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Continued: Big names backing big-time soccer for Minnesota

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 11, 2014 - 11:40 PM

“That’s kind of a rich comment [from] the people who were part of the big stadium debate,” he said of the Bagley’s remarks regarding the Twin Cities’ stadium “appetite.”

“We’re not talking about Vikings stadium money” for a new soccer stadium, Burdine said. He added that the Vikings new stadium and its 65,400 seats will be too large for professional soccer.

Though she said she has not seen details, Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson said she might support a downtown soccer stadium — “if it’s privately funded.” But Johnson added that she would not rule out some type of public financing, and added that “what public involvement means can be a lot of different things.”

Of 14 stadiums built or renovated for MLS teams, two opened in 2012 — in Houston and Montreal. The BBVA Compass Stadium, the new home of the MLS’ Houston Dynamo, seats 22,000 and cost $95 million. While the stadium was privately financed, the city and county purchased the land for the project.

The 20,341-seat Saputo Stadium in Montreal, the home of the Montreal Impact, cost $50 million and included renovation financing from the province of Quebec.

Potential obstacles

There is plenty meanwhile that could dispel a heated competition between McGuire and the Wilfs.

Rogers said the MLS and the North American Soccer League were both expanding, and he said that other major sports — including the National Football League — took final shape only after mergers. Rogers added that some MLS rules, including a complicated $3 million team salary cap, were “challenging.”

Bagley also said that the Vikings agree that the team’s exclusive right to land a MLS franchise exists only at the Vikings’ new stadium. The language, which was inserted in the state’s stadium financing legislation, says that the exclusive right exists for five years after the stadium opens and extends only to anyone whose family owns at least 3 percent of the Vikings and then buys a full or partial share of a major league soccer franchise.

And for now, according to the Twins’ St. Peter, the Twins’ help being given to McGuire consists of only “some level of counsel” regarding playing in a large outdoor stadium. “I think we know a little bit something about marketing, and a little bit something about playing outdoors in the summer,” he said of Target Field, which opened in 2010. “We also [have] gone through a facility development.”

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