Minnesota Vikings stadium plan clears final legislative hurdle

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton applied the final legislative touch on a new $975 million stadium for the Vikings on Thursday, putting his signature to a plan the Senate approved earlier in the day that relied heavily on public financing.

Dayton had said he'd sign the measure, meaning the Senate's 36-30 vote earlier Thursday was effectively the final barrier for the stadium. The House passed it overnight Monday.

The team chased a new stadium for more than a decade but had little leverage until its lease expired this past year on the 30-year-old Metrodome.

The deal guarantees the Vikings' future in Minnesota for three decades, but it still needs to be approved by 24 of 32 NFL owners, according to the Pioneer Press.

The team would pay 49 percent of construction costs: $477 million, which is $50 million more than owners initially committed. But the public expense is still high: $348 million for the state and $150 million for the city of Minneapolis.

The Vikings intend to take advantage of an NFL loan program, sell naming rights and possibly impose seat license fees to help cover the team's end of construction costs.

Under the bill, the Vikings would sign a 30-year lease on a stadium to be built on the site of the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The team would pay about $13 million annually in operating fees, though a public authority gets the power to rent out the building on non-game days for concerts, conventions and special events. The Wilfs would get exclusive rights to recruit a professional soccer team to Minnesota.

The bill gives the Vikings the option to upgrade to a retractable roof, but at their expense. Bagley said the Vikings haven't decided if they'll make that enhancement.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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