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Friday, April 22, 2005
Legislature has yet to finance construction

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The University of Minnesota Board of Regents has approved a 25-year, $35 million deal that gives naming rights to TCF Financial Corp. for a football stadium on campus.

The 50,000-seat facility would be called TCF Bank Stadium. It would open in the fall of 2008 on the Minneapolis campus. The 32-acre site is a long throw from where Memorial Stadium, which was demolished after the Gophers began playing in the Metrodome in 1982, sat for 68 years.

The authorization of the plan now needs the approval of the Legislature.

The agreement with TCF, which calls for $35 million sponsorship of the stadium, expires at the end of the year unless Gov. Tim Pawlenty approves a bill that would finance 40 percent of the $235 million stadium.

"We need a legislative partner for this private financing to be realized," university general counsel Mark Rotenberg said after the vote Thursday.

The university would raise the other 60 percent, or $141 million. The agreement with the bank is considered crucial in encouraging more sponsorships and donations.

The deal also is linked to a series of other agreements that gives TCF exclusive debit and gift card access to university alums and Gophers' season ticket holders, and extends TCF's banking arrangements with students and university staff. The bank pays the university a fee for each account it acquires.

The university's bill for a new stadium has received positive reaction from lawmakers and the governor.

Said university President Robert Bruininks, "I'm not concerned about whether we have support (in the Legislature), but I am concerned about this getting lost in the legislative shuffle."