The bidding war between Minneapolis and Ramsey County lasted exactly one day. On Tuesday the Vikings ended all speculation about a new stadium site by announcing an agreement to build a multi-purpose retractable roof facility in Arden Hills.
The new development will cost a total of $1.057 billion, $884 million for the stadium itself and $173 million for other infrastructure, parking, etc. The plan calls for the Vikings to kick in $407 million of the cost, Ramsey County $350 million and the state of Minnesota $300 million. The county will raise sales taxes by 0.5% to handle their share, and the state will raise their piece via a pro sports memorabilia tax, a sales tax on direct satellite services and a sports-themed lottery.
The Vikings and owner Zygi Wilf are selling the “total experience” aspect of the plan. There will be a 21,000-spot parking lot for tailgating as well as a Vikings Hall of Fame (come see Jim Marshall’s used jock strap!). The stadium itself will obviously be a major upgrade over the Metrodome, boasting (copying directly from the press release here) “maximized sideline seating, increased handicapped accessibility, wider concourses, more restrooms, and increased and enhanced concessions.” There will be 120-150 suites (Prince will be happy) and up to 7500 club seats. The seating capacity will be 65,000, expandable to 72,000 for bigger events like the Super Bowl. Wilf also mentioned a desire to bring major league soccer to Minneapolis and a Final Four.
And the best news for the Vikings? They won’t have to move into smallish TCF Bank Stadium while the new place is being put up, as would’ve been the case if they built on the Metrodome site. Of course there are still a lot of obstacles to climb over before this ambitious plan comes to fruition, including ramming the thing through the legislature, but at least now there’s a concrete plan to talk about (and possibly criticize) instead of a bunch of nebulous ideas.