There is going to be strong competition for a soccer team in Minneapolis, and I believe the area will get a Major League Soccer franchise.
Two groups are in New York City today to try to persuade MLS that Minnesota should get a team. Las Vegas and Sacramento are also trying to be the 24th franchise in that growing league.
The Minnesota groups have different agendas. A group representing the Vikings would have the team play at their new stadium. A group representing Bill McGuire, who runs the Minnesota United; the Twins; and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is also making a pitch. Their group would likely have its team play at a smaller stadium that would be built down by Target Field.
The one negative about pro soccer coming to Minnesota is there already is a market of four professional teams where people buy season tickets for ones they prefer. The soccer boosters claim there will be a market for season tickets for their sport. The question will be if having five popular pro teams would cost one of them as far as season ticket sales goes.
If the team played in the new Vikings stadium, they would cover many of the seats to keep the attendance smaller than it would be at Vikings games. The MLS prefers to have its teams play at outdoor, soccer-only stadiums, however. So that brings up the question of whether building another pro stadium in this city would be feasible, an question McGuire's group must face.
The Vikings have been fairly open about their plans to bring in an MLS team. The other group has been fairly secretive. But I think both groups will have strong bids.
Yes, this is definitely a vibrant major-league sports area. It has been amazing to watch the popularity of all these sports grow over the years. In the 1950s, when the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers were the only team in town, who could have predicted that we’d get an NFL team and that the NFL would become as wildly popular as it has become? And who could have known that the love of hockey by people in this state would enable us to get successful NHL franchises? Or that the Twins would capture the imagination of the fans once they came here in 1961? It has really been amazing to see all this happen during my career.