Each week throughout the Legislative Session, vikings.com will provide an exclusive stadium Q&A feature that will allow Vikings fans to submit questions. Each week Vikings VP of Public Affairs Lester Bagley and/or Vikings Assistant Director of Public Affairs Jeff Anderson will answer those questions. This will be a great way to stay involved and stay informed in this discussion. This week, Jeff Anderson will answer your questions. If you have additional stadium questions, find Jeff on Twitter - @andersonj.
To submit a question for this new feature, email your question to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put STADIUM QUESTION in the subject line of the email so we know your inquiry is stadium-related. If you submitted a question this week but it's not included below, we'll try and get to your question next week. Feel free to submit it again this week to ensure we receive it.
Q: Why don’t the Vikings have a donation site for the stadium? They should let the fans get involved to help finance the stadium. In return, the Vikings should show their appreciation by dedicating a wall to the fans who donated to the team…The prices would be anything but this would be a good way to gain extra money for the stadium and to have the team show how much they care about their fans. – Quen Lamb, Hamden CT
A: Quen, this is a great suggestion. It’s a similar idea to the Vikings license plates, and one that may be a part of the final finance package, albeit a small piece. Because stadium construction requires a significant revenue source(s) that can support bonds, a more robust form of financing will be needed. We are hopeful though that there will be ways for fans to support a new stadium and for us to show our appreciation for that involvement.
Q: My question is what can someone who is from out of state like me do to help get this deal DONE? I live in South Dakota and have been a Vikings fan my entire life of almost 35 years. And I must say it is maddening to think the only team I really love could go away after 50 years! Many like me feel helpless to what may happen, and unless the team would move to South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa or Nebraska, well you get the idea. The Vikings are not just Minnesota’s team; they, to me, are more.
-- Chris Winseman, South Dakota (similar question from Tom O’Neill in Honesdale, PA)
A: Thanks for being such longtime out-of-state fans, Chris and Tom. Most people don’t realize this, but 22% of Vikings Season Ticket Owners actually live outside of Minnesota. We’re very fortunate to have such a strong following around the country.
Yes, out-of-state fans can play a role in this effort. Check out www.MinnesotaMomentum.com and click on the Contact Your Legislator button. You can email Governor Dayton directly from our site to express support for the team and say thank you for his leadership on this issue. Personal stories about how you visit Minnesota for games are especially helpful. Other ways you can get involved include telling friends and family about our efforts, submitting personal fan stories/videos to email@example.com and just being an active participant in any stadium discussions online.
Q: Have, or are, the Vikings looking into the cost difference between a fixed roof and a retractable roof, and which one do the Vikings have a preference on? Also, what do you think is the one most important characteristic that goes into any new stadium that is built? Thanks for your time in reading this and to the Vikings organization for staying classy in this long fight to get a new stadium.
-- Chris Gehl, Eau Claire, WI
A: Thanks for the kind words, Chris. We’ve received a ton of questions and comments regarding an open air stadium vs. a covered facility. A fixed roof adds roughly $200 million to the overall project costs, while a retractable roof is likely closer to $240 million, depending on the materials used. A lot of thought/discussion has gone into this topic, and while the Vikings do not require a roof for the team’s use of the stadium, we recognize the benefit to the State by making the stadium a multi-purpose, year-round facility. One just has to look at the Metrodome roof collapse and the hundreds of events that have been canceled since to see it’s clearly a State asset that is used for much more than Vikings games. As such, State leaders are advocating for a major, climate-controlled facility, and we are excited about sitting down to determine the appropriate finance package and cost-sharing agreement.
As far as the most important characteristic, it’s difficult to pick one. There will be several fan amenities to a new stadium, including more restrooms, wider concourses and increased concessions, but most importantly a new facility will provide an overall better game day experience for fans – similar to what people experience at the Xcel Energy Center or the new Target Field. Personally I’m excited about the maximized sideline seating – putting more fans between the goal lines rather than in the end zones – and the potential for a Vikings Hall of Fame and team store.
Q: Instead of dumping money into the Metrodome, why can’t they take the top off for the remaining contract? Wouldn’t this save a lot of money to reinvest into a newer stadium?
A: Good question, Ron. As you likely know, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) is the public entity that operates the Metrodome. They have determined the roof needs to be replaced for the hundreds of events that take place in the facility and the uncertainty regarding the Vikings stadium situation. For example, if legislation is passed this year and a new stadium is built on a site other than the Metrodome, the team will play the next four seasons in the existing facility. But more importantly, the Metrodome was not built to be an outdoor facility that can handle the elements, so taking the roof off is not an option.
Q: I was wondering where the Vikings will play after the 2011 season. You said that if they start the stadium right now it wouldn’t be finished until 2015, and the Vikings lease in the Metrodome is up after the 2011 season, so I was wondering if they will extend the lease until 2015?
-- Austin Wicklund
A: Thanks, Austin. If legislation passes that builds a new stadium at a location other than the current Metrodome site, the Vikings would continue playing at the Metrodome until the new facility opens. If the Metrodome site is selected, the Vikings have had preliminary discussions with the University of Minnesota about playing at TCF Bank Stadium for three years.