Negotiations over the Vikings

Negotitations over the Minnesota Vikings are reaching a head. At this point, Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler has exclusive negotiating rights with Red McCombs, the current Vikings owner. But Mankato’s local boy and Minnesota State University graduate, Glen Taylor, is waiting in the wings. Fowler’s group, according to this St. Paul Pioneer Press article, may end up paying around $635 million for the franchise if they indeed get it. A sticking point with Fowler’s group will be Fowler’s net worth and his liabilities. He is reportedly worth “only” $400 million, possibly not enough to buy an NFL franchise (there goes my dream of being the next Dan Snyder!). But here’s a really interesting quote regarding another sticking point from the Pioneer Press article:

Some people speculate that Fowler’s trio of New Jersey real estate partners are so well-heeled that the group might not need public funding for a new stadium on 700 acres in Blaine and instead would try to develop the area on their own.

However, other NFL owners might frown on such an idea because it could set an awkward precedent for stadium building. Because Taylor would want public approval for a stadium, NFL owners might favor a bid for the Vikings by him, among other reasons because it might be in their best interests.

Yuck! We sure wouldn’t want to send a signal that team owners could make do with private funding. Heaven forbid.

Should negotiations with Fowler fall through, then Taylor becomes the main focus. The amount Taylor would pay depends on the ability of the Vikings to get a new stadium. Here’s some information from a Minneapolis Star-Tribune article about the negotiations:

Taylor’s bid for the team was linked to the funding and opening of a new stadium for the Vikings, most likely in Anoka County.

It factored in the value of the franchise in the Dome and the certain increased value of the team if and when it gets into a new stadium.

Part of Taylor’s payment to McCombs would come on the day a new stadium would open or the end of the Metrodome’s lease in 2011, whichever comes first.

When reached in Mankato Saturday, Taylor confirmed that “about 10 days ago,” he submitted a series of options to McCombs.

Taylor said, knowing that McCombs was seeking $600 million, “we gave him several different proposals that would make it to 600,” Taylor said.

In one, Taylor proposed that he put down $400 million upfront and then $200 million when a new stadium has opened.

Would McCombs be willing to sell the team at $400 (or some other amount) for sure and leave the balance to Taylor’s skill at playing politics? Glen Taylor would be more effective than Fowler’s group at getting a new stadium built with public money since Taylor is “one of us” and because he’s a former Minnesota state senator. Being “one of us” has been important everywhere I’ve lived (Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Minnesota), but it seems to be a little more important up here. What will end up happeing? Stay tuned, sports fans.

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Author: Phil Miller

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