Thursday, January 12, 2012

Vikings to Arden Hills? XXXII - Artificial Deadline Day

Boy howdy, the excitement is building in the Capitol, because today is the day it gets decided:
Minneapolis and Ramsey County hurriedly retooled competing plans Wednesday to build a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, although both appeared to have continuing flaws. Meanwhile a sudden, last-minute bid from Shakopee could complicate the race. Racing to meet a 5 p.m. Thursday deadline set by Gov. Mark Dayton, city and county officials said they expected to work nearly up to the deadline. As many as five locations -- including three in Minneapolis -- are in play.
Shakopee? Yes, Shakopee. Scott County. Closer, in some cases, to the ticket-buying base than Arden Hills is. And they do have the land for parking. So, whaddya say, Vikings?
The Vikings, meanwhile, say they still prefer a $1.1 billion stadium in Ramsey County's Arden Hills, and brushed aside Wednesday's proposal by Shakopee officials to build a $920 million stadium in Scott County backed by racino money.
Of course they do. Nothing has really changed, because the Vikings want the big score, which is the development potential in Arden Hills. Real estate developers like real estate they can develop. That's what you get in Arden Hills. A few comments are in order:

  • If anyone tells you, and that includes the Vikings, that this is about building a "people's stadium" for the benefit of the State of Minnesota, they are lying. It's never been the case.
  • Beyond the lack of development potential, the main reason the Vikings haven't been all that interested in the Metrodome site is that they need the Metrodome, as it is currently configured, to remain operational while their new palace is built. Why is that? The Vikings may not want to play in the Metrodome long-term, but they can live with it for now. The Vikings would lose money, rather a lot of it, if they have to play at TCF Bank Stadium for a 2-4 years. And while we are throwing around huge numbers for costs, there's a difference between a capital budget and an operating budget. If the Vikes had to play at TCF, it would hurt their current operating receipts. That is precisely why the Vikings released the letter on Tuesday that outlines those issues. They have to be polite for the moment, but they have no intention of taking a multi-year haircut.
  • Every site in consideration assumes income that likely won't be available. I don't see the Ramsey County food/beverage tax plan getting anywhere. While racino is a possibility, it's hardly a slam dunk. The tribes that are making the money on gambling now don't want to take a haircut, either, and they have plenty of friends in the Lege. And the three-card monte game that Minneapolis officials are playing won't ever produce the revenue they claim it will.
  • Because of these factors, we need to be up front -- the state would likely end up paying both the supposed "state" portion and whatever "local" funding source is involved. So you can assume that the overall cost to the state, at any location, is going to be around $750 million. You can ask the Vikings to make up the overage, but you can also ask to be named King of Portugal. Neither request is likely to get a favorable response.
  • You may not have noticed this, but the San Diego Chargers announced that they are staying in San Diego for the 2012 season. The Chargers are, along with the Vikings, the most likely potential team to consider a move to Los Angeles. The Vikings haven't said where they will be.
So that's the question folks. Same question it's always been. What are the Vikings worth to you? Do you give them what they want, or do you let them walk? Okay, that's two questions. We need to answer both. We don't need to answer today, but we do need to answer it soon.


Anonymous said...

I vote for compromise. Find a way to fund the stadium that doesn't involve MORE revenue to the state, or more state spending. That means no new taxes and no racino/casino. Or at least get it down to some reasonable number, like say $92 million. That's about $15 apiece from each of us and more than reasonable. The rest can come from tax breaks for the Vikes, or the "cultural money" or from giving them the Dome or all of the above. All of these solutions have the benefit of getting the government (and taxpayers) further OUT of the Vikings business, not further in. If that isn't good enough (and a little simple calculation says it IS) then DLTDHYOTWO.

J. Ewing

Mr. D said...

I'll put you down for DLTDHYOTWO, JE. Because the Vikes don't want to do what's sensible.

Night Writer said...

Shakopee is amusing. I believe there is only one artery running between Shakopee and the metro, as anyone who has sat in traffic trying to get to Valleyfair, the Ren Fest or Canterbury can attest. Adding a Vikings game-day crowd to that would make you chose the highway running between Kuwait and Iraq at the end of the first Gulf War as an alternate route.

Gino said...

the Chargers, from what i've read, will never move to los angeles. the owner is anti-LA. he's a san diego guy.

i've suggested moving the Chargers to north san diego county, near camp pendleton. this would take in a lot of the unofficial LA customer base, and successfully market to the OC, since OC folks do NOT like to be thought of as part of LA.

also, the Raiders annouced in tha last day or two that they need a new stadium last week, and LA is looking good to them.

First Ringer said...

The Raiders make a lot of sense as a fan base remains in LA, despite the increasing number of years that have passed since they left.

Having two teams in the Bay area isn't viable in NFL terms - the teams make money, but could make more in LA. And with Mark Davis reporting firing anyone in the Raiders organization who was tied to his father ("abusive" would be the kindest word to describe Mark's relationship to Al), a move to Los Angeles could be seen as the logical endgame.

The local angle to that outcome might be to ask what Zgyi would do if the LA option became moot.

Mr. D said...

Gino and FR,

I agree that it would make more sense for the Raiders to move to Los Angeles than the Vikings. However, they have a lease that doesn't expire until 2013. The Vikings? Well, they can leave now.

FR asks:

The local angle to that outcome might be to ask what Zgyi would do if the LA option became moot.

My guess? Sell the team. He'd probably end up doing that anyway if he gets involved with the proposal in L.A. as it sits right now. Hence the push.

Bike Bubba said...

Shakopee would be insane. The only significant highway going that way is 169, capable of bringing about 3000 cars per hour to the site.

Gonna take a long time to get 50,000 or more fans there, don't ya think? When I was growing up, the word was to not even bother going along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago on home game Sundays--and there are a lot of other ways to get to Soldier's Field than that ten lane artery. And you can't take the El to Shakopee, either.

There are dumber ideas than the Queens in Shakopee, but not too many come to mind.