The expectation is that U.S. Bank will be the name sponsor for the new Vikings stadium, which will be good advertising for that institution, although it will not prevent me from going with these preferred choices:
1-The Taj Ma Zygi, in honor of the team owner who will have a franchise worth $2 billion plus the day it opens; and 2-The Avian Abattoir, in requiem for all the migrating birds that are going to die so that the stadium’s front window can be fully luminous.
I’ve gone off the deep end a couple of times with the Vikings’ demands to control not only the stadium – which their lapdogs at the Stadium Authority have permitted – but also in the surrounding area.
Minneapolis is investing $309 million in construction and operation costs in the new stadium, and that figure will reach $678 million with interest over a 30-year period.
One bonus for downtown was when Ryan Cos. was able to make a deal with Wells Fargo for a pair of towers (on former Star Tribune property) that will bring thousands of workers to the eastern portion of downtown.
In late July, Lester Bagley, the Vikings’ charge de demands when it comes to stadium issues, went to the now-disbanded Stadium Implementation Committee and complained that the Wells Fargo towers would take away tailgating options.
Yeah, I flipped out. In fact, that might have been when I broke out the Les Wants More nickname for Bagley. Knowing the Vikings, they probably got some more parking spots out of the deal, but the fact Bagley had the audacity to mention tailgating in the same sentence as a Wells Fargo project will mean a whole lot more to downtown on a daily basis than the Taj Ma Zygi … unbelievable.
Sure enough, Les Wants More was back whining in December 2013, that signage requested by Wells Fargo could have a negative impact on the team’s efforts to sell naming rights for the stadium.
OK, this time I basically went nuts, describing the Vikings as “the pigs at the public trough have no conscience when it comes to making a fuss … ‘’
The Vikings backed off on the sign nonsense. Since then, they largely have spent time tossing hands full of millions for upgrades. Their latest self-congratulations was the best of all … they are buying lots of very nice TVs for the Taj Ma Zygi.
Dang. I thought maybe the companies paying 100 grand a year or more suites weren’t going to get TVs from the Vikings.
Anyway, there was another little nugget this week about the manner in which Ted Mondale, Michele Kelm-Helgen and the Stadium Authority gave away the farm to the Vikings in the final deal for the Avian Abattoir.
The preliminary design for the city park that allegedly will sit on two more square blocks of former Star Tribune property was revealed on Wednesday. There is no public funding source for the park, so the Minneapolis Downtown Council will now attempt to raise $22 million in donations to make it happen as something close to the design.
The best way to get started, you might figure, would be to get a large donation from a local entity and have the park named after it. Heck, maybe Wells Fargo kicks in one-third – it’s right across the street – and it’s Wells Fargo Commons.
But wait a minute.
We now discover that Ted, Michele and the Authority made a deal with the city that it (meaning Minneapolis) is “forbidden from soliciting commercial naming rights for all or any piece of the park,’’ as written in the Star Tribune report.
The reason for this is that the Vikings convinced the lapdogs at the authority that a corporate sponsor for a park – a park! – would conflict with their attempt to sell stadium naming rights (which is probably a done deal, waiting for the proper time to make an announcement).
The Vikings have promised to donate $1 million to the park construction, as long as the park doesn’t have a corporate name.
“We are in the market right now for own stadium right now,’’ Bagley said this week. “We wanted to ensure there were no conflicting sponsorships.’’
I’m officially changing the nickname: Les Wants More is now Les Got More.