Vikings to pay for new turf, heating at TCF

The Vikings will pay for new turf and a heating element as part of their agreement to play at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium for at least two years.

As part of the Minnesota Vikings' agreement to use TCF Bank Stadium during at least the 2014-15 NFL seasons, the Vikings will pay for new turf and installation of an in-ground heating system.

Those were a couple of the details revealed Thursday in an agreement necessitated by the construction of a new $975 million Vikings stadium. Financial terms of the agreement were also disclosed, and the Vikings will pay the university $300,000 per game, with a maximum of $3 million per season, as well as reimbursing the university for any other capital improvements to TCF Bank Stadium and game-day operational expenses.

The rent will be $250,000 per game and the team will share $50,000 per game in concessions, advertising and sponsorship revenue.

"This partnership benefits the University, its neighbors, the Vikings and all Minnesota football fans," University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler said in a statement. "The Vikings will remain part of the Twin Cities region during construction of their new stadium, while proceeds will be used to enhance Gopher Athletics and invest in the fabric of our surrounding neighborhoods."

Alcohol sales will be allowed during Vikings games, pending Board of Regents approval, and tailgating will be allowed in designated parking lots.

Capital improvements to TCF Bank Stadium include:

  • New turf and "appropriate heating element for the playing surface" to be determined by the Vikings and university officials. When the roof of the Metrodome collapsed in 2010, the Vikings were relegated to play one "home" game at TCF Bank Stadium without those heating elements. Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe was critical of the conditions leading up to the game, and quarterback Brett Favre suffered a concussion when his helmet hit the turf.

  • Installation of heat trace pipe to ensure cold-weather plumbing functionality.

  • Possible temporary seating in the west end zone plaza.

  • Potential modification of the existing video platform to meet NFL broadcast requirements.

  • Installation of additional insulation in various locations of the stadium.

  • Build-out storage space in the stadium.

    The Vikings will also contribute $125,000 per season to a Minnesota Vikings Good Neighbor Partnership Fund that is being created to "implement tangible and visible projects" during the years the Vikings use the stadium.

    Construction of a new $975 million Vikings stadium on the footprint of the current Metrodome stadium is expected to be completed on time for the Vikings to play there in 2016, but the agreement with the university allows for the Vikings to use TCF Bank through the 2017 season, if needed, with proper notification.

    The Vikings will play their final season in the Metrodome in 2013.

    The dual use of TCF Bank Stadium gives priority scheduling to the Minnesota Gophers. The Vikings will be allowed to use The Bank for Saturday and Sunday games when there is not a conflict with a scheduled Gophers football game, and the Vikings can play one weeknight game per season when university classes are not in session with that date being approved by the university.

    "We appreciate the university's commitment to host the Vikings while the new downtown stadium is being constructed," Vikings owner and President Mark Wilf said in a statement. "We look forward to hosting our fans in TCF Bank Stadium in 2014 and 2015."

    The deal is subject to Board of Regents approval, and that body will vote Friday.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.

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