Mike Ozanian over at Forbes.com made an interesting claim on Friday regarding NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s visit to Minnesota to lobby for a new Vikings stadium. Ozanian wrote:
“The fact is the league wants to expand and would get much more (probably in excess of $1 billion) for new team in Los Angeles that it would get from [Vikings owner Zygi] Wilf as a relocation fee (maybe $200 million) to move the Vikings to L.A. Expansion and relocation money is divvied up among the league’s owners, so an $800 million difference would amount to $25 million per team. Goodell is fighting to get that dough for his bosses.”
Goodell did seem to tip his hand when discussing expansion during Super Bowl week, indicating that the league would go to 34 teams instead of 33. Goodell tried to walk back his comments the next day stating that there were no plans for speculation.
The NFL clearly stands to make money if the public is persuaded into paying for a new Vikings stadium. But if the public does not comply, it would be a huge symbolic defeat for the NFL and the public financing of stadiums around the league. Minnesota is the league’s best chance at this point to win public funding for stadium construction or renovation. The other stadiums that owners would like to renovate or replace — San Diego, Buffalo and St. Louis — face even longer odds for winning public financing.
A Vikings stadium bill is now on the floor of the Minnesota House and one is working its way through the Senate. The bills still face long odds, but there is clearly some renewed energy after Goodell’s visit. With legislators wanting to recess within a week, this week is make or break for the legislation.
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