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Published May 09, 2012, 10:25 PM

MN Lawmakers Add $50M to Vikings' Stadium Tab

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers working out the final version of a bill for a new Vikings stadium have raised the amount the team would pay by $50 million.

By: Brian Bakst, Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers working out the final version of a bill for a new Vikings stadium have raised the amount the team would pay by $50 million.

The Vikings originally committed to paying $427 million, or about 44 percent of the construction costs of the $975 million stadium.

But both the House and Senate demanded this week that the Vikings pay more. If both chambers approve the new bill and Gov. Mark Dayton signs it, it'll be up to the team whether to accept the new terms.

The Vikings have been pushing to replace the 30-year-old Metrodome, saying they can't make enough money in it to compete.

There was no immediate word from the Vikings if the deal was acceptable to them. For weeks team executives insisted they wouldn't up their contribution.

The new stadium would be built on the site of the Metrodome near downtown Minneapolis.

The state's share was to come through expanded gambling, which some legislators opposed on principle. Others worried the state overestimated the money it would get by authorizing charitable organizations to offer electronic versions of pull tabs, a low-tech paper game offered in bars and restaurants around the state.

Still others opposed any new taxes to benefit the Vikings' billionaire owners, New Jersey developers Zygi and Mark Wilf.

The Vikings had sought a new stadium for more than a decade, arguing that they couldn't compete in the outdated Metrodome. But the team had little leverage until its lease expired after last season. The Vikings are obligated to play this season in Minnesota but could move after that.

The most frequently mentioned relocation market, Los Angeles, doesn't appear ready to host a team, but Minnesotans have painful memories of losing franchises before. The NBA Lakers left for Los Angeles in 1960, and the NHL North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993.

Losing the Vikings, the state's most popular team, would hurt far worse. Gov. Mark Dayton made a new stadium a top priority last fall, touting the project as a job creator in addition to preserving a valuable asset.

Despite his efforts, the legislation appeared stalled until NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell visited the Capitol in late April to urge lawmakers to act. After his visit, the stadium plan revived and limped through committees, with Vikings fans in jerseys, face paint and purple spandex looking on at every turn.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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