One of the more interesting excerpts among the many facts and quotes in Don Davis’ story about the Vikings stadium defeat on InForum is this quote from Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley:
“We have done everything we have been asked,” Bagley said. “What else are we supposed to do?”
Well, there’s always MORE that can be done. The team was to contribute $427 million toward the $975 million proposed Vikings stadium, which was defeated 9-6 by a Minnesota House subcommittee on Monday night.
The Vikings’ share – roughly 44 percent of the stadium’s cost – is pretty fair by today’s standards. For example, the Miami Marlins opened their baseball stadium earlier this month, with owner Jeffrey Loria contributing just shy of 30 percent of the stadium’s $515 million cost.
But this is all a tough sell for the state of Minnesota, which has had budget issues in recent years and has signed off on two stadium projects – TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field – just in the last decade.
This is all a far cry from decades ago. If you’ve ever watched the HBO documentary “Ghosts of Flatbush” about the Brooklyn Dodgers – and if you haven’t, I highly recommend it – you’ll learn that the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles after owner Walter O’Malley offered to pay for the entire stadium in Brooklyn! O’Malley simply wanted the city help him put the parcels of land together, and the city balked, so the Dodgers moved.
But the days of owners offering to pay for entire stadiums are over. The modern-day stadium is paid for in large part by taxpayers. And unless Minnesota politicians can revive stadium talks before the end of the session, the Vikings could be following that Dodgers path to LA.