Vikings' Lester Bagley responds to criticism of seat license feesby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
ROCHESTER, Minn. — About 50 people attended a meeting on the Viking stadium design Tuesday in downtown Rochester.
Most of the hour-long conversation centered on design elements for the new stadium ^mdash; whether the roof will be fixed or retractable; how to decrease wait times for women's restrooms; and how to make the future stadium's tailgate lot state-of-the-art.
Speakers included John Hutchings, a principal with the HKS architectural firm; Michele Kelm-Helgen, with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority; and Lester Bagley, Vice President of the Minnesota Vikings.
The meeting's purpose was to solicit design ideas from Vikings fans. Rochestor resident Mike Atkinson asked about the proposed extra fees for season ticket holders.
Atkinson said he has missed one Vikings game in 16 years as a season ticket holder. He supports Dayton's strongly-worded letter to the team.
"As much as Gov. Dayton has tried to get this one thing, just like that, he'll take it away," Atkinson said. "That's respectable. That's honorable. That's the Minnesota talking — a hard person that works for his money.
The Minnesota Vikings say no decision has been made to proceed with plans to shift stadium costs onto fans, after Gov. Mark Dayton criticized the team today for considering extra fees on season ticket holders.
At the meeting, Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said seat licenses are authorized under the bill passed by the Legislature and signed by Dayton. Bagley said the team is exploring all possible avenues to cover its share of a new stadium.
"The opportunity is there, but again, we're in the field to measure the market and determine whether or not this is a product that will fit the market and if so, what levels," Bagley said. "But no decision has been made on any pricing or any product in the new stadium."
He said the team hopes to have a conversation directly with the governor within the next 24 hours.
The state and the city of Minneapolis together are contributing $498 million to the stadium construction and the Vikings are paying the rest of the estimated $975 million cost. Viking's management said they are exploring all possible avenues to cover the team's share of the stadium's cost.
Another meeting is scheduled in Duluth on Nov. 27.