Vikings scratch-off ready to be unveiled

The Vikings and Minnesota State Lottery are pairing up to unveil a scratch-off game with a Vikings theme. However, it isn't viewed a viable primary funding source in the future for a new stadium and the proceeds go directly to the state's general fund and environmental budgets.

On Monday, the Minnesota State Lottery is scheduled to unveil a new scratch-off ticket featuring the Vikings logo, but, for those who are hoping that it is part of a stadium-financing plan, guess again.

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.

SATURDAY NOTES

  • Four Vikings fans who made a pilgrimage to Hattiesburg, Miss. – Todd Glocke, Darin Troffgbruen, Herman Abrams and Diggz Garza (I'm someone who will buy the Vikings scratcher, so I'll put $20 his mama didn't name him Diggz) – made an 1,100-mile run down to the Farm-a-Palooza to let Brett Favre know how much they appreciated what he did in 2009 and that they hope he returns for 2010. The Fab Four showed up at Oak Grove High School Friday morning. Favre arrived shortly thereafter and, following practice, gave his acolytes a 15-minute personal audience

  • From the "Oh, That's Ironic" department comes this: Out in Buffalo, rookie running back C.J. Spiller is getting compared to Percy Harvin (and, to a more realistic comparison) Reggie Bush of the Saints. While there's no reason to wish Spiller any ill will, the last time a highly-propped up rookie was compared to a Viking that had won the Rookie of the Year Award, it was Darren McFadden of the Raiders. He was the next Adrian Peterson. To date, he's been the next Adrian Peterson of Bears vintage, not Vikings.


    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.

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