First, a New Jersey court ruled that Vikings owners the Wilf family had defrauded business partners (with “bad faith and evil motive,” according to the judge in the case). Then, the team announced that it would raise $100 million toward the stadium by charging season-ticket holders one-time “seat-license” fees over and above the actual price of their tickets. With a moving-target $975 million-plus price tag for the stadium, the Vikings are on the hook for roughly half—a contribution that includes the seat licenses ($100 million), a loan from the NFL ($150 million), and a grant from the league ($50 million). Minnesota taxpayers will pick up the balance. We collected a few reactions from around the country on the state of things Purple.
“For most Minnesotans, this will look like a questionable deal because the economics of professional sports are questionable all over this country… But we had to make a deal and we had to get the owners of the team to agree to a deal.” –Gov. Mark Dayton, in the Star Tribune
“… why isn’t the outrage greater in Minneapolis, as it has been in other cities that tried to funnel taxpayer money to ultra-wealthy team owners? Polls have consistently shown that Minnesotans overwhelmingly oppose using taxpayer money to finance this billionaires’ playground…” –New York Observer
“As a Vikings fan who has control of 8 season tickets, 4 since 1961 & 4 since 1993, you can shove them right up your ass! I’ll pay twice face value for two games I really want to go to and watch the rest on my 65” TV at home.” –Vikings.com commenter
“In Minnesota, the Vikings wanted a new stadium, and were vaguely threatening to decamp to another state if they didn’t get it. The Minnesota legislature, facing a $1.1 billion budget deficit, extracted $506 million from taxpayers as a gift to the team, covering roughly half the cost of the new facility… with the new stadium deal, the Vikings’ value rose about $200 million, by Forbes’s estimate, further enriching Wilf and his family. They will make a token annual payment of $13 million to use the stadium, keeping the lion’s share of all NFL ticket, concession, parking, and, most important, television revenues.” –The Atlantic
“… So regardless of how much the Wilfs end up paying in their court case and the family’s net worth, the Vikings will be able to meet their financial obligations for the stadium because of the large upfront funding from the NFL and taxpayers. The Wilfs may be ‘evil’ but they are also smart.” –Forbes.com