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Hang Time
By Steve Stockmar
Daily Courier sports editor Steve Stockmar gives you the cheat sheet for today’s top sports stories.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Playing politics with the new Vikings stadium

By Steve Stockmar

Jim Mone/The Associated Press

Is it me or is Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton playing politics? (I know, I know. Say it ain't so, right?)

AP reported Tuesday night that Gov. Dayton went public that he does not believe that the Minnesota Vikings should consider imposing extra fees on season-ticket holders as a way to help cover the team's share of a new $975 million stadium.

Sounds great. Man-of-the-people stuff on the part of Dayton.

The team immediately countered back saying that the fees have long been part of the agreement that the club, with Dayton as an ally, had hammered out for the new stadium. The new digs, to be built at the current Metrodome site, are expected to open for the 2016 season.

I can believe an agreement was made, politically and financially, to bring a new Vikings stadium to the Twin Cities. I can also believe that none of the principals went public previously with the suddenly troublesome seat license fees, which are now "outed," so to speak.

So as long as no one in the public knew anyway, I can believe an opportunistic politician could come forward and steer a conservation toward him looking out for the people.

That's a good move. The stadium's coming; a good-guy badge is pinned; and the big bad guys take the public relations hit.

But the Vikings quickly released a statement saying permission to sell so-called stadium builder's licenses was a "key component" of legislation that was "vetted by the Legislature, testified to by Vikings and state of Minnesota negotiators" and signed by the governor, who now is shouting from the mountain top that the deal is bad because fans will get hosed.

You tell me. Am I being too cynical about a beef at the intersection of pro sports and politics?

Is this an honest beef by Dayton on behalf of fans getting squeezed by corporate NFL ownership, or political posturing by a governor who knew about the fees all along behind closed doors?

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Article comment by: Matriarch In Training

Mr. Stockmar, Governor Dayton was intimately involved in the negotiations to build the new Viking's stadium. Since everyone else knew of the potential licensing fees, I think you have your answer.

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