Details of Vikings' new stadium remain

The Vikings are working on finalizing details on their use agreement, which will govern their use of the new stadium, team-owned outlets inside the stadium and revenue splits with the stadium authority.

The Vikings' new stadium design was publicly unveiled with much fanfare three weeks ago in the Guthrie Theater, but details remain, including one critical document: the use agreement between the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

The document will not only govern when the Vikings can use the stadium – they will have it available for some events other than NFL games – but what percentage of revenue they make during their events.

"We've been working hard with the stadium authority on the basic documents – the development agreement and use agreement that govern our use of the stadium. That's a really extremely important negotiation," said Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president of stadium development.

Over the last decade-plus of their 31-year stay in the Metrodome, the Vikings were annually near the bottom of the NFL rankings for in-stadium revenue. That was a major contributor to them being ranked near the bottom of franchise valuation, too.

Now, with more merchandising opportunities, the ability to generate their own parking revenue and a bigger cut of concessions, the Vikings are looking forward to better sources of game-day revenue.

"It's a 30-year commitment, and lease that we had at the Metrodome was not very favorable to the team. It's such an important document and contract that we need to have spent a lot of time in pain-staking detail negotiating the terms of that," Bagley said. "So that's what we've been doing a lot the last several weeks and months and it's kind of coming to a close now so that feels like that's coming together."

The Vikings will get all NFL-related related revenue, but with a $477 million commitment to the stadium, they could also see a cut of other stadium revenue.

The document will also decide which company will be contracted for concessions at the new stadium and be sure that they fulfill a specified number of women and minority employees.

The new 1.6 million square-foot stadium has yet to be named – revenue from the naming rights will help the Vikings fulfill their $477 million commitment to the $975 million project – but it will seat 65,000 and be expandable to 73,000 seats for hosting a future Super Bowl (the Vikings have already submitted an application host one of the Super Bowls from 2018 to 2020).

Also at stake in the use agreement being negotiated: shaping the interior of the stadium, from the locker rooms to the Vikings Hall of Fame to a team store and team-owned restaurant.

"Now we're in the details of designing how big, where – those types of (details), how the suites will build out, make sure that we're ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant," Bagley said. "All those major issues we're going through right now in terms of the development side of the discussion, before we even get to break ground, which will be around Oct. 1."

While the new stadium will seat about the same number of fans for a football game as the Metrodome, the look will be significantly different inside and out. The roof will be the largest clear ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roof in the world and the first on a stadium in the nation, allowing connection to the outdoors from a climate-controlled environment. A plaza on the west side will be more than two acres in size.

Inside, in addition to five pivoting doors that are the largest in the world and will open to the plaza, the seating will be on seven levels, including two general admission concourses with 360-degree circulation and various views into the bowl. The concourse will also feature 1,200 high-definition flat-screen televisions.

All of those features were revealed last month, but now it's down to the details of interior spaces and how the revenues are split.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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