The Big Story Blog

The Big Story Blog: March 1, 2012 Archive

Thursday 3/01/2012
Accord reached on plan for new Vikings stadium

Posted at 5:34 AM on March 1, 2012 by Jon Gordon
Filed under: Hed

State officials apparently have struck a long-awaited deal for a new Vikings stadium in Minneapolis. We'll find out the details this morning at a 9 a.m. announcement.

LIVE: Vikings stadium deal announcement

Posted at 8:50 AM on March 1, 2012 by Jon Gordon
Filed under: Politics, Sport

An end game, finally, in the Vikings stadium debate?

Posted at 7:41 AM on March 1, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Sport

Hard to believe? You bet. But Vikings owners, state lawmakers and Minneapolis officials will announce a deal this morning to build a new football stadium.

It's basically a variation on the most recent plan: Build it next to the Metrodome, where the Vikings would continue to play while the new structure goes up; then tear down the Metrodome and let the Vikes play at the University of Minnesota football stadium for a season until the new facility is complete.

"All the players were in the room... You'll see the details tomorrow morning," stadium bill sponsor Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, told reporters last night as she left the governor's office Wednesday evening. "It's a good package, and we can't wait to unveil it. It's time."

Cynics will note we've been here before with politicians telling us a deal's at hand. But the public financing part of a new Vikings stadium has always been controversial -- and that's still there. It still faces roadblocks at the Legislature and at the Minneapolis City Council.

We'll get the deal details at 9 a.m. Push aside the plans and the hoopla and the question that's dogged the Vikings project from the start will still be there: Do you have the votes to spend the public's money?

Understand the Vikes stadium deal in one document

Posted at 10:25 AM on March 1, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Sport

Here's the quickest breakdown of the new Vikings stadium deal. It comes from Gov. Mark Dayton's office.

Vikings Stadium Financials

Vikings Metrodome Stadium Site

Vikes plan vs Lucas Oil Stadium: Best public deal?

Posted at 11:00 AM on March 1, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Sport

Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority

Backers of the newest Vikings stadium deal today said Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is the model for what they want to build in downtown Minneapolis.

Whether you like the Vikings plan or not, there's no doubt what's been laid out here is a sweeter public financing deal than what Indiana agreed to with the Indianapolis Colts when it built Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened in 2008.

Indiana officials put the cost of Lucas Oil at $720 million. According to the stadium authority:

It was financed with funds raised jointly by the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis, with the Indianapolis Colts providing $100 million.

Marion County raised taxes for food and beverage sales, auto rental taxes, innkeeper's taxes and admission taxes for its share of the costs. Meanwhile, a small increase in food and beverage taxes in six surrounding counties and the sale of Colts license plates completes the total.

So the team came up with about 14 percent of the building costs.

Under the new Vikings plan, a stadium will cost $975 million up front to build, with the Vikings committed to $427 million, or about 44 percent of the cost.

Comparing financing deals on the newest NFL stadiums

Posted at 11:34 AM on March 1, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Sport

A blog that follows the Houston Texans football team pulled together some nice capsules last year on the public-private financing deals of the newest NFL stadiums.

Today's Vikings proposal would call on the team to provide 44 percent of the $975 million construction cost and just over half the total cost of funding and future operation.

Here the capsules from Battle Red Blog

New York Jets/New York Giants (2010)
Stadium cost: $1.6 billion
Percentage of public financing: 0%
$300 million was provided by the NFL, under a program the league had to help teams build stadiums. The program no longer exists. The stadium will make the two franchises the most lucrative in football. Although public money was not specifically used, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is stuck with $100 million in debt on the old stadium. The stadium is built on public land.

Dallas Cowboys (2009)
Stadium cost: $1.2 billion
Percentage of public financing: 28.6%
The city of Arlington's sales tax was raised by a half-cent, the hotel occupancy tax was raised by 2 percent and a car rental tax was increased by 5 percent. The NFL contributed $150 million towards the stadium.

Indianapolis Colts (2008)
Cost: $720 million
Percentage of public financing: 86%
Marion County hotel tax increases to 9 percent from 6 percent. This is on top of the 6 percent state sales tax. Marion County car rental tax doubled to 4 percent. The county doubled its food and beverage tax to 2 percent. Neighboring suburban counties implemented 1 percent restaurant taxes. A surcharge on tickets was increased by 1 percent.

Arizona Cardinals (2007)
Cost: $455 million
Percentage of public financing: 67.7%
$298.5 million of the tab is provided by the Arizona Tourism and Sports Authority and $102 million from taxes on hotel beds and rental cars. Each ticket has a $4.25 surcharge. The city of Glendale provided $9.5 million.

Philadelphia Eagles (2003)
Cost: $474 million
Percentage of public financing: 40%
The stadium is owned by the city.

Houston Texans (2002)
Cost: $424 million
Percentage of public financing: 73%
The Houston City Council waived taxes on the stadium as part of a financing plan. Hotel occupancy and car rental taxes were earmarked for use by the sports authority, which also agreed to provide loans (at future taxpayer expense) to the team. A ticket tax (10%, not to exceed $2) and parking tax was also imposed.

Denver Broncos (2001)
Cost: $365 million
Percentage of public financing: 68.4%
A six-county sales tax of .1% that was used to build the baseball stadium for the Colorado Rockies was increased after the measure was approved by voters.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2001)
Stadium cost: $357.5 million
Percentage of public funding: 78.7%
The stadium was funded as part of a package that also provided new facilities for the city's hockey and baseball teams. A county hotel tax contributes about 10% of the annual financing cost of construction bonds. A 5% surcharge was added to tickets, a 1% wage tax was levied on players who don't live in the city, the state provided matching funds.

Cleveland Browns (1999)
Stadium cost: $290 million
Percentage of public funding: 74.7%
Cleveland recently refinanced $132 million in bonds. The city owns the stadium and leases it to the Browns for $250,000. The public financing was conducted through the sale of bonds.

Digging into the Vikings stadium detail

Posted at 1:27 PM on March 1, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Sport

Below is the "Overview of Stadium Development and Operating Terms" on the proposed Vikings stadium. It's the detail on how the deal is supposed to work.

Here's some interesting stuff. Take a look below and tell us what you find.

Dome? Fixed roof (with an option to modify to a Retractable roof without any increase to the funding provided by State or City). Sheet says a retractable dome would add $25 million to the cost.

Public Money? State of Minnesota appropriations bonds and "other funding sources" totaling $548 million, repaid largely from money generated through the City of Minneapolis "Convention Center Taxes" ($150 million) and expansion of State authorized charitable gaming to include electronic "Pullā€tab" and other allowable gaming (supporting approximately $398 million in financing).

Cost overruns? Stadium authority (i.e., the public) is responsible for cost overruns associated with development of the stadium project

Seats? Approximately 65,000 (expandable to 72,000). Approximately 150 suites and 7,500 club seats

Stadium Sheet

Can pull tabs really deliver for Vikings stadium?

Posted at 2:44 PM on March 1, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Sport

State officials say the expansion of charitable electronic pull tabs will pay off the $398 million state chunk of public financing for a new Vikings stadium.

But it's far from a sure bet how long it would take for pull tabs to generate that kind of cash.

MPR News reporter Elizabeth Dunbar dug into this issue in November. She wrote:

The Department of Revenue estimated electronic pull tabs could bring in up to $42.7 million annually in taxes from the sale of the games once the devices are installed in 3,500 bars and social clubs throughout the state. Dayton said that money could be used to pay off the debt if the state borrows money to contribute to the new stadium.

But the estimate is based on a series of assumptions that are only loosely linked to hard data.

That's because no other state has a system like the one that would be proposed in Minnesota, so state officials had to combine whatever data was available from the state's own experience with paper pull tabs with limited information on electronic gambling ventures in other states.

Big Story Blog took a run at the issue as well in November after Gov. Mark Dayton expressed his support for the idea.

Again, the issue was how much the pull tabs would bring in. Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, introduced a bill last year on electronic pull tabs. But he expected the state to see only about $20 million a year.

Dayton today said the electronic pull tab plan was the only politically palatable path for state financing.

But if the pull tab plan only brings in $20 million a year for the stadium, will it be enough to cover the annual debt service on the bonds?

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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