Fifteen miles from Winter Park, two State Senate committees will convene a joint hearing in St. Paul to discuss funding options for a new stadium. Among the options to be discussed are multiple gaming possibilities, a sales tax on sports memorabilia, Legacy Fund options, ticket surcharges and income tax from players being earmarked to pay the state's portion of the stadium.
The Vikings met with officials from the City of Minneapolis Monday, which was a strong recommendation coming from the Senate after the first hearing last week that focused on the site for a new stadium. Minneapolis has promoted three possible sites, but the Wilf family has made it clear they strongly prefer the Arden Hills stadium site and, at this point, have little interest in any of the Minneapolis sites.
Ramsey County is expected to present a comprehensive breakdown as to how the county will come up with its local share of its proposed stadium. The county isn't expected to raise property taxes and the county-exclusive sales tax option appears dead in the water as well.
One option that is likely to be brought up today is seat licensing – a popular money-making option used for other stadiums. Under seat licensing, season ticket holders pay a one-time fee to reserve their seats in the new stadium – a figure that in other cities has ranged from $500 to $10,000 per seat.
The hearings are likely to be somewhat contentious because there are strong feelings among some legislators to have no state money involved and there are just as many who will do whatever they can to prevent the expansion of gambling in the state, as well as those who will fight tooth and nail to prevent a stadium from dipping into the Legacy Fund pool.
Last month's meetings on the viability of the different sites was only a precursor to today's meeting, which will actually delve into how the stadium will be paid for, if approved.
It's a slow day at Winter Park today, but may be the most important day the organization has had in years and could go a long way to finally determining whether a stadium gets done and whether the Vikings remain in Minnesota.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.