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As Vikings Stadium Bill Goes up for Vote on Monday So Does Minnesota’s Chance for MLS Team

2012 May 7
by Brian Quarstad

Vikings cancel meeting with MLS Commissioner Don Garber to focus on the stadium bill.

(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.

13 Responses
  1. El Padre permalink
    May 7, 2012

    For the life of me, I don’t understand why these people don’t put their money where their mouth is and buy the Stars to show they are serious about soccer. Otherwise, it seems their interest in the MLS is only superficial and simply an attempt to garner more votes by broadening the appeal of their stadium proposal. Just a handful of owners like the Wilfs could transform the NASL into a “elite” second division like England or Germany instead of simply being viewed as “the minor leagues”.

  2. depetrou permalink
    May 7, 2012

    I’ve asked my representative to vote NO on stadium today. The Vikings soccer vision is vague at best. Picture five years from now, going to a MLS game inside on a July Saturday night. Sorry, didn’t do it for the Twins and won’t do it for the MLS. Soccer is meant for the outside.

  3. May 7, 2012

    And what if the Vikings were willing to put on a retractable roof?

  4. depetrou permalink
    May 7, 2012

    That’s what I mean “what if’s” should be identified and addressed now before it’s too late. Sorry I’ll take D2 soccer in Blaine any day or MLS inside the dome. Great work as always Brain!


  5. May 7, 2012

    Retractable roof would be the dream. Fingers crossed that eventually happens. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a chance to watch MLS in July.

    Here’s a quote from Don Garber about the whole winter calendar controversy. He knows people will stay home when it’s bad weather. I’m ok with removing that excuse:

    “When we have a league that could play in rain, snow, sleet, or sunshine, and have a fan base that cares enough about their clubs to come out regardless of weather, then we’ll be able to adjust to a schedule that will [be in sync] with the world calendar. But I keep hearing that the NFL has people coming out in the snow. I say, “Well, that’s great. When we’re the NFL, we can play in Montreal in February.”

  6. Evan Williams permalink
    May 7, 2012

    A $398 million tax on the stupid (gambling)? There could be no more regressive form of tax than gambling. Make it more accessible and the social ills of the poor, or soon to be poor, increase, at a cost to later be absorbed by the taxpayers.

  7. May 7, 2012

    “For the life of me, I don’t understand why these people don’t put their money where their mouth is and buy the Stars to show they are serious about soccer.”

    Because there’s absolutely no need for them to do this, their MLS bid doesn’t depend on them having a second division team, and they don’t need to show someone who’s a thousand miles away that they’re “serious about soccer.”

    That’s why.

  8. Soccer Boy permalink
    May 8, 2012

    Kudos the Speaker Zellers for getting the votes in the House and not playing partisan games.

  9. Proper Football permalink
    May 8, 2012

    MLS should say NO to having a team play in an NFL venue. The MLS has evolved past having their clubs playing in non soccer facilities. Unless the Minnesota club would have plans within the next 5 years to build a soccer specific stadium in Minnesota than expansion should be awarded to Orlando City and than the NY Cosmos in Manhattan.

  10. May 8, 2012

    @Proper Football.

    See: Seattle Sounders.

  11. el duderino permalink
    May 8, 2012

    The amount of taxpayer subsidies for this boondoggle are sickening. It’s a disgrace.

    D2 soccer is better than average joe getting taken to the cleaners to benefit the billionaire owner of the vikings.

  12. Yankiboy permalink
    May 8, 2012

    @jUSTIN: I don’t have a horse in this race but I gotta give you MAD PROPS for giving Mr. Proper Football a helpful reminder of the MLS reality. Seattle, in deed.

  13. Yankiboy permalink
    May 8, 2012

    @@Proper Football: The mere mention of those New York Cosmos cracks me up–seeing as how they aren;t even fielding a PDL cub right now.

    I do like how you slid Orlando City up ahead of them on your MLS expansion list (seeing as how the Southeastern “OC” actaully plays games that real people make the effort to attend–ya know–unlike the New York Retros)…

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