The Wilfs prevail


Vikings owners make clean sweep


The Vikings and Sports Authority signed their new stadium agreement on October 3rd, resulting in Vikings ownership prevailing on their stated goals regarding the lease agreement, licensing, naming rights, concession ownership, and development package.

The day before the Vikings-Sports Authority deal was signed, Minnesota Spokesman Recorder ran my column (written eight days earlier), repeating 18 months of warning: “the Vikings will have to be given everything they want in order to stay.”

At signing the next day, Governor Dayton admitted “yes: failure to satisfy Vikings ownership demands would guarantee losing the team… The economics of professional sports are highly questionable all over this country… We wouldn’t have an agreement here and we wouldn’t have a team staying here if we hadn’t been willing to accede to demand[s] on the team’s part from the very beginning of the process.”

Experts estimate Vikings can generate at least $100 million more a year. Will they put it in their pockets or use it to sign/hold better players? Minnesota ticket holders and taxpayers alike: is it all worth 10 games a year that most can’t attend but can watch only from TV?

Yes, there will be temporary jobs during construction (but many to workers from outside Minnesota). Ten games per year won’t create year-round stadium jobs. Tickets will cost more and season tickets will require first purchasing a license to make them eligible to purchase a season ticket. The Vikings had the best of all hands: five aces, no reshuffle, and no redeal.

Now the Vikings await the successful completion of construction by M. A. Mortenson, with the Sports Facilities Authority, with both shouldering the obligation to pay any cost overruns. The Vikings out-of-state ownership juggernaut is in place. Minnesota gave away its leverage. Time will tell if this will really be a “peoples” stadium?

When will the Star Tribune, a key component of the people’s plaza development, give us a better understanding regarding how this affects Minnesota taxpayers? When will Star Tribune do a three-part series on who won and who lost? As I have long maintained: the guys from the East Coast had the best plan going in and the best plan going out, all the way to the bank. And Minnesota had none.

History has been made. The Wilfs have their stadium. They await the 2016 opening. Then their beloved Vikings will reap profits for the Wilfs Sports Empire. Empire building is about knowing the terrain, knowing the weaknesses and strengths of whom you deal with, and having a plan to implement all aspects of the creation of a Great Empire. Minnesota never replaced its “Leave Plan” with “Stay Plan.” Wilfs did.

Maybe the University of MN and other colleges can develop business courses on “How to Create a Sports Empire in the Mid-West by Those from the East Coast.” What a historical journey as we watched the creation of the Wilf Sports Empire. It ranks with the development and planning of the Continental Railroad from the East to the West, with a new 30-year stopover in Minnesota. Not blinded by vanity, Wilfs knew how to get the job done. Blinded by vanity, Minnesota gave it away.

I write this because I care about our community and the failure of not only our Black leaders but also White nonprofit do-gooder leaders who all failed to stand up for stadium hiring diversity compliance. Failure in hiring Blacks will now strike the Vikings Stadium as it did the Gophers and Twins stadiums and other large construction projects. When will any leadership stand up against “Blacks need not apply”?

Stay tuned


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