Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Vikings to Arden Hills? XXVII - Mostly Lather, Rinse, Repeat

I've written about the Vikings stadium issue rather a lot this year and because so little real news came out of yesterday's kabuki, I almost let it pass without comment. But there are two things that are new, so we return to the topic.

The biggest story is that the Vikings expanded their threat to leave:

Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said the team has heard from two cities seeking an NFL team -- Los Angeles and another he would not identify. "I would let that city speak for themselves,'' Bagley said.
Where would that be? It's difficult to think of a U.S. market other than Los Angeles that isn't currently served. But it's worth remembering that the NFL has long been trying to reach markets outside of the United States. Would you rule out Toronto? Or Mexico City? I wouldn't. It's long been suspected that the Buffalo Bills might move to Toronto some day and it's been an open secret that the NFL would like to establish a base for operations in Canada. And while we often think of Mexico as a complete mess, there's plenty of money in Mexico City.

The second newsworthy piece is that an Ojibwe tribe is offering to get involved if they can get a casino out of the deal:

The committee also heard testimony on benefits and drawbacks of various gambling options and on use of public funds. Erma Vizenor of the White Earth Tribal Council pitched a proposal to build a tribal casino near the new stadium to benefit the tribe and help pay for the stadium.

Politically, this is where it gets interesting. The White Earth band is one of the largest in Minnesota and would love to have a casino closer to the metro area, but the Sioux tribes that operate Mystic Lake and Treasure Island would fight another casino tooth and nail. The metro area tribes give a lot of money to politicians in St. Paul, especially DFLers. That alone likely makes Vizenor's proposal a nonstarter, but it exposes some interesting political fault lines.

Not surprisingly, the Star Tribune buried the ledes in favor of plumping for the non-news aspect of the story, which is that R.T. Agonistes has decided that the Metrodome site is the best bet for a Minneapolis bid. We get the same litany of nonfactors that supposedly benefit the site:

Rybak said the presence of one (and eventually two) light-rail lines at the Metrodome and its lower costs compared to Arden Hills make the current home of the Vikings the best place for a new stadium. Proposals for sites at the farmers market and near the Basilica of St. Mary remain in the running, Rybak said, but will not have the city's official support.

"The bottom line is, we are prepared with existing revenue streams to put $300 million on the table,'' Rybak told senators, who heard 5 1/2 hours of testimony on stadium plans and ways to pay for them. Rybak acknowledged the revenue -- from city liquor, sales and lodging taxes -- is now dedicated to the Minneapolis Convention Center and may not be sufficient in the early years of the stadium project.

He said the Vikings' desire for activities outside the stadium led Minneapolis to consider ways to use the privately owned armory as an "event center field house, the centerpoint of a new game-day experience'' for the team's fans. In addition, he said, unspecified changes along 4th and 5th Streets between the stadium and armory could improve the fan experience.
Again, I point out that the Vikings don't give a damn about light rail and Rybak is still writing checks on other people's accounts, especially concerning the revenue streams. As for the Armory, unless the Vikings and the city can figure out a way to clear $1 million a game from concessions there, which would represent the money the Vikings would give up if they don't get their giant parking lot in Arden Hills, it won't matter.

After two meetings, nothing has really changed. The Vikings want what they want. It's up to Minnesotans to decide if they are willing to pay the price.


Gino said...

let the indians buy the team, put it on their res, and change the name to Ojibwes.

(then wilf can buy it back with a box of trinkets and feathers)

Gerry said...

Can someone explain this??

I can't find the words...