MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 17: NFL owner John Mara (L) of the New York Giants and Art Rooney II, president of the Pittsburgh Steelers leaves court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 17, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the NFL lockout remains in place mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down in March. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
The Minnesota House Government Operations Committee voted against a bill that would have constructed a $975 million stadium for the Vikings this past week.
After that, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Steelers president and chair of the NFL's stadium committee hopped a plane to St. Paul to meet with legislators.
They're singing a different tune now. fter the failed vote, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said "We have to get a stadium next year or the Vikings will leave. It's just as clear as that." A companion bill was proposed to the senate's Senate's Local Government and Elections Committee, and it passed Friday - barely - with an 8-6 vote.
Reports indicate Goodell and Rooney did not bring with them an ultimatum, but it seems more likely one didn't need to be made any way. Edward Roski, a partial owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings, has everything cleared for an $800 million stadium outside Los Angeles. All he is waiting for is a team. The Vikings clearly would have explored fully the possibility of selling at least a 30 percent stake in the team - Roski's request - and moving it to Los Angeles, just like the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA did in 1959.
Instead, life in the proposed project - which includes $398 million from a tax on scratch-off lottery tickets and an extension of a current hospitality tax in the city of Minneapolis providing another $150 million - has life again.
Rooney's role in the matter was to present the economic benefits of a new stadium and revitalized growth in an area I can say, as a Minneapolis suburban resident, is stagnant. The Metrodome itself isn't the only bland aspect of the area in which it rests. Hennepin County's largest hospital sits nearly adjacent to the tenant-less domed facility, and the aging buildings around it clearly have seen better days. A re-investment into this once proud area would be a boost to the city and the taxpayers who are footing the bill.
The Warehouse District, now home to Target Field and the Minnesota Twins, had an overhaul of development that coincided with the construction of the stadium. Obviously, economic development comes with a cost, and it's a big decision for the legislature. The NFL does not want the Vikings to be the team that will move to Los Angeles, but there is little doubt among Dayton, Goodell, Rooney or many Minnesotans that will be the result should a stadium not be built.