It's a nearly $1-billion stadium that's partially funded by Minnesota taxes, and on Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton made it clear he wants to make sure the owners of the Minnesota Vikings pay their fair share on the project.
Dayton wrote a letter to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority pleading for a Vikings stadium agreement that would require the Wilf family to pay their portion by digging into their own pockets instead of bleeding fans for personal seat licenses.
"I strongly urge you to negotiate a final financial agreement, which requires the Vikings' owners to provide a significant share of their financial contribution from their own resources, and not from Vikings fans through the sale of expensive personal seat licenses," Dayton wrote.
Although nothing has been finalized, the governor's concern was heightened by recent news stories, including a Minnesota Public Radio analysis, that show the Vikings' owners would not need to invest almost any of their own money after subtracting an NFL contribution, naming rights and PSL revenues.
"The seat license program is something that is clearly allowed in the legislation, but the size of the program and kind of the framework of the program is what we're working on," Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the MSFA, told FOX 9 News.
Despite signing the stadium bill into law, Dayton strongly urged the authority to keep PSL prices to a bare minimum and arguing the Wilfs should pay a "significant share" of the team's $477 million contribution "from their own resources."
The team has already secured a $200-million loan from the NFL and could earn more than $100 million via naming rights. So, the biggest question remaining is how much the MSFA will allow the team to charge season ticket holders.
"We're certainly not going to be in the ballpark of Dallas or San Francisco or New York," Kelm-Helgen said. "It's going to be a Minnesota program."
Kelm-Helgen said she knew going into it that personal seat licenses would be a difficult subject to broach, but it is her job to keep the project on time and on budget.
"We are definitely negotiating on behalf of the public, and certainly take the governor's words very seriously," Kelm-Helgen assured.
The final sum on personal seat licenses will likely be revealed on Sept. 27, which is when the board is expected to approve the development and user agreements if the details are worked out by then.
The stadium bill also gives the MSFA "the exclusive right to sell the stadium builder's licenses," but the Vikings will "act as the authority's agent in marketing and selling such licenses."
"That exclusive right certainly includes the authority to set the maximum prices which can be charged for those licenses," Dayton wrote. "I strongly urge you to keep those prices at an absolute minimum."
The governor closed the letter by saying excessive PSL fees conflict with the goal of building a "People's Stadium."
On Monday morning, state Rep. Bob Barrett, a Republican from Lindstrom who opposed the stadium deal, held a press conference to say Minnesotans got a raw deal and need to go back to the drawing board; however, MFSA says there's no renegotiation now because the financing will close on Nov. 1.
To watch Barrett's remarks on YouTube, click here: http://youtu.be/8knxydEtY6k