Hartman: Covered stadium would bring big events

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 20, 2012 - 6:32 AM

If the new Vikings facility had a roof, it could host the NCAA tournament, Super Bowl, even a big-time bowl.

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Rendering of a new Vikings stadium on the Metrodome site.

Photo: Courtesy, City of Minneapolis

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A new covered stadium in this area would not only be the home to two preseason games, eight regular-season games and any playoff games for the Vikings, but it would also allow this area to compete for many national events.

Look at the success they have had at new domed stadiums in Dallas, Indianapolis and Houston, as well as the events that have been held at Atlanta, St. Louis and the remodeled Superdome in New Orleans.

The Metrodome has played host to the NCAA men's basketball tournament 10 times since opening in 1982, including the 1992 and 2001 Final Fours. It also was home to regional finals in 1989, 1996, 2003 and 2006 and held first- and second-round games in 1986, 1991, 2000 and 2009.

Those weekends draw thousands of fans from around the nation who are following their teams and spending their money here. And the Final Four probably brings in more revenue to the area than any other event held in this area.

Three years ago, when the NCAA tournament was last at the Dome, Bill Lester, executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, said that when his group tried to land a third Final Four, the NCAA told him it wanted its showcase event to be held in newer buildings. Since the 2006 Final Four at the now-demolished RCA Dome in Indianapolis, every Final Four has been held or will be held at a building built in the past 20 years, with the exception of this year's event at the Superdome, a 36-year-old building that went through a $320 million renovation in recent years.

After this year, the following three Final Fours are at NFL stadiums that opened in the past 10 years: The 2014 Final Four is at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the 2015 Final Four is at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and the 2016 Final Four is at Houston's Reliant Stadium.

And the other showcase event that could come here with a new covered stadium would be the Super Bowl, which was at Indianapolis this year, at Cowboys Stadium last year, at Arizona's University of Phoenix Stadium at 2008 and at Detroit's Ford Field in 2006. The Giants and Jets' new MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., is getting the Super Bowl in 2014, even though it is an open-air stadium.

Not to mention that the Big Ten football championship game could come here as well. With a new stadium, there could even be the chance of a new big-time bowl game here, like what the Cowboys have with the Cotton Bowl.

And even schools such as St. Thomas and St. John's could have Division III college football games.

Will generate taxes

A new dome would also generate more income tax paid by anybody who participates in an event there.

In December 2009, the MSFC, operators of the Metrodome, published a report that estimated that the tax revenue collected in the state as a result of the Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild to be $458.7 million from 1961 to 2009. That money went to the state, Hennepin County, each of the Twin Cities and to the five-county transit system. Of course, the Vikings made the biggest contribution at about $170 million. And according to the report, the combined public investment in the Metrodome, Target Center, Xcel Energy Center and Target Field was $191 million.

This meant that the Vikings contributed almost as much tax revenue on their own as the public has invested for all sports facilities. (Numbers for the North Stars weren't included in the report, citing a lack of reliable information.)

According to the Vikings, the NFL team generates about $20 million each year in tax revenue, including $12 to $13 million in income tax.

Furthermore, a good example of what a stadium can contribute to taxes is the $32.7 million the Twins have paid to the state of Minnesota in sales tax since they started to play at Target Field. Not to mention the $9.26 million they have paid over the past two years to the city of Minneapolis in city sales, entertainment and liquor tax.

Yes, it's a Vikings stadium for only 10 days plus the playoffs, but the other events it could hold would bring millions of dollars into the Twin Cities.

Musselman gets credit

After NBA sensation Jeremy Lin helped lead the New York Knicks past the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday for their seventh consecutive victory, the second-year point guard out of Harvard mentioned what a help Eric Musselman was to him last year. Musselman, the former Sacramento and Golden State coach now coaching in the NBA Development League, is the son of former Gophers and Wolves coach Bill Musselman.

"I went to the D-League three times last year and once this year," Lin said. "Without that time, I definitely wouldn't be the player I am right now. Just because last year when I played with Coach Musselman, he gave me the opportunity to play through mistakes. And I'm still making a lot of mistakes, obviously with six turnovers a game or whatever it is, but being able to play through that and build on my confidence and build and grow as a player was the best thing that could have happened to me."

Lin played 20 games under Musselman with the Reno Bighorns last season. He started 10 games and averaged 18 points, 4.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 2.7 turnovers in 31.7 minutes per game.

Jottings

• The Penticton Vees, led by six Minnesotans, pushed their winning streak to 34 over the weekend and clinched the British Columbia Hockey League regular-season title. Gophers recruit Connor Reilly is the second-leading scorer in the BCHL with 34 goals and 50 assists for 82 points in 51 games. His brothers Mike and Ryan, also Gophers recruits, are also doing quite well. Mike is the league's top scoring defenseman with 20 goals and 48 assists; Ryan has 29 goals and 36 assists. St. Francis' Joey Benik has 26 goals and 55 assists, and Mario Lucia, son of Gophers coach Don, has 36 goals and 44 assists. Edina's Steven Fogarty has 26 goals and 40 assists for the Vees as well.

• Eden Prairie defensive end Anthony King-Foreman, the son of Vikings great running back Chuck, is going to play football at Division II Augustana.

• Keanon Cooper recently had wrist surgery that will keep the Gophers senior linebacker out of spring practice. On the other hand, there is hope that offensive linemen Josh Campion and Jimmy Gjere, who both suffered concussions, will be able to take part in spring practice.

• Fred Weinke, a former Cretin-Derham Hall and St. Olaf assistant coach, has been named coach of the Kouvola Indians of the American Football Association of Finland.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

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