Vikes games may bring $3M a year to U of M

  • Article by: MARY LYNN SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 11, 2012 - 12:05 AM

The University of Minnesota could get a $3 million annual bump for allowing the Minnesota Vikings to play at TCF Bank Stadium while their new home is being built.

The university's Board of Regents is expected to vote Friday on a letter of intent that allows the Vikings to rent the Bank and share concession revenues with the U.

State lawmakers finalized a deal Thursday to build a $1 billion stadium on the site of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign bill next week.

"The university has always wanted to be a good partner with the Vikings so they remain in Minnesota," said U of M General Counsel Mark Rotenberg.

Under the agreement, the Vikings will pay the university a fixed fee of $250,000 each game. In addition, the Vikings and university will split money that comes in from concessions, sponsorship and advertising, likely amounting to about $50,000 a game. That plus the rent means the university will take in about $300,000 a game or $3 million over the course of a 10-game NFL season.

The Vikings may lease the university stadium for up to four consecutive NFL seasons, likely starting in 2013, or may play at the Bank for all or part of one NFL season, which likely would be in 2015. The university stadium would be available for only Sunday games and one weeknight game per season.

The Vikings agreed to reimburse the university for the changes needed for the stadium, including specialized heating coils under the playing surface and the addition of temporary bleacher-style seats in the western end zone plaza and other expenses.

Under new legislation approved this spring, the U was allowed to sell alcohol at Gopher games as long as consumption by those in the general seats be restricted to a "beer garden."

But during Vikings games, alcohol will be available throughout the stadium, Rotenberg said.

University officials haven't decided how they will spend the additional $3 million a year but it likely will be used for intercollegiate athletic programs.

Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788

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