Arash Markazi with ESPN Los Angeles has published an interesting interview with the Vikings’ vice president of public affairs and stadium development, Lester Bagley. In it, Bagley sets yet another arbitrary deadline for the Vikings. It’s the latest in a long line of veiled threats designed to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in welfare payments for the Vikings organization and the National Football League:
“I think our owners have been good owners; they’ve been patient and made significant contributions to our community both on the football side as well as the community relations side. There’s certainly some frustration but we also have hope that it will get done but we really believe it has to get done before the lease expires.”
Do you think the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission is planning to kick out the Vikings, Lester?
Does the MSFC have grant plans for the Metrodome that don’t involve football, Lester?
Don’t you think the MSFC would be willing to sign a new lease with the Vikings today, Lester?
Enough with the veiled threats, Lester. There is no emergency here. There is no NEED. The Vikings simply WANT the public to borrow more than $600 million (plus interest) and give it to the Vikings organization so they can build a stadium that they WANT but don’t NEED.
I do have to give Lester Bagley some credit for his candid comment near the end of the piece. He makes a very strong case for why the NFL should be the organization that funds new stadiums for franchisees:
“It’s challenging from both a fan experience and from a revenue and competiveness experience,” Bagley said. “Right now we’re significantly subsidized by other NFL teams because of the Metrodome and the lack of revenue. The Metrodome is no longer an NFL facility and it can no longer sustain a team and is not a viable long-term solution.”
Keep in mind that the NFL makes $2 billion/year off their Monday Night Football contract with ESPN. That alone would be enough money to build two brand spanking new stadiums every year. But, considering that 30 years appears to be the arbitrary age at which NFL teams come begging for new stadiums, perhaps the NFL should set up a stadium per year development fund so it can stop relying upon welfare dollars to sustain itself?