Zygi Wilf Says Major League Soccer to the Twin Cities – Don’t Count On It and Here’s Why
The Star Tribune is reporting today that Zygi Wilf wants to bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) team to the Twin Cities which leads me to wonder, has he actually discussed this with the powers that be at MLS?
The Star Tribune is running an article called, “Cost of Metrodome, the sequel: $870 million”, which outlines the cost and plans to revamp the Metrodome for Zygi Wilf’s Minnesota Vikings. However, the article states that no one from the Vikings were at the meeting which revealed the lavish stadium redux plans that was created by HKS Architects of Dallas at a cost of $2.5 million. The Vikings, who were active with the commission up until last month, are still unhappy over that same group’s attempt to get the team to sign a lease stating they would stay at the Metrodome beyond 2011.
The paper reported that HKS architect Bryan Trubey said the “facility could host events ranging from high school football playoff games to the Super Bowl, from motor races to political conventions.”
Kevin Duchschere of the Star Tribune reported that Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission member Paul Thatcher asked if the facility could handle soccer matches because the Vikings had previously stated that they were interested in purchasing an MLS team and moving it here.
Yes, Trubey said, soccer was included as part of the design agenda. The stadium would be, he said, “the most technologically advanced multiuse facility” that could be built, “and it will be done at the most efficient square footage and the most economical price” possible.
Several years ago, Wilf had previously stated that he wanted to bring an MLS team to Minnesota when he was looking for public funding to help him build a stadium in Blaine, MN. When the plan seemed to die so did his talk of MLS. Now we hear that once again Wilf has a sudden interest in a soccer team, at least according to commissioner Thatcher. Obviously, Wilf would love to have another team playing in a facility to bring in added revenue. However, I have to ask the question, does Zygi Wilf or commissioner Thatcher know anything about soccer, or have they ever talked to anyone from MLS concerning this interest? If they had spoken to MLS officials they would soon find out that the league wants their teams playing in soccer specific stadiums (SSS) and on real grass, not an artificial surface. I doubt very much that Mr. Wilf has an interest in actually building an SSS and the reality is, he is trying to gather as much interest from as many groups as possible to help build support for public funding of this new stadium.
I’m not making a statement one way or another on the new proposed revamp of the Metrodome or the use of public funds for such a facility; what I am saying is beware of the true intent of Mr. Wilf and let’s not get over excited about what he is presenting. As much as I would love to see MLS come to the Twin Cities this is little more than a publicity scheme at the moment. Let’s keep our enthusiasm checked until we know a lot more about Wilf’s plan for a soccer team. Because I guarantee that MLS commissioner Don Garber and crew will not be any too receptive of yet another team proposing to play in a 60 to 70 thousand seat stadium. The league has been there and done that, and thankfully have turned the corner on that stage of MLS.