As Vikings Stadium Bill Goes up for Vote on Monday So Does Minnesota’s Chance for MLS Team
(Editors note: This bill was passed by the State House late Monday evening on a 73-58 vote.)
The Minnesota GOP, who felt they had a better way of funding the Minnesota Vikings new stadium, gave up on their new plan late last week. Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers said on Thursday that they were dropping the alternative finance plan and would allow a vote on the 134-seat House floor on Monday. Previously Zellers had argued the bill didn’t have enough votes while the bill’s sponsor, Julie Rosen (R-Faribault) as well as Vikings officials and Governor Mark Dayton claimed it did have enough support to pass the House. It will take 68 votes to pass and Zellers said on Friday in an interview that while he supports the Stadium he will not support the bill.
As the bill stands, the stadium costs are $975 million with $150 million coming from Minneapolis taxes and $398 million from electronic charitable gambling. The Vikings will come up with the remainder of the $427 million.
Meanwhile some Republican house members are saying they will not support the bill because Governor Dayton vetoed the Republican controlled house tax bill late last week.
The Governor conducted a sort-of barn storming tour this weekend appearing throughout the state trying to get public support behind the stadium. Dayton has said he believes the Vikings will leave if the stadium does not pass.
If passed the bill will still have to makes its way though the State Senate.
Meanwhile, the Star Tribune finally got around to covering the Major League Soccer aspect of the stadium. As has been reported here at IMS, the Vikings have claimed they are interested in bringing an MLS team to the Twin Cities if the stadium gets built. They have a right of first refusal written into the bill that would allow them to purchase an MLS team within 5 years of the time that the Vikings play their first game in the new stadium.
In the paper’s article, the Vikings’ Lester Bagley is quoted as saying that the Wilfs cancelled a scheduled meeting with MLS Commissioner Don Garber this past week as they focused on the task of getting enough votes to pass the stadium bill. The Vikings continue to throw around the figure of $30-40 million for a MLS franchise despite Garber’s past comments that the next MLS team would be sold for a fee closer to $70-90 million.
The Vikings agreement is written so they can have an MLS team play at the venue and not pay anything more for rent other than the $427 million share of the stadium costs and 50% of the upkeep.