Our SportsNation chat Tuesday afternoon featured substantial discussion on the future of the Minnesota Vikings now that their stadium bill appears to have met its 2012 demise. I've posted most of the relevant exchanges below.
As we discussed Monday night, I think it's time for the Vikings to begin the process of exploring relocation options. Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday he thinks the issue will be addressed in the 2013 session, but frankly, the Vikings would be foolish to believe it after their 10-plus year struggle to settle this issue.
The good news is that all Minnesota options should be back in play if and when the issue re-emerges. That could bring the discussion back to a suburban location, or perhaps the Farmers' Market site on the west side of Minneapolis.
The next step is for the Vikings to formalize their playing agreement in the Metrodome in 2013, knowing it won't necessarily lead into a new lease at a new stadium. The next key date is Feb. 15, 2013, when applications for relocation are due to the NFL.
*Update: Here's a podcast of my appearance Tuesday morning on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee, where we primarily discussed the stadium issue.
Scooter, minny [via mobile]
Will the Vikings get a deal done in Minnesota or r they gone after 2012?
Kevin Seifert (2:06 PM)
My feeling all along, and I've expressed this before, is that this issue won't be resolved until it's in crisis. It's now clear that an expired lease is not a crisis, at least if the team isn't willing to employ the corresponding leverage. I still think a deal is quite possible, but it won't happen until the Vikings have a realistic relocation option and are willing to at least pursue it.
Stephen (St. Paul, MN)
Hey Kevin, I'm 34 years old, and feel like I have been hearing about a new Vikings stadium -- and the threat of moving the team -- for literally half of my life. It doesn't seem like a stadium is any closer or farther away than it was 10 years ago. Can somebody institute a "---- or get off the pot" clause? I think we're all sick of treading water.
Kevin Seifert (2:08 PM)
I hear you on that. That's what Dayton and in many ways the Vikings were hoping for: A definitive answer one way or the other on this issue. They really didn't get it. There wasn't even a vote on the floor of either house of the state legislature. In the end, there's no sense in the Vikings issuing that kind of ultimatum until they have a realistic option elsewhere.
Frank (Minneapolis) [via mobile]
Instead of the Vikings threatening relocation can't we do them a favor by getting rid of the state representatives and senators that don't want the stadium in November?
Kevin Seifert (2:16 PM)
The beauty of democracy. The voice of voters can be heard on election day. Finding pro-stadium candidates might be difficult, though.
John (Mayville, ND)
When's the earliest the Vikings could re-locate? Are they now on a year to year lease with the Metrodome?
Kevin Seifert (2:26 PM)
They have no lease at the moment. That's the next job. I assume they'll only want to go year-to-year, but we'll see.
Sorry Kevin, another Vikings stadium question...I've been hearing that the LA stadium issue isn't even getting off the ground either and nothing is imminent out west...where would they realistically relocate to?
Kevin Seifert (2:32 PM)
It's made progress but isn't at a point where the NFL is ready to green-light it. That could easily change by next Feb. 15, when NFL relocation applications are due. In the meantime, the Vikings can certainly accelerate their due diligence.
Rourke (La Crosse, WI)
Kevin, the reason why teams must apply for stadium funding is that no private lending firm will finance stadiums because they are, very frankly, terrible investments. Bankers and investors realize that sports teams are more or less incredibly expensive hobbies for billionaires -- hobbies with very low profit margins. Do you think it is probable that more taxpayers will wise up to this reality and that it will become increasingly common for stadium funding projects to be rejected? Why should the taxpayers assume the risk for financing projects no responsible investor would take on?
Kevin Seifert (2:34 PM)
Because they see the return in different ways than investors. You're right. The taxpayers aren't going to get rich on a stadium. But they get to continue the tradition of rooting for a local NFL team, something many people attach high value to. The stadium is the cost of maintaining that tradition, like it or not.