Minnesota Vikings Football at TCF Bank Stadium

A preliminary agreement has been reached between the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Vikings for the use of TCF Bank Stadium while the new Wilf Stadium is being finished.

While some of the details have been hammered out, in other areas this agreement is just laying the framework for the rest to be ironed out at a later date. From the perspective of the University this agreement is significant for a couple of reasons. Facility upgrades and revenue.

One facility upgrade has been set and agreed upon. The Vikings will be paying for the installation of specialized heating coils under the playing surface. The installation of building permanent, additional seating is yet to be determined but in the meantime the Vikings will be paying for "temporary bleacher-style" seating in the western end zone plaza. The language in the press release leaves permanent seating as an open option stating, "Any new seating is subject to approval by the university’s building code division."

MNDailyGuy asked in a fan post about whether or not permanent, additional seating would be a good thing or not. Having someone else pay for the additional seating would be great! But right now I think that additional seating means thousands additional empty seats. If the Vikings want/need permanent seating and want to pay for it I don't think we tell them no. But I also am not losing any sleep over not getting a guarantee of additional, permanent seats.

In addition to the stated upgrades the University is going to get a very nice chunk of change for leasing their facility to the Vikings. The agreement states that the Vikings will pay the University $250,000 per game plus a share of concessions which is estimated to to be an additional $50,000. After 10 guaranteed home games that equates to $3,000,000 of additional revenue being put back into the Athletic Department budget.

Personally I think they should have requested more. With the Vikings average ticket price being just above $75 (2010 data). And the stadium capacity at TCF being just over 50,000. That equates to $3,750,000 just in ticket sales revenue. That is with ticket price data being a year old and not factoring in the additional seats at TCF. Plus when you add in the concession sales and suite revenue the Vikings are likely going to be bringing in north of $5,000,000 per game. The University will end up with approximately 6% of that revenue (in my back of the envelope calculations). And this is also using 2012 numbers, in 2015 you can be sure that ticket prices will be higher. Even just asking for $300,000 per game plus concessions would bring an additional $500,000 to the U.

But maybe that is just be being greedy. Getting a $3,000,000 bonus and not paying a dime in additional expenses is huge for the athletic department. The framework of the agreement has also been left open in regards to the duration of the lease. I think it is certain that the Viking's 2015 season will be played entirely at TCF but there is availability for the Vikings to play all or part of any season beginning in 2013. If we get lucky enough that construction requires the Vikings to be homeless before 2015, that is just additional money in the athletic department coffers.

My guess is that if the Vikings only play for 1 season at the Bank, then temporary seating will be the answer. But if they are required to play additional games or seasons on the U's campus then permanent seating will be discussed. We'll name it the Ziggy Wilf Family section.

full text of the University's press release after the jump...

University of Minnesota and Minnesota Vikings reach preliminary agreement for Vikings' use of TCF Bank Stadium

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (05/10/2012) -The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Vikings have agreed to a Letter of Intent which allows the Vikings' use of TCF Bank Stadium during potential construction at the current Metrodome site of a new stadium for the National Football League franchise. Subject to Board of Regents approval at its meeting tomorrow, university President Eric Kaler may sign the Letter of Intent in the next few days.

The Letter of Intent provides that the Vikings will reimburse the university for all changes they require for TCF Bank Stadium, and all non-game day expenses and game-day operational expenses related to the franchise's use of the facility. In addition, the Vikings will pay rent to the university and share a portion of additional concessions and sponsorship revenues.

"The Minnesota Vikings are an important asset to the state and we were pleased to work with them on reaching a mutually beneficial arrangement to host them on our campus," Kaler said. "The Vikings will remain part of the Twin Cities region during construction of their new stadium, while the proceeds from this arrangement will be invested in our athletic department to enhance Gopher sports."

Hosting Vikings games at TCF Bank Stadium not only will affect the campus, but also will impact surrounding neighborhoods. Throughout talks with the Vikings, university leaders have emphasized addressing concerns of campus neighbors.

"The university is committed to proactively addressing stadium and campus operational issues and to minimizing any potential impact on the university community and our neighbors," Kaler said. "For Vikings games at TCF Bank Stadium, the university will control stadium and campus operations and will exercise the same level of care for traffic and noise management, litter control and public safety as is our standard for Gopher events."

The Vikings also will appoint a representative to serve as the franchise's contact and neighborhood liaison. Additionally, the team will make a contribution to the existing neighborhood mitigation fund.

Under the agreement, the Vikings will pay the university a fixed fee of $250,000 per game. In addition, concessions, sponsorship and advertising dollars will be divided between the parties under the terms of the Letter of Intent, said university General Counsel Mark Rotenberg. He stated that the additional revenue to the university is expected to be $50,000 per game, resulting in a combined rent and expected concessions and sponsorship revenue amount of $300,000 per game, or $3 million per regular NFL season.

The Letter of Intent provides the following:

TCF Bank Stadium changes

  • Installation of specialized heating coils under the playing surface.
  • Installation of temporary bleacher-style seats in the western end zone plaza. Any new seating is subject to approval by the university's building code division.

Duration of lease and days of play

  • Two scenarios are allowed. The Vikings may lease TCF Bank Stadium for up to four consecutive NFL seasons anticipated to start in 2013; or, they can play at the facility for all or part of one NFL season, anticipated to be the 2015 season. A standard NFL season includes 10 football games (two preseason and eight regular season games), plus any home playoff games.
  • TCF Bank Stadium will be available for Sunday games only and one weeknight game per season, on a date that must be approved by the university.
  • The Vikings will work with the NFL to minimize scheduling conflicts with the university's intercollegiate athletic activities and other campus events.

Alcohol

  • The terms of alcohol sales at TCF Bank Stadium during Vikings games are subject to Board of Regents approval at a later date. Governor Dayton signed legislation April 27, 2012 that returns full authority to the Board of Regents with respect to the sale of alcoholic beverages during intercollegiate athletic events at the Stadium, Williams Arena, and Mariucci Arena, so long as the university provides for the sale of alcohol to the general public at a convenient location in the Stadium at least through half-time during intercollegiate football games. This legislation expires July 1, 2014.

Copies of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents resolution and the Letter of Intent will be available at the Board of Regents meeting tomorrow. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at 600 McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak Street S.E., Minneapolis.

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