Pity the poor football fans in Los Angeles. They’re stuck watching the NFL on television, or watching USC at the L.A. Coliseum. The latest team that was looking at possibly heading west was the Minnesota Vikings. Earlier today, the Minnesota State Senate approved the Vikings new stadium; Governor Mark Dayton has promised to sign the measure. The Minneapolis City Council must also approve the measure within the next 30 days, but that approval is expected.
The Vikings didn’t get everything they wanted. The Vikings will have to contribute about $50 million more than they wanted to ($477 million in total) for the $975 million facility. But the Vikings overall share of the cost (49%) tells you that the citizens of Minnesota will be paying for this in one way or another.
The state’s share ($348 million) will come through an expansion of charitable gambling. Gambling may be a “sin” in the view of many but when it comes time to raise money it’s always one of the first things looked at. Minneapolis must also contribute to the stadium ($150 million); that will mainly come from sales tax. Of course, as the Wall Street Journal points out, new stadiums rarely pay for themselves.
The Vikings currently play in the Metrodome, an aging facility whose roof collapsed a couple of years ago. The new stadium (to be build on the site of the Metrodome) is expected to open in 2016. It’s likely the Vikings will play for three seasons at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.