We’ve heard it often in the last two decades. Owners approach their city councils and state legislatures with charts, binders full of financial projections, artist rendered stadium designs and a band of lawyers. The dog and pony show is usually conducted after thinly veiled threats are leaked to the media:
“We’re 100% committed to (insert city name), but I’m not sure it’s financially viable to stay.”
This off-season two NFL franchises are after new stadiums and the wondrous profits they entail.
Yesterday Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed off on an agreement to build a $975 million stadium where the Metrodome currently stands.
Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf gleefully looked on. Why wouldn’t they be happy? The city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota will pay more than half of the bill. It’s hard to watch the news without hearing about the economic recession in the United States. Is $500 million of taxpayer money really the smartest way forward for a state with enormous budget issues?
So why did Dayton capitulate? Of course we heard about the new – albeit temporary – jobs the construction of the stadium will create. More importantly, the Wilf’s refused to deny they would move the team.
State lawmakers approved the bill last week out of concern that the team might leave the state unless it got a new stadium. The Vikings will sign a 30-year lease. The Vikings pursued a stadium for more than a decade, but had little leverage until their lease at the Metrodome expired this past year. The Wilfs never threatened to move the team, but the Vikings were frequently mentioned as a potential fit for the vacant Los Angeles market. Still, the stadium legislation championed by Dayton appeared to be dying this spring before an April visit by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell resurrected it.
I couldn’t help thinking of BASEketball when I read that.
The St.Louis Rams will try the same thing in the coming weeks as the team proposed a $700 million upgrade of Edward Jones stadium. The agency in charge of the building called for renovations that would cost $124 million. It remains to be seen how much of the costs the team is willing to cover.
You can see where this is going. The Rams are already slotted to play games in London for the next three years. Expect the relocation to LA rumors to explode in the coming months.
And now you want to know the rest of the story…
- Donovan McNabb is dropping weight in order to make a comeback and his former Head Coach Andy Reid believes he can still play. [ESPN]
- Lions’ DT Nick Fairley had his arraignment for marijuana possession adjourned until July31st. He’s also entered the first stage of the NFL’s substance abuse program. [Detroit Free Press]
- Patriots first round picks Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones are expected to provide an immediate impact this season. No pressure. [NESN]
- The Louisiana Legislature continues to ask the NFL to reconsider the bans given to Saints personnel for bounty gate. The vote was 28-1 to one in favor of the motion. Kudos to the brave soul who voted no. [ESPN]
- Jets NT Kenrick Ellis is facing 20 years in prison and possible deportation for ‘malicious wounding’. Yikes. [NFL.com]
- Shyam Das – the independent arbitrator fired by Major League Baseball yesterday- will be one of the arbitrator’s for the Saints bounty grievance. [AP]
- Jason Peters ruptured his Achilles for the second time this off-season. A malfunctioning Roll-A-Bout – not sure what that is – was to blame. [Twitter]
- New Jags’ Head Coach Mike Mularkey once again stated Blaine Gabbert will enter training camp as the Jaguars’ clear-cut starting quarterback. This won’t end well. [Rotoworld]