While the Vikings are doing all of the lobbying for a new football stadium, a fact that is not emphasized is that the building would be used for a lot more events than just the 10 Vikings games each year.

Local sports fans and so many other events will benefit even more than the Vikings.

Currently, the Metrodome is used nearly 350 days a year for various events, and that also would be the case of a new so-called Vikings stadium.

What the geniuses over in the Legislature don't understand is the fact that a new roofed stadium would be the home to many great events like the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four, the state high school football championships, different college football games and so many other shows. Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith might be able to bring in a top-drawing team like Duke for a game.

Recently, the domed Ford Field in Detroit attracted close to 40,000 people for the NCAA Frozen Four games.

Also, the new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas already has been host to the NBA All-Star Game that drew 77,000, the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey fight that drew close to 50,000 and several other big events already. Already booked for the new stadium is a Super Bowl next year and a Final Four basketball game.

Then you had Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal report that the Vikings-Cowboys playoff game resulted in $5.8 million spent by fans who came here for that game, according to a University of Minnesota study.

What amazes me is the lack of support from the city of Minneapolis that will, for the first time, realize a 3 percent entertainment tax from the sale of Twins tickets, or the $3 million annually, that it never received from the Metrodome. The Vikings have been paying the 3 percent ticket tax, and they likely would continue to pay it if a new stadium was built.

The other day, one of Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak's assistants made it clear that this 3 percent could not be used for a stadiums.

Then you have Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President David Olson saying last Thursday that his group would oppose a metrowide 2.5 percent hotel and lodging tax.

Well, Mr. Olson, there was a time when the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce had great leaders like Gerald Moore and Norm McGrew, and they, along with other top business leaders in this town, were responsible for making this a four-team major league city. There was a Sports and Attractions Committee that was so active compared with the nothing your group does to help the sports community these days.

Furthermore, there were more than 7,000 people working to build the Gophers and Twins stadiums and from what I hear, most of them are drawing unemployment checks these days. A lot of money could be saved if they went to work. I'm surprised some of those unemployed workers don't march on the state Capitol and let the Legislature know they want to go back to work.

Wilfs would sell

The Vikings' Metrodome lease is over after the 2011 season.

I don't believe the Wilf family will ever move the Vikings. But I have reasons to believe that if they don't get a stadium, they will sell the team.

If that happens, the state will lose the millions of dollars in income taxes that the Vikings and visiting players pay each year, plus the large contributions the team contributes in taxes.

The Vikings have a tough time competing with the lobbyists for Mystic Lake Casino, which pours a lot of money into the campaigns state lawmakers. The slot machines would be the solution, but that won't happen.

You keep on hearing that the team might move to Los Angeles. There is even an better possibility: Tuscaloosa, Ala., home of the University of Alabama football team, with a modern stadium seating close to 100,000 and only 58 miles from Birmingham. The Houston Oilers moved to Nashville, so why wouldn't Birmingham be a good site? The Crimson Tide fan base drew close to 100,000 for a spring football game recently.

The NFL recently dropped some of the revenue sharing money they were giving to teams like the Vikings who are close to the bottom in revenue.

Yes, keep on making it tough for the Wilfs to compete, and like the Lakers and the North Stars, the Vikings will be gone.


Look for former Gophers basketball player Quincy Lewis to be named to the University of Minnesota Williams Arena Fundraising & Development Department. Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi couldn't hire a better personality who has a lot of friends and will do a great job for the school.

Gophers and Stillwater High School product Glen Perkins, the Twins pitcher now at Class AAA Rochester, continues to have a rough time. In five innings Thursday, he gave up nine hits and three earned runs. Perkins has a 0-3 record with a 9.00 ERA.

Hazeltine National Golf Club used the $2 million-plus profits from last year's PGA Championship to build a new clubhouse that will be completed in September. The golf course is closing on July 6 for members to play while they renovate the greens and re-grass the fairways and get the place ready for the Ryder Cup in 2016. It won't open until June 11, 2011.

The University of Minnesota baseball program will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1960 national championship team before the second game against Michigan on May 8 at the Metrodome. At the same time, the team also will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1970 conference champion and the 10th anniversary of the 2000 champions.

It's hard to understand why the Super Bowl champion Saints haven't re-signed former Vikings safety Darren Sharper after he intercepted nine passes last year and returned three for touchdowns and played such a big part in the team's success. Sharper visited Jacksonville on Thursday, underwent medical tests and is in the process of negotiating a contract.

Some boosters of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College basketball program still have hopes that enough funds can be raised and convince the president of the college not to cancel one of the great programs at the school. Incidentally, Jay Pivec, MCTC's longtime coach, was inducted in the National Junior Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in Las Vegas this past week. He was introduced by his close personal friend Eric Curry, a college basketball referee as well as a Twins vice president.

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