I've been very passive on the Minnesota Vikings stadium situation. The Vikings are still playing in Minnesota, the moving trucks aren't driving away, and I'll just wait and see what happens. But a new stadium bill is expected to be unveiled next week.
Former Governor Pawlenty didn't come through for the Vikings in 2010, but new Governor Dayton is pushing for a stadium bill from the legislature this year. The Vikings lease is up in 2011, and they now have a Governor working hard for them, but there are still a lot of details to be worked out.
First, according to Kevin Seifert, the Vikings won't commit to anything until after a new labor agreement is reached. That's not a long-term problem, but it does create some short-term uncertainty. Second, the state probably has to come up with $527 million (the current cost details haven't been released yet), but basically it's $2 public dollars for every $1 from the Vikings/NFL. The money might come from an additional sales tax, which are never popular. And third, they don't know where they are going to build it.
All of that could be sorted out, but those are big items to resolve. Politicians can lose their jobs when they vote for sales tax increases to build a stadium, as it happened in Wisconsin to former Senator Petak. And not just the state politicians, but the local ones who are going to have to come up with time and money for the site selection.
And the money thing bothers me. When I covered the Super Bowl, one of the worst parts was listening to Jerry Jones's press conference. He brought up the subject of stadium cost, and he was proud of the fact that he ran up the costs on Cowboys stadium in his vain quest to make it the best. And just like in Minnesota, he wasn't spending his own money to do it.
This one is up to Minnesota and their fans. Power to them if they want to fight and pay for a new stadium to keep their team, otherwise L.A. might be calling, but they aren't going to get a good deal out of this.