By MIKE KASZUBA AND RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER
A new $1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium will cost the team $477 million, with the state paying $348 million for the project, according to a new House-Senate report released late Wednesday.
Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley, capping a day of private meetings at the state Capitol, said early Thursday that the team had agreed to the new plan. "The Vikings and [team owner Zygi Wilf] have stepped up," said Bagley, "and made a huge commitment to Minnesota."
The report, which will go before legislators beginning late Wednesday night, would also impose a series of so-called blink-on taxes should the state’s stadium share that would come from electronic bingo and pull tabs revenue fall short. They include a 10 percent admissions tax on stadium luxury seats and a sports-themed lottery game that would produce at least $2.1 million per year.
The compromise would also restore exclusive, five-year rights for the Vikings to obtain a professional soccer franchise that would play at the new downtown Minneapolis stadium, a provision legislators had earlier eliminated.
The Vikings new stadium cost was more than the $427 million the team had agreed to earlier this spring, but less than the $532 million than the House voted in favor of two nights ago. The Senate, following a long debate Tuesday, had voted to have the team pay $452 million plus agree to a series of user fees.
The conference committee report increased some costs for the Vikings, and generally left intact Minneapolis’ $150 million stadium construction contribution and the complicated financing surrounding it. The report also slightly changed the operating threshold for the new, publicly-owned stadium, saying it had to be maintained in a "first-class manner" and “consistent with other comparable" National Football League stadiums -- but removed a reference that it, specifically, be maintained like the Indianapolis Colt's Lucas Oil Field.
The details of a furious, final stadium negotiating session were released late Tuesday, and the last-minute compromise was scheduled to be debated in the House late in the evening. It was expected to be considered Thursday by the Senate before the Legislature adjourned for the year.