The Vikings re-launched their stadium initiative website MinnesotaMomentum.com Tuesday – a site that incorporates a front-and-center of Brett Favre, a photo of three young Vikings fans and an artist's conception of how the new stadium would look in downtown Minneapolis.
The Favre factor comes into play with the acknowledgement that the Vikings are only scheduled to play 20 more preseason and regular-season games in the Metrodome. The family component comes from pointing out that half of Minnesota's 5 million residents either listened to, watched or attended games last year, saying that a new facility would assure the next generation of fans that the Vikings will remain a fixture in the Minnesota landscape. The third component was the economic impact, pointing out construction estimate numbers that claim the construction of the stadium would involved 7,500 construction jobs and have a sub-contractor value (money that would be funneled back into the local economy) of $754 million.
The website has been alternately active and inactive as the ebbs and flows of the stadium discussion have gone on over the past several years. The Twins and Gophers have both found new stadiums without a push from the State Legislature – Target Field was funded by a Hennepin County tax and TCF Bank Stadium was funded primarily out of booster contributions.
The tenor of the stadium discussion has taken an optimistic upturn in recent months. Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has long maintained no public money should be used to subsidize a stadium, has seemingly softened on that stance – saying that creative ways could be used to help fund the proposed $900 million stadium.
The Metrodome is the second oldest un-refurbished stadium in the NFL. Of the NFL's 32 teams, 28 of them have built either new stadiums or made significant renovations since 1992. One topic brought up is using the Vikings as part of a state lottery ticket, which had helped pay for new stadiums in Baltimore and Seattle.
The website points out that the Twins paid 30 percent of the construction cost of Target Field. The Vikings have said they would pledge 33 percent of the cost – estimated at more than $300 million – to build the new stadium. Despite two of the other three teams in the division playing in older stadiums (Lambeau Field and Soldier Field), the Metrodome generates about $30 million less in revenue than the others. Lambeau Field and Soldier Field have undergone significant renovations to make them more profitable. As pointed out here several times, the Vikings pay approximately $18 million each year in state and local taxes. If a new stadium is built, that number would exceed $26 million a year. The Metrodome, which cost just under $55 million to build ($33 million of public dollars) has generated more than $300 million in tax revenue.
For years, the problem has been largely at the state level. With the clock ticking down inside of two years until the Vikings' lease at the Metrodome expires, it is hoped the grass roots effort to get a new stadium done will be the push needed to finally get a new stadium approved and make sure the Vikings remain part of the Minnesota fabric for decades to come.
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.