota Senate panel in 2011 that teams in similar situations raise an average of $50 million through PSLs, but the NFL average is closer to $150 million. The team is also expected to use naming rights proceeds. Those are typically worth about $120 million in present-value terms.
  • The State of Minnesota has pledged $348 million in bonding* to the project’s construction. To fund bonding for that amount, lawmakers in 2012 legalized electronic pull tabs, a variation on the charitable gambling games first legalized in Minnesota in 1985. Those proved to be a financial disappointment, and the state enacted new corporate taxes to backfill the shortfall.
  • The City of Minneapolis has pledged $150 million up front for construction, to be paid for mostly with existing hotel, liquor and food taxes downtown, as well as a citywide half-cent sales tax. That money currently funds Convention Center debt and other activities, but those bonds should be paid off by 2020.

*Minnesota is actually expected to borrow $498 million, for both its share and the city of Minneapolis’ share.

Who is building it?

On February 15, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority picked Golden Valley-based Mortenson Construction to build the new $822 million stadium. The company agreed to a 1.7 percent fee, expected to be about $12.5 million, with opportunity for bonuses that would increase the fee to $15 million. The company will work with Dallas-based HKS estimate the cost of preliminary designs. Senior Vice President John Wood said the company expects to break ground about Oct. 1, 2013, and will have the building “substantially complete” on July 1, 2016. Officials also said the Metrodome will be demolished at the end of the Vikings 2013 season to accommodate construction.

Who owns the new stadium?

While the state, the Vikings and the city of Minneapolis share the cost the state of Minnesota is the sole owner of the facility. Minneapolis may develop public spaces adjacent to the property and would own those parcels.

Who’s going to pay to run it?

Operating costs are expected to run $20.5 million per year. The Vikings will be responsible for $13 million of that annually, with $8.5 earmarked as rent. The city of Minneapolis is to pick up $7.5 million annually, indexed to inflation as the costs rise over time.

What’s the stadium going to be used for?

Its principal economic mechanism will be Vikings games, including two preseason and eight regular season home games every year. The Vikings have exclusive rights to bring a Major League Soccer team into the stadium for the first five years. Major League Soccer teams have a 34-game regular season schedule. Other events are expected to include a Monster Truck Jam tour stop, Supercross motorcycle racing and Minnesota State High School League soccer and football championships. Minneapolis officials have expressed interest in hosting another national political convention, like the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul. The Vikings have also told the league that they intend to host a Super Bowl after the stadium opens, possibly as early as 2018. League owners have exclusive authority over Super Bowl locations, and Minnesota hosted one in 1992. The League is widely expected to award the game to new stadiums, to encourage host cities to build them. The MSFA also plans to bid for a Final Four in 2017 or 2018, to repeat tournaments in the Metrodome in 1992 and 2001.

Who’s in charge?

The construction and operation of the new stadium will be overseen by the 5-member Minnesota Sports Facilties Authority. Two members and the chair are appointed by the governor. The initial members, appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton, include one of his senior staff, Michele Kelm-Helgen, as chairwoman. Former legislator and NFL player Duane Benson and Target real estate executive John Griffin rounded out Dayton’s appointees. Capella University executive Barbara Butts Williams, widow of another NFL player, and Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation president Bill McCarthy were selected by Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak.

The city of Minneapolis appointed a Stadium Implementation Committee to advise the MSFA on city related aspects of the project. They included:

  • Russ Adams — Executive director, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
  • Hussein Ahmed — Executive director, West Bank Community Coalition
  • Tim Baylor — Developer, outgoing member of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission
  • Judith Yates Borger — Downtown East resident
  • Rolf Engh — Vice president and general counsel, Valspar
  • Chris Ferguson — Dairy Queen owner; member, Central Corridor’s Corridors of Opportunity Committee
  • David Fields — Community development coordinator, Elliot Park Neighborhood Association
  • Sarah Harris — Fomer Downtown Improvement District executive director
  • Clint Hewitt — Retired landscape architect, former University of Minnesota planner
  • Peggy Lucas — Developer, outgoing member of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission
  • Wade Luneburg — Secretary treasurer, UNITE-HERE Local 17
  • Peter McLaughlin — Hennepin County commissioner
  • Cory Merrifield — Founder, Save the Vikes
  • Tom Meyer — Architect, Downtown East resident
  • Cathy Rydell — Executive director, American Academy of Neurology
  • D. Craig Taylor — Executive director, U of M Office of Business & Community Development

The committee cancelled all future meetings following approval of the stadium proposal and a vote of support for a nearby developement in August, 2012.

What about the Target Center?

The authorizing legislation allows Minneapolis to use some of its tax proceeds — those not necessary to run the Convention Center or stadium bonds — to help fund a $100 to $122 million upgrade to Target Center. The balance is expected to be paid for by the building’s principal occupants, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, as well as AEG, the management company contracted to run the city-owned facility.

Where can I find the legal fine print?

The complete, 88-page bill, known as HF 2958 in the 2012 Legislative Session, is available here.

Who voted for and against this deal in the Legislature?

The key floor vote in the Minnesota House came on May 7, 2012, as 40 DFLers and 33 Republicans voted to approve the deal. There were 58 votes against. The roll call for the 80-50 vote on final passage in the Minnesota House is here.

The roll call for the 38-30 vote on the final version of the in the Minnesota Senate is here. The yes votes included 22 DFLers and 16 Republicans. No votes included 8 DFLers and 20 Republicans.

UPDATED: 9/18/2013