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Continued: Three-fourth of new Vikings stadium seats to carry one-time fees

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 4, 2013 - 8:28 PM

Before that can happen, the builder — Mortenson Construction — must deliver a guaranteed maximum construction price. The team will close on its financing shortly thereafter, allowing the state to issue $498 million in bonds to finance the public portion of the project.

Kelm-Helgen said the groundbreaking is planned for mid-November. The team’s current home, the Metrodome, will be razed early next year after the current NFL season ends.

The Vikings will play the 2014 and 2015 seasons at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium. The new stadium will open by the 2016 season.

The lease agreement calls for the team to rent space for 30 years with an option to renew for up to an additional 20 years. The Vikings will pay the authority $8.5 million annually in rent and $1.5 million annually for capital improvements.

They also will pay all gameday expenses, with the authority capturing advertising, rental and club space revenue from all non-NFL events.

The Vikings, meanwhile, will get revenue from stadium and plaza naming rights, sponsorships and advertisements, and concessions and ticket sales. Naming rights alone could generate more than $5 million annually.

The team can play up to three home games outside the United States in the first 15 years of the agreement and up to three more in the 15 years after that.

A financial audit

The agreements also call for the team to pick up a good chunk of the cost of an extensive legal and financial audit of team owners Zygi, Mark and Leonard Wilf that was ordered by the authority after a New Jersey judge ruled in August that the Wilfs had defrauded business partners in a real estate deal.

Kelm-Helgen said the team has agreed to pay $219,000 of a $377,000 bill. The rest will come from the stadium project as part of its normal “due diligence” of the owners, she said.

Even before ground is broken, however, the stadium budget is strained.

“We’ve had to cut some things already out of the building,” Kelm-Helgen said, adding that in pricing the cost to build a first-class venue, some of the extras were more expensive than anticipated.

She said the Vikings have pledged to advance $13.1 million to cover the cost of “adding back in” items that have been cut.

“We want to make sure we have that first-class facility,” said Don Becker, who helped negotiate for the Vikings. “We know there are things that we want to include in this building and we consider them ‘must-haves.’ ”

Frills the team doesn’t want to lose: state-of-the-art video boards and premium space for clubs and areas where fans can congregate.

Shortly after the authority approved the agreements, more than a half dozen citizens addressed the board to criticize the deal. One, Minneapolis mayoral candidate Jeff Wagner, threw his shoes on the table in disgust, saying, “This is fricking ridiculous, man.”

Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Lindstrom, a longtime stadium financing critic, also delivered harsh words, saying the board approved the agreements before the public had a chance to comment.

“I think that should make Minnesotans very angry,” he said. “It makes me very angry.”

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  • Gov. Mark Dayton was opposed to seat fees, but he acknowledged Thursday that “that’s the business of professional football.”

  • Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen talked about the final agreements for the Vikings stadium during a press conference in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday, October 3, 2013. At her left is Ted Mondale, executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

  • Governor Mark Dayton spoke about the stadium during a press conference in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday, October 3, 2013. ] (RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER • reneejones@startribune.com)

  • Ted Mondale, executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority talked about the final agreements for the Vikings stadium during a press conference in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday, October 3, 2013. At right is Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen . ] (RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER • reneejones@startribune.com)

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