Reporter Rochelle Olson updates you on the construction of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

Posts about Vikings

Activists organize march and rally to protest 'Redskins' nickname

Posted by: Richard Meryhew Updated: October 28, 2013 - 7:01 PM

American Indian activists pushing to ban the broadcast or display of the Washington Redskins’ nickname and logo when the NFL team visits the Metrodome Nov. 7 have announced details of a rally leading up to the game.

Organizers of a campaign to “Change The Name, Change The Mascot” plan to gather at 4:30 p.m. on game day at the American Indian Movement’s national office at 1113 E. Franklin Avenue and lead a march to the stadium, where they will rally outside in the hour before Washington and the Vikings square off.

Former 10,000-meter Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills and Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum are among the scheduled speakers.

Details of the march and rally come just days after several American Indian activists, including AIM founder and longtime leader Clyde Bellecourt, asked the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which operates the Metrodome, to bar the broadcast or display of the Washington nickname in public places throughout the stadium on game night. Bellecourt and others have argued that the term and logo are demeaning, hurtful and racist.

The stadium authority, however, declined the request after its attorney advised it that blocking the use and display of the name and logo could infringe on freedom of speech.

“Change The Name” organizers also announced Monday plans for a two-day exhibit at the University of Minnesota that will display “the good, the bad and the ugly” of Native American imagery, said Richie Plass, the exhibit founder and a member of the Menominee/Stockbridge-Munsee tribes in northern Wisconsin.

The exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 5 and 6 in room 234 of Coffman Memorial Union.

A symposium on "Racism in Sports and Media" also has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 5 at Coffman's President's Room.

Fight to ban NFL 'Redskins' name and logo goes to stadium board

Posted by: Richard Meryhew Updated: October 24, 2013 - 8:24 PM

The push to ban the Washington Redskins' nickname and logo from being displayed or broadcast inside the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome will go to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority first thing Friday.

Several representatives of the Minneapolis-based American Indian Movement plan to attend the authority’s 9 a.m. meeting at the Dome to ask the board overseeing construction of the new Vikings stadium to refrain from printing or broadcasting the NFL Redskins' nickname or logo when the team visits Minneapolis for a Nov. 7 game with the Vikings.

Activist and child psychologist Alan Yelsey said Thursday that he and several others lobbying for the ban met for about an hour Thursday with authority officials to express their concerns that the nickname is derogatory and destructive and reinforces hurtful stereotypes.

He said speakers Friday plan to cite 14 laws that the authority would be breaking “if they allow the word ‘Redskin’ to be broadcast or presented in that stadium.’’ He also said that the authority’s affirmative action plan prohibits it from creating an environment “that is at all harassing or discriminatory.”

The group, which is pushing the authority to vote on the issue, has said it might file a class-action lawsuit if the board fails to honor their request.

Earlier Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement encouraging the authority, the Vikings and the media “to do the right thing” and not refer to the Washington football team by its "offensive" nickname.

“The name, logo and mascot are racist imagery that does not honor anyone, but instead perpetuate stereotypes that are particularly hurtful and offensive,” said Charles Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU-Minnesota.

Twenty-two firms bid for underwriting work on Vikings stadium

Posted by: Richard Meryhew Updated: October 10, 2013 - 12:22 PM

More than 20 financial institutions are competing for the job of providing underwriting services for the $498 million public share of the new Vikings stadium.

A list of 22 applicants was released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget, which will decide in the next few weeks who will underwrite the project and how many firms might be involved.

The state has said that it hopes to "establish a pool of firms" to serve as senior managing underwriters or co-managing underwriters in connection with the bond issue.

No date has been set for issuing the bonds, which would cover the public portion of the $975 million development. The Vikings are responsible for $477 million of the stadium’s construction cost with the state and the city of Minneapolis covering the rest.

Some of the institutions bidding for the work are Barclays, BMO Capital Markets, Goldman, Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan Securities, Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc., Piper Jaffray & Co., U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo Securities.

Groundbreaking for the stadium, which is expected to open in time for the 2016 NFL season, is tentatively scheduled for mid November.

State moves forward with plans for Vikings stadium bond issue

Posted by: Richard Meryhew Updated: September 23, 2013 - 11:32 AM

With groundbreaking on a new Vikings stadium only weeks away, the state of Minnesota is moving forward with plans to issue the bonds that will be used to cover the public portion of the project.

The Minnesota Department of Management and Budget Monday issued a formal notice, or "request for proposal," seeking bids from financial institutions interested in providing underwriting services for the $498 million public share of the $975 million project.

The Vikings are responsible for $477 million of the stadium's construction cost with the state and city of Minneapolis picking up the rest.

In a written statement, Management and Budget said it plans to solicit proposals "to establish a pool of firms" to serve as senior managing underwriters or co-managing underwriters "in connection with the issue of fixed rate appropriation bonds of the State."

The deadline for proposals is Oct. 9.

An electronic copy of the request for prosposal is available at the Management and Budget website:

The Vikings and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is overseeing stadium construction, are in the final stages of negotiating lease and development agreements. Those agreements are expected to go to the authority board Friday for a vote.

Meanwhile, groundbreaking on the stadium, which is expected to replace the Metrodome in time for the 2016 NFL season, is tentatively planned for early November.

Dayton wants Vikings to pony up 'significant equity' in new stadium

Posted by: Richard Meryhew Updated: September 16, 2013 - 2:05 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton, a leading supporter of the nearly $1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium project, said Monday that he is "encouraged" that an extensive legal and background check of team owners Mark and Zygi Wilf indicates that they can pay for their share of the team's new home.

But in a letter Monday to the Minnesota Sports Facilities chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen, Dayton urged the authority to make sure the owners and team contribute "significant equity" to the project, and not rely heavily on personal seat license fees.

"I strongly urge you to negotiate a final financial agreement, which requires the Vikings' owners to provide a signficant share of their financial contribution from their own resources, and not from Vikings' fans through the sale of expensive personal seat licenses," Dayton wrote.

The authority, the public body overseeing the stadium project, and team are in the final stages of negotiating important use and development agreements for the venue, which the team hopes to open in time for the 2016 NFL season. The agreements are tentatively scheduled to go to the authority board for a vote at its Sept. 27 meeting.

The Vikings are responsibile for paying $477 million of the stadium's $975 million construction cost with the state of Minnesota and city of Minneapolis responsible for the rest.

The team's portion of the funding includes a $200 million NFL loan and revenue from stadium naming rights as well as the sale of personal seat licenses to season ticket holders. Revenue from those sources could easily be tens of millions of dollars or more, leading critics of the stadium financing package to question whether the owners and team have much financial exposure at all.

Under the stadium legislation approved in May 2012, the authority has the "exclusive right" to sell the licenses, but retains the team to act as its agent in marketing and selling them.

"That exclusive right certainly includes the authority to set the maximum prices, which can be charged for those licenses," Dayton wrote. "While the legislation allows stadium builder's licenses to be a component of the team's financing, those revenues were not intended to replace the need for the team's owners to make a significant equity or capital contribution."

A month-long "due-dilgence" audit of the Wilfs by the stadium authority determined last week that the owners had more than enough money to pay for their share of the stadium's construction cost.

The audit, which stemmed from a New Jersey judge's ruling in early August that the Wilfs had defrauded business partners in a real estate transaction in that state, said that even in a "worst-case" scenario involving tens of millions of dollars in punitive damages, the Wilfs had the financial capability to pay their share of the building cost.

The judge is expected to award puniitive damages in the case next week.

"Your financial assessment reportedly shows that the Vikings' owners could finance their share of the stadium's costs with little or no revenues from stadium builder's licenses," Dayton wrote. "Therefore, I strongly urge you to keep those pricers at an absolute minimum. I have always said that this building should be a 'People's Stadium.' Excessive personal seat license fees conflict with that goal."


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