The Minnesota Vikings reported more than $350,000 spent in lobbying disbursements for the second half of last year, most of it on a media campaign to drive support for a new stadium.
The team spent more than $290,000 on the television, print and radio advertising, according to the report filed with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. The team also spent nearly $30,000 on public relations and fees and $28,400 on lobbying materials.
Lester Bagley, the team's vice president in charge of lobbying and the stadium effort, said the ad campaign came in the fall when they were trying to get their message out and encourage supporters to contact lawmakers about the stadium.
"We believe it was money well spent," Bagley said. "We were trying to get our information directly to the public. There was a lot of misinformation swirling. We wanted to get some of the facts...Trying to take our case more directly to the public, arm our supporters with facts and also underscore the importance of the Vikings to this market."
Bagley said the ads worked. He said the stadium information page at Vikings.com, which included a page to ecnourage stadium supporters to e-mail lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton to express their views, had a traffic spike.
"This definitely ramped up the responses and the interaction with Vikings fans and stadium supporters throughout the state," Bagley said.
The Vikings disbursement report was among 1940 reports due this week where lobbyists disclose how much they spent to spread influence at the Capitol. The figure should make the team one of the highest spenders during the reporting period from June to December.
Bagley said the team has eight hired lobbyists working in support of the stadium. What the team spent on those lobbyists will be revealed in a report filed in March with the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.