Zygi Wilf Can Buy His Own Stadium
When Gov. Mark Dayton and state lawmakers announced that the outlines of a new budget deal were in place, the Minnesota Vikings were hoping that the door was finally open to discuss their plan for a new $1 billion stadium in the Twin Cities suburbs.
It may not be quite that simple.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf spoke with Dayton on Friday, telling him in a phone conversation that the team wants a stadium bill to be considered in a special legislative session expected to begin next week, according to Vikings vice president for stadium affairs Lester Bagley.
"He made the case that now is the time," Bagley said. "We've done everything that has been asked of us. It's time to do it. We're down to months left on our lease and every day that goes by, the cost of the project goes up."
… Arden Hills is about 10 miles north of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. The new facility would be located at the site of a former Army ammunition plant with plans to open in spring 2015.
Wilf and the Vikings have pledged more than $400 million to the project, which also calls for a half-cent sales tax in Ramsey County that would contribute another $350 million and $300 million in state money.
This is just disgusting. Depending on where you Google, Zygi Wilf is worth somewhere around $300 million and the Vikings franchise itself is worth around $700 million. If he wants a new stadium, he has several options:
- invest more of his own fortune and the team’s worth into the new facility
- ask the team’s fans to invest into the facility in exchange for benefits (priority access to available tickets? special access to memorabilia?)
- Get banks or investors to loan or invest the needed funds
The Vikings are a cash generating franchise. If a new stadium is a good investment, Wilf shouldn’t have any problems obtaining the funding he needs. If a new stadium isn’t a good investment, Wilf shouldn’t be demanding that the Minnesota taxpayers fund his boondoggle.
It’s disgusting the way that he’s demanding that a state that’s struggled to close a $5 billion budget hole turn around and give $300 million in state money and $350 million in county money to his privately owned business. I hope the state legislature smacks him down and shuts the door on his demands.