Thursday, May 12, 2011

Vikings to Arden Hills? VI -- Sid Reads the Tea Leaves

You'll recall the other day that we commented at some length about the opposition that nonagenarian sports columnist Sid Hartman offered about the Arden Hills site that the Vikings want for their new stadium. Having said all that, it's worth recognizing that Sid is a realist. In his column for today, Sid serves as a microphone for the Vikings, especially for those who haven't been listening carefully:

I spent a long time with the Vikings owner and Lester Bagley, the team vice president of public affairs and stadium development, on Wednesday as those meetings were going on, and I am familiar with many people working on the project. There is no doubt that Wilf was very upset that the city of Minneapolis' $895 million stadium proposal by R.T. Rybak was announced to the media before the Vikings.
But that's not all:

This is another case where city officials tried to destroy a pro sports team like they did with the North Stars and the Lakers, and they came close to killing this one. I'm positive Wilf will not negotiate with any other site unless the current Ramsey County deal falls apart. And Wilf is determined to get it through the Legislature.
I'm pretty sure Sid has sussed this out properly. Minneapolis cannot offer what the Wilfs want. In fact, there was only place in Hennepin County that really provides the same potential as Arden Hills. That is Brooklyn Center, specifically the area where the largely derelict Brookdale Mall sits. That site never was a real contender, though, since Hennepin County is tapped out.

The folks in Minneapolis may not want to hear it, but they have no shot to land the Vikings. But I would take it a step further than Sid does -- I am also increasingly convinced that if the Arden Hills site gets scuttled, the Vikings will be strongly inclined to leave town entirely.

Minneapolis can scuttle the deal. It won't take much to do it, given the visible lack of support for action on the matter in this legislative session. Folks do need to understand that while Sid Hartman has been an alarmist more than once in his long career, he's also seen this movie before. Zygmunt Wilf is not Carl Pohlad. He has no real ties to this region. The hour is a lot later than people realize.


Anonymous said...

Face it, the most important thing is keeping the Vikings in Minnesota. If they move, the alternatives are not favorable. Can you imagine any hearty football loving Viking Fan being forced to consider becoming a Packer Fan?

jerrye92002 said...

So are you really willing to sink gobs of taxpayer cash into this boondoggle? I mean, if it was a good investment WITHOUT the taxpayer money, wouldn't real investors like the Wilfs be clamoring to get on board? It's only profitable because 2/3 of the tab is coming from US! Heck, even I could make a good investment out of THAT.

Mr. D said...


Am I willing to personally? No. I've opposed this thing all along.

In this series, I've writing about what I see happening and offering how I think it will play out.

Your point about real investors is a good one, although I'd say this -- Zygi Wilf, like nearly all NFL owners, isn't looking for a partner so much as he's looking for someone to give him a barn to milk his cash cow.