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Vikings, U near agreement on TCF Bank Stadium lease

  • Article by: Richard Meryhew
  • Star Tribune
  • May 9, 2013 - 6:08 AM

The Minnesota Vikings and University of Minnesota have reached a tentative agreement that will allow the NFL team to play at TCF Bank Stadium in 2014 and 2015 while its new downtown Minneapolis venue is built.

The agreement will be presented to the Board of Regents’ Facilities and Operations Committee on Thursday morning and to the full board for approval at its meeting Friday.

Details of the deal were not disclosed Wednesday night.

Lester Bagley, vice president of stadium development for the Vikings, declined to discuss specifics, saying only that the deal, if approved, would address capital improvements to the campus stadium, game-day operational expenses and rent paid by the team to the university.

Regents initially approved a resolution last May that authorized U President Eric Kaler to deliver a nonbinding letter of intent to the Vikings that spelled out some terms of a proposed agreement.

While some details have likely changed, that letter called for the team to pay the university a fixed fee of $250,000 per game and to lease the stadium for up to four seasons, beginning in 2013. It also said the team and the school would split revenue from concessions, sponsorship and advertising, estimated to be about $50,000 per game. The stadium would be available for only Sunday games and one weeknight game per season.

The letter also indicated that the Vikings would reimburse the school for costs associated with winterizing the stadium and preparing it for NFL games. Much of that expense would go toward installing specialized heating coils under the playing field. The team also would pay to install temporary bleacher-style seats in the west end-zone plaza.

The Vikings have since said that the 2013 season will be their last in the Metrodome, which will be razed in early 2014. Groundbreaking on the new stadium is planned for October. The team hopes to open the building in July 2016.

 

Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425

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