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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Vikings plow $748,000 into '06 stadium push

    Posted on Tue, Jun. 20, 2006

    [size=18px]Vikings plow $748,000 into '06 stadium push[/size]

    BRIAN BAKST
    Associated Press


    ST. PAUL - Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, who came up short in his first-year hunt for state help toward a new suburban football stadium, can't be accused of skimping in his pursuit.

    A tally of Vikings lobbying expenses from January to May totaled more than $748,000, according to reports filed with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. The team's 2006 stadium campaign was its most costly on record.

    Much of the cost is attributable to a $707,000 media campaign that featured television, radio and newspaper ads describing potential economic benefits of the $790 million stadium project.

    Lester Bagley, Vikings official in charge of stadium lobbying, said the franchise needed to fight its way to the table because the stadium discussion had been focusing largely on the Minnesota Twins and University of Minnesota Gophers.

    "Close doesn't count. We didn't get it done. We're disappointed. But we're trying to refocus and move it forward next year," Bagley said.

    Although this was Wilf's first run through the Legislature, previous owner Red McCombs waged a losing battle for public stadium subsidies for several years.

    Compared with McCombs, Wilf took a more hands-on role at the Capitol. He often appeared at legislative hearings, sometimes to give testimony and other times just to watch. And he periodically met face-to-face with top state leaders.

    Since 1996, the Vikings have plowed at least $3 million into lobbying for a new stadium. The team is under lease to play in the Metrodome until 2011.

    Two of the Vikings co-tenants - the Twins and Gopher football team - won approval for stadium financing plans.

    The Vikings have proposed building a stadium in Blaine as part of bigger development that will have a shopping center, office space and residential units.

    Anoka County's Board of Commissioners has offered to raise the county sales tax by three-quarters of 1 percent to pay a $280 million of the cost. Wilf has pledged the same amount. The sticking point is how to cover the remaining $230 million.

    A provision allowing the county to raise its sales tax without a referendum was included in the Twins ballpark bill, but other facets of the stadium plan still require legislative approval.

    Anoka County lobbyist Steve Novak said Tuesday that the county has invested just under $1 million in its multiyear effort to bring the Vikings to Blaine. Assuming the November elections don't upset a pro-Vikings stadium majority on the county board, Novak said officials hope to push ahead on the project in the 2007 session.

    "We think we still we have a willing partner with the Vikings because we still have the best deal for us and the Vikings," he said.

    Brian Bakst can be reached at [email protected]

    Vikings plow $748,000 into '06 stadium push

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings plow $748,000 into '06 stadium push

    I wonder if he will be making that type of investment again next year to get the stadium deal done?

    My guess is he may get tired of spending money year after year with no new stadium getting done, that he will move the Vikings elsewhere.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  3. #3
    BadlandsVikings's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings plow $748,000 into '06 stadium push

    I hope he's willing to spend that much at least one more year. I hope he dosen't give up that quickly.

  4. #4
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    Re: Vikings plow $748,000 into '06 stadium push

    i dont see wilf as the kind of guy that gives in easily =)


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  5. #5
    Vikes's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings plow $748,000 into '06 stadium push

    You would have thought with Red McComb owning a large stake in clear channal communications he would have been able to secure media.
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    The rigors of Spartan life. Leonidas is cast out into the wild, and survives the harsh winter to return to his home, when he is crowned King ....a Viking!

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  6. #6
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    Re: Vikings plow $748,000 into '06 stadium push

    Three quarters of a million MORE that could go directly into the new stadium if they would just approve it NOW!!!
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