The Minnesota Vikings and the University of Minnesota have finalized the agreement that allows the Vikings to use TCF Bank Stadium while the new Vikings stadium is under construction. Here are the key details:
The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms on a Facility Use Agreement that allows the Vikings to use TCF Bank Stadium for the 2014 and 2015 NFL seasons. The agreement also allows for two additional seasons if necessary.
The use agreement stipulates that the Vikings will reimburse the University for any required TCF Bank Stadium capital improvements, as well as all game-day operational expenses. In addition, the Vikings will pay the University a per-game rent of $250,000 for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, with minimal increases if additional seasons were to be required. The team will also share $50,000 per game in concessions, advertising and sponsorship revenue. In total, the Vikings will pay the University $300,000 per game, with a maximum of $3 million for each NFL season.
And the nitty gritty details:
Lease Duration/Scheduling Restrictions
The Vikings are expected to play at TCF Bank Stadium for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, but the agreement allows for use through the 2017 season with proper notification.
- 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, as well as for Saturday games when there is not a conflict with a scheduled Gopher football home game. The Vikings may play one weeknight game per season when University classes are not in session and on a date approved by the University.
- The Vikings will work with the NFL to minimize conflicts with the University's academic calendar, intercollegiate athletic activities and other campus events.
Along with reimbursing the University for all Vikings game day expenses, the team will provide $3 million annually in compensation:
- $250,000 rent per game.
- $50,000 share of concessions, advertising and sponsorship revenue per game.
Certain improvements to TCF Bank Stadium are necessary for winter stadium operation and to meet specific NFL mandates, including:
- Installation of new turf and an appropriate heating element for the playing surface to be determined by Vikings and University officials.
- Installation of heat trace pipe to ensure cold weather plumbing functionality.
- Potential installation of additional temporary seating in the western end zone plaza, subject to approval by the University's building code division (number of seats yet to be determined by Vikings and University officials).
- Any necessary modification of existing video platform to meet NFL broadcast requirements.
- Installation of additional insulation in various locations around TCF Bank Stadium.
- Build-out of storage space within TCF Bank Stadium.
Alcohol sales and consumption will be allowed in TCF Bank Stadium on Vikings game days, subject to Board of Regents policies and restrictions.
Tailgating will be allowed in parking lots designated by the University under the same rules in effect for University football game days.
When Gopher athletic director Norwood Teague was asked to comment on the details of the deal he had this to say:
Thoughts On The Deal
A couple notable things that jump out to me:
- The "no weekday games when classes are in session" clause means the Vikes probably won't see a Monday or Thursday night game while they are at TCF. As noted by Chris Gates over a TDN, in a traditional U school calendar year only weeks 16 and 17 would take place when the U is not in session, and there are no Mon/Thurs games in Week 17. Sunday night games would seem to be fair game though. Someone cue the neighborhood association displeasure.
- There is a cap of 3 million dollars on the payments owed to the U. That means the U could miss out on a little bit of money (up to $600,000) should the Vikings earn themselves homefield advantage in the playoffs during 2014-2015.
- The U and the Vikings are planning for the possibility that the Vikings might be at TCF for more than 2 seasons. While I don't expect this to happen, the advance planning is notable given the stadium's funding issues.
- Vikings fans will once again be able to tailgate.
- BEER! It will be interesting to see how the "subject to Board of Regents policies and restrictions" portion of the agreement plays out. Perhaps the Vikings presence in TCF will convince the U to open up more points of sale in the concourse. Either that, or expect Vikes fans to bitch bitch bitch about having to get beer from the open end. Also, will beer sales go until the end of the 3rd quarter or cut off at halftime like they do now? Etc, etc.
- EVERYONE SAY THANK YOU TO UNCLE ZYGI FOR BUYING US SUCH NICE GIFTS. Ah yes, the capital improvements. Obviously TCF is getting a heated field. Not really needed for the Gophers, but it's a nice to have upgrade and it's FREE! The cold weather plumbing upgrades are a nice win as well, especially if you're hoping to see outdoor hockey played at TCF. Temp seats are in there as expected (those expecting permanent seating changes can now calm down). I'm wondering what the "video platform" upgrades will consist of though.
- Things I'm not seeing in the deal? Any mention of parking revenues, though I expect PTS will be cashing some fat checks during these years. Also not specified is how many lots will be opened for tailgating, if Vikings season ticket holders will be able to purchase seatbacks for the benches, what kind of Viking banners/ads (if any) will be allowed up on a temporary basis, etc.
All in all, this is a good deal for the U. It brings in revenue at a time when seed money is needed for facilities projects. Sure, 6 million over 2 years isn't a major windfall (my Scrooge McDuck GIF notwithstanding) but it's nothing to sneeze at either.