Minnesota Vikings Stadium Bill Passes State House, Moves on to Senate
Soccer fans who dream of Major League Soccer coming to Minnesota may have gotten one step closer to that reality on Monday evening. It took over 8 hours of grueling debate in the Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday, but around 11:00 p.m. last night the Vikings Stadium plan was finally passed.
The 73-58 vote was taken after numerous amendments were discussed and voted on. The biggest tack on to the bill was an amendment that relieves the State of Minnesota of $105 million of their financial obligation and adds that to the $427 million the Vikings had already agreed upon.
The $975 million stadium will have a non-retractable roof and will seat 65,000. $150 million of the stadium costs will come from existing Minneapolis sales and hospitality taxes and $293 million from electronic charitable gambling.
After much debate concerning charitable gambling estimates and their lack of reliability, amendments were added that would “kick in” if there was a state shortfall. They would include a tax on luxury boxes, revenue from the Vikings-themed lottery game, an extension of Minneapolis Convention Center taxes, excess Hennepin County taxes from the Minnesota Twins stadium and an admissions tax.
The Vikings also lost the exclusive naming rights in another amendment. That will now be split between the team and the state.
Other add-ons to the bill include an amendment that guarantees that 25% of construction equipment used in the building of the stadium comes from Minnesota companies and that the Vikings will now be responsible for all cost overruns.
The Major League Soccer portion of the House bill was discussed briefly in yesterday’s debate. The bill currently allows the Vikings exclusive right of first refusal with the State of Minnesota to purchase an MLS team within 5 years of the Vikings’ first game in the new stadium. The Vikings would not have to pay rent for the use of that stadium for MLS dates.
The Vikings’ Vice President of Public Affairs Lester Bagley has previously stated that the team has had talks with MLS and is interested in bringing a team to Minnesota to play in the new stadium.
Bagley told the Star Tribune last week that the Wilfs, who own the Vikings, postponed a scheduled meeting last week with MLS commissioner Don Garber in order to monitor the stadium bill going through the Minnesota legislative process.
The stadium bill, which still has many hurdles to clear, is expected to get to the State Senate today which convenes at 9:00 a.m.