As the Minnesota Vikings and the state’s legislature continue to haggle over public money and how it will be used to finance a new stadium, the NFL club has reached a tentative agreement that will fatten the coffers of its in-state football sibling.
In a press release sent out late Thursday night, the University of Minnesota announced that it had “agreed to a Letter of Intent which allows the Vikings’ use of TCF Bank Stadium during potential construction at the current Metrodome site of a new stadium for the National Football League franchise.”
The school’s Board of Regents will meet tomorrow and likely rubber stamp the LOI, and president Eric Kaler is expected to sign the deal in the next few days.
“The Minnesota Vikings are an important asset to the state and we were pleased to work with them on reaching a mutually beneficial arrangement to host them on our campus,” Kaler said in a statement. “The Vikings will remain part of the Twin Cities region during construction of their new stadium, while the proceeds from this arrangement will be invested in our athletic department to enhance Gopher sports.”
Money is also an important asset to the state’s flagship university, and the Gophers will be paid handsomely to play host to the NFL club. Per the release, the university will be paid $3 million annually for allowing the Vikings to play eight regular season and two meaningle$$ preseason games. The breakdown is as follows:
Under the agreement, the Vikings will pay the university a fixed fee of $250,000 per game. In addition, concessions, sponsorship and advertising dollars will be divided between the parties under the terms of the Letter of Intent, said university General Counsel Mark Rotenberg. He stated that the additional revenue to the university is expected to be $50,000 per game…
The agreement also states that “[t]he Vikings may lease TCF Bank Stadium for up to four consecutive NFL seasons anticipated to start in 2013; or, they can play at the facility for all or part of one NFL season, anticipated to be the 2015 season.” During whatever period it is that the Vikings utilize TCF Bank Stadium, the team will be permitted to play only one weeknight game per season, with that date subject to approval by the university.
The home of the Gophers is an open-air stadium that was completed in 2009. If all goes as planned, this will mark the first season the Vikings have played a full year of games outdoors in nearly three decades.
It won’t be the club’s first rodeo in TCF Bank Stadium, however. In December of 2010, the inflatable roof of the Metrodome collapsed, and the Vikings were forced to play its Dec. 20 game against the Chicago Bears at the university’s stadium.