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Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968.

Reusse: Bagley has a new nickname: Les Got More

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 his stadium opens; and 2-The Avian Abattoir, in requiem for all the migrating birds that are going to die so that the stadium’s front windows 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 to control the surrounding area.

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 2013, Lester Bagley, the Vikings’ charge de demands, went to the now-disbanded Stadium Implementation Committee and complained that the Wells Fargo towers would take away tailgating options.

That might have been when I broke out the Les Wants More nickname for Bagley. The fact Bagley had the audacity to mention tailgating in the same sentence as a Wells Fargo project that will mean more to downtown on a daily basis than the Taj Ma Zygi … unbelievable.

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.

This time I basically went nuts, describing the Vikings as “the pigs at the public trough (who) 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 in piddling amounts (when you consider the profits that await) for stadium "upgrades.'' Their latest self-congratulations was the best of all … the Vikings are buying lots of very nice TVs for the Taj Ma Zygi.

I thought maybe the companies paying 125 grand a year or more for suites weren’t going to get TVs.

Now, another nugget surfaced 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 stadium deal.

The preliminary design for the city park that allegedly will sit on two square blocks not far from the stadium entrance was revealed on Wednesday. There is no public funding source for the park, so the Minneapolis Downtown Council will 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 that company recognized for its generosity. Heck, maybe Wells Fargo could go in for one-third and it could be, "Minneapolis Commons Park, presented by Wells Fargo.''

But wait a minute.

We now discover that Ted, Michele and the Authority made a deal that the City of 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 their lapdogs at the authority that a corpprate connection with the park – a park! – would conflict with their attempt to sell naming rights and other sponsorships they selling inside in the stadium.

The Vikings have promised to donate $1 million (4 1/2 percent of the cost) to construction, as long as the park doesn’t have a corporate connection.

“We are in the market right now for own own stadium sponsors,'' Bagley said. “We wanted to ensure there were no conflicting sponsorships.’’

That means not only a name sponsor but the other billboard sponsors the Vikings plan to sign for the Avian Abattoir.

I’m officially changing the nickname: Les Wants More is now Les Got More.

Reusse: FIFA could learn from NFL

I’m sure there is a difference in the degree of bribery that took place with FIFA to obtain World Cups in South Africa (2010), Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022), and that which took place with the NFL to obtain the 2018 Super Bowl for Minneapolis.

The difference might be wider than a thin line, maybe one of those lines you see in the Lowry Tunnel.

It is interesting that South Africa has denied giving away $10 million to FIFA parties, as charged in last week’s indictment in the United States, and the Minneapolis host committee has been too sheepish to admit to the full cost of the giveaways to the NFL to obtain the Super Bowl.

The host committee did admit that so far it had raised $30 million in donations to “help’’ offset public costs for the Super Bowl — i.e., to grease the NFL.

I’m guessing it becomes a “bribe’’ when money goes directly into the pocket of a country’s representative to get his vote on the location of a World Cup, and it can be jokingly called an “incentive’’ when all the free stuff is channeled through a noble body such as the NFL.

What’s amazing is the demand for silence from FIFA voters selling the World Cup was not as effective as has been the NFL’s in selling the Super Bowl to Minneapolis.

Even the mayor, Betsy Hodges, told the Star Tribune in December that she had not been made privy to the giveaways promised to the NFL.

Arne Carlson, the former governor, was outraged at the secrecy: “This is wrong … It should be transparent.

“We should know how the NFL operates.’’

We have the answer, Arne, when it comes to transparency: no different than if Sepp Blatter was in charge.

The host committee’s response to Star Tribune reporters Mike Kaszuba and Rochelle Olson in December was it did not agree to all 153 pages of NFL demands, and that the “competitive bid remains private.’’

Heck, if only Sepp had been able to enforce that type of privacy with FIFA, he wouldn’t be sweating out the date for his indictment.


• FFs (Few Favorite Freebies) among the NFL demands of a city wanting to host a Super Bowl:

•  Free Presidential suites in high-end hotels. Free golf the previous summer and fall at high-end courses. (NFL is big on high-end).

• 35,000 free parking spaces and 450 courtesy cars. The number of surface spots is 58,000 and dropping in downtown Minneapolis.

• NFL Network must be available in (high-end) team hotels for at least a year leading up to game.

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