This is a list of people who appear to be unwilling to pay for a new Vikings stadium. It’s not that they don’t WANT a new Vikings stadium. They’re just unwilling to pay for a new Vikings stadium.
1. Zygi Wilf. If Zygi was willing to pay to build the stadium he claims to want, there would be no stadium debate. Zygi, we support you in your effort to build whatever your money can buy.
2. Vikings fans. Since Zygi isn’t willing to come up with the cash to build his billion dollar dream, loyal Vikings fans could step up to close the more than half a billion dollar gap between what Zygi wants and what Zygi’s willing to pay. But, fans have expressed little to no interest in doing so. Given a choice between watching their team in a new stadium and paying thousands of dollars each to subsidize Zygi’s business, they seem to prefer the current, Metrodome with its new roof and field.
3. The NFL. The NFL has been bringing in more than $9 billion/yr BEFORE their new TV contract kicks in. In fact, their Monday Night Football contract alone is worth $2 billion per year. The league has plenty of money to build at least one new stadium every year, guaranteeing that no team would every have to play in a stadium as old as the Metrodome or Lambeu Field. But, rather than offer to pay, they’ve offered Zygi a small loan to help cover a portion of the $420 or so million he’s willing to contribute toward a building built to his specs. Perhaps the NFL isn’t willing to pay because they know that the real money is in TV, and football looks fine when broadcast from the Metrodome.
Or, the other theory with the NFL is that the ex-Goldman Sachs folks are interested in profiting from the municipal debt they’d like to strap the public with. Zygi Wilf is a credit risk compared to the City of Minneapolis, State of Minnesota, or Ramsey County, who can forcefully extract money from taxpayers to meet their debt obligations.
4. Rollerbladers. The Rollerdome crowd pays $10,000/yr for access to the Metrodome’s empty concourse on non major event days in the winter. Having done this numerous times, I can assure you that no one has ever complained about the Metrodome’s seats, concessions, or bathrooms at these events. This crowd is happy where they are at and are not demanding a billion dollar replacement stadium that may or may not be inline skating friendly.
5. Runners. Same deal as the bladers. Stadium requirements: A climate controlled loop. No need for new skyboxes, larger player locker rooms, or new scoreboards.
6. College baseball teams. Looks like there are plenty of seats to me. I have a hunch that college baseball teams, including the U of MN, St. Thomas, and Augsburg, might actually PREFER the Metrodome over the replacement stadium designs. Why? Because the Metrodome can be used for football AND baseball.
7. Monster Truck. If we have a venue that fits them, they’ll use it. But, they are not whipping out their checkbooks to throw away the Monster Truck friendly Metrodome where Monster Truck is LOUD.
As I see it, everyone who uses the Metrodome today doesn’t seem to see enough of a difference between what the Metrodome provides and what a brand spankin’ new billion dollar stadium would provide to actually justify paying for it. Yes, it would likely be better than the stadium we have today (for some, but not all uses) but if the Vikings, Vikings fans, the NFL, rollerbladers, runners, college baseball teams and Monster Truck aren’t willing to come up with the cash to pay for a new stadium, there doesn’t appear to be enough value to actually build one.