Vikings say new Ramsey stadium plan unworkable

A Minnesota Vikings spokesman said Friday that team owners don’t

like a new proposal to fund a $1 billion stadium in the Twin Cities

suburbs using ticket fees and other game-related charges.

The latest proposal floated by several Ramsey County

commissioners was meant to replace a previous stadium financing

plan that relied on a county food and liquor sales tax. Instead, it

would draw $20.6 million annually from stadium user fees, an

admissions surcharge, a stadium sales tax and parking lot naming

rights.

The county board said the plan would generate $618 million over

30 years.

Lester Bagley, the Vikings vice president for stadium

development, called the plan problematic. While Vikings owners have

favored the Ramsey County site in the community of Arden Hills over

options in downtown Minneapolis, Bagley said a prior agreement

between the Vikings and Ramsey County hinged on the team receiving

parking revenue and naming rights — and on the condition of no

admissions taxes.

”When you change those things you change the underlying

agreement between the team and the county,” Bagley said. ”We need

to refine it because of those reasons.”

Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett had called the new plan

a ”game changer” after meeting with Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday.

He later acknowledged the Vikings may not like elements of the new

plan.

Dayton did not comment specifically on details of the new plan,

but praised Ramsey County leaders for remaining consistent in their

stadium efforts. He contrasted that with city council members in

Minneapolis, who have been reluctant to throw full support behind a

new stadium there.

”They all sit on the sidelines and carp about everything,”

Dayton said. Later, he added: ”They don’t have … the proper

perspective on what’s best for all of Minneapolis.”

Earlier this week, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission

Chairman Ted Mondale and stadium negotiators unveiled a new plan to

quickly build a new stadium on a parking lot just east of the

Metrodome. So far, stadium supporters in the Legislature have not

put their weight behind any of the numerous stadium proposals

batted around in recent weeks.

Bagley said a decision is far from made.

”The Minneapolis proposal has its share of issues as well,”

Bagley said.

The Vikings have wanted out of the Metrodome for years, calling

the 30-year-old stadium no longer sufficiently profitable compared

to other NFL venues. The team’s lease at the Metrodome expired Feb.

1, and hanging over their new stadium push has been the fear among

fans that the team will leave Minnesota.

Team owner Zygi Wilf has said the Vikings want a new stadium in

the Twin Cities, even if it means building on the current site of

the Metrodome.