The Vikings will offer their brand logo to the lottery game on a one-year trial basis. While proposals have been floated out potentially linking participation in the state lottery as a way to help finance a new stadium, Tony Saucier, who works in public relations with the state lottery, said that the mechanism by which lottery funds are dispersed remain the same.
"Just like all other lottery games, there are state laws in place to where and how the proceeds are dispersed," Saucier said. "The proceeds are earmarked to go to critical environmental projects and the state's general fund. There is no plan in place to have a lottery scratch game that would direct funds to a project like a new stadium."
The deal the Vikings made comes in the second-year of a policy adopted by the NFL for preliminary exposure to state lotteries offering their team brands as a selling point for a specific scratch-off ticket. It has become a growing revenue source for teams, including the Packers, Cowboys, Browns, Bengals, Patriots, Ravens and Redskins – all of which signed up in 2009.
The Vikings didn't get involved last year because they couldn't reach an agreement with the Minnesota State Lottery on a mutually acceptable contract. Under the current deal, the Vikings get $193,000 for the use of their team brand and receive a royalty payment when the sales of the lottery ticket exceed $9 million. But there is a reciprocity for the lottery as well.
"It wasn't just a simple trade-off where we just got the name," said Dale McDonald, general counsel for the state lottery. "As part of the agreement, we got advertising on the Vikings website, two 30-second spots on the KFAN broadcasts, TV spots during the preseason games – when teams have control over the commercial content – and spots on ‘Vikings Weekly' and ‘Vikings Game Plan.' We also got eight season tickets and tickets for the road game at Green Bay. It was something that we feel was beneficial for both sides."
McDonald said that the agreement between the Vikings and the Minnesota State Lottery is one that should prove profitable for both sides. If the Vikings are to get a stadium solution in Minnesota, using the state lottery likely isn't a viable solution. It may be used to augment costs, but as a sole solution, it hasn't held water yet.
"It's been tried," McDonald said. "They tried that in (the State of) Washington with their two stadiums and in Maryland that the cost of bonding that is required just wasn't there to do it. That would be a tough way for (Minnesota) to try to get a stadium deal."
While Vikings fans that play scratch-off tickets will be sure to give the Vikings ticket a try – is there a better hunch play? – it shouldn't be perceived as a stadium solution. The pressure heading into the 2011 Legislative session isn't lessened. The Vikings are simply finding what revenue rivulets (they can't really be viewed as full-fledged streams in NFL terms) are available to them at Mall of American Field underneath the Metrodome.
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.