Kevin Warren is the chief operating officer for the Vikings. The team offered another preview of its upcoming practice complex on Wednesday, apparently, and Warren gave several quotes to Sid Hartman, including this:
“As far as the overall development, it will be a major investment … The Wilfs have decided to put their own personal money in to make sure they bring an iconic venue to Eagan and the Twin Cities.”
To cite the Church Lady: “Well, isn’t that special.”
Zygi Wilf and relatives have been presented with a stadium costing $1.13 billion. Public funds were used for $498 million, seat licenses put $100 million in the coffers, U.S. Bank will come up with $220 million for 25 years of naming rights, and the NFL is throwing in $150 million (as grants, not a loan).
That takes care of $968 million, and we won’t talk about the other sponsorship giveaways the Vikings were handed inside and outside of the stadium.
At maximum, you can give the Wilfs credit for reaching into the team’s coffers for $162 million for the cost of the stadium — or 14 percent of the tab for the football shrine that now has their franchise value estimated at $2.2 billion.
Part of the bonus for the enormous public investment was a strong hint from the NFL that building such a stadium would allow the Twin Cities to host a Super Bowl. After spending hundreds of millions to do this, a local taxpayer not aware of the NFL’s pathetic greed might have thought that was enough.
No chance. The NFL also demands an estimated $50 million to be raised for freebies for owners, sponsors and other entities. I mean, you can’t expect a guy like Jerry Jones with a team valued at $4.2 billion to come to town and slap down a credit card to cover the cost of hotel suites for his collection of hangers-on.
The Super Bowl Host Committee in the Twin Cities is so embarrassed by the fundraising it has had to do to cover the $50 million that it won’t confirm the number, nor list the NFL freebies and the corporations that have donated to this billionaires assistance program.
Let’s face it: We would all rather see a corporation’s charitable giving go for hotel suites and limos for Jerry Jones and Stan Kroenke than for something as frivolous as a Ronald McDonald House.
Plus, we haven’t seen the list of donators, so there’s a possibility that Zygi might have tossed 25 grand into the host committee’s pot to maintain his standard for generosity.
After this double-barreled gouge, stadium and paying the NFL’s ransom demand for a Super Bowl, it’s amazing that even COO Warren would try to make the Wilfs look like magnanimous folks for paying for their practice complex.
Actually, it’s such a hunk of land that it’s basically another real estate investment for the Wilfs — and there’s still nothing official on what arm-bending has been done with Eagan politicians to shelter the Vikings from full costs.
If those folks even put in a new street light without it being covered by the Vikings, and the profiteering Wilfs, they are saps.
Finally, a note to Warren:
There’s never been an “iconic” practice facility and there never is going to be. Do yourself a favor and remove that horrid cliché when trying to make the ridiculous case that the Wilfs are being grand citizens by using some of their immense Vikings’ profit to build their own practice complex.