TO KEEP THE VIKINGS OR NOT TO KEEP THE VIKINGS THAT IS THE MINNESOTA QUESTION!
August 19, 2001
This is a 5 page SUMMARY of a 25 page Letter (11 sections, 6 attachments), submitted, for The Minnesota Legislature appointed task force established in August to study the question, to: Steve Sviggum, House Speaker Roger D. Moe, Senate Majority Leader
(Copy sent to: Roy Terwilliger, Larry Fitzgerald, John Marty, David Jennings, Otis Courtney, Sarah Psick, Victor Moore, Tom Hanson)
463 State Office Building 208 Capitol Building
100 Constitution Avenue 75 Constitution Avenue Saint Paul, MN 55155 St. Paul, MN 55155-1606 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Office: (651) 296-2273; Home: 507-789-4673 Office: (651) 296-2577; Home: (218) 574-2216
The reader is invited to write or call or E-mail them as well.
See also www.vikingsstadium.com Here is the basic idea: IF the various main stakeholder groups in Minnesota (teams and their owners € legislators and their jurisdictions € state and city officials and agencies € Metrodome and its managers € corporations and the university € urban/suburban/rural € white/black/brown/ yellow € fans and non-fans € and citizens of all ages and persuations) can see that they are all partners in the sports-entertainment industry, THEN no one will lose and all will be winners (in economic, cultural, and quality-of-life terms). If each can help the other get what they need and what they want, all will get what they need and want. That is always at the heart of any great enterprise that involves great institutions and individuals.
7 "Good news" points of these documents and attachments are:
(1) The request of Red McCombs: "Show me" how a stadium deal can be done is answered by the 10 financing/operations models and 6 attachments (which can be used in a "mix and match" basis);
(2) A 4 track "Minnesota process" is presented as a candidate model to use for the overall process (Attachment #1),
(3) The call of Dave Jennings for a Minnesota "family discussion" to resolve the stadium questions is answered in the 14 models for resolving conflict,
(4) A group of models for conducting the communications component needed between and among each other are in 47 communications models for use by all parties involved to woo each other, especially wooing Red McCombs and the tax payers;
(5) 5 models are totally private funding models requiring no new taxes;
(6) The models will also work to give the Gophers their own stadium, and
(7) 3 on-line idea resources among many are available, including Minneapolis based www.vikingsstadium.com, and St. Paul based firstname.lastname@example.org. A great starting point for everyones research is www.ceoexpress.com. These materials combined with the work of the panel and a collective Minnesota political will get it done.
If one or more of the 10 financing/operational models are used, Minnesota gains $1-2 billion/year in direct and indirect revenue/year from its investment that it would not receive without the teams, not to mention the gains in cultural and quality-of-life terms in keeping the Vikings in Minnesota.
Minnesota CAN develop a private-public partnership to build and support the stadiums needed/wanted by the Gophers, Twins, and Vikings, with little or no new taxes, which meets the conditions and objections of the pro and con sides regarding public funding. In so doing, the goal of all will be met: that the people will benefit from the keeping their Vikings.
The 10 models are:
(1) The private investment/no new taxes models of (1) New Ballpark, Inc. (led by the heads of Wells Fargo and US Bank in the Twin Cities) and (2) C-17 for the Twins;
(2) An earlier commercial real estate multi-use stadium complex proposal made to the Twins, which would not require any new taxes or legislative action.
(3) The private-public Vikings model combines NFL and Vikings monies ($150 million), stadium related revenue from taxing ($200 million), leaving a gap of $150 million, which could be completely closed by a half cent hotel/motel tax.
(4) The multi-use facility/site model proposal made to the Vikings in August 2000, with its claim of not needing any new taxes and incurring no new debt.
(5) The university funding models that were a part of #4, Appendix A.
(6) The 40 ways to generate revenue in 26 revenue categories, which are part of #4 above.
(7) The private funding/no new taxes model proposed to the Vikings by Lyle Berman
(8) The private funding/no taxes model to proposed by Steve Young and Brent Jones, with backing from Silicon Valley, as they search for a team to buy.
(9) The combination of a casino with a stadium, either (a) on a reservation near the Twin Cities or (b) a state owned one from which the profits go to pay for the stadium, etc.
(10) A hybrid mix and match creatively developed from parts of any or all of the above..
I am convinced that Minnesota can make it happen, although some soul searching and compromise will all be a part of it. The only real question is: does Minnesota want to keep both the Twins and the Vikings? The fans do. Most legislators do. A small minority do not. This letter this summarizes and its attachments are about how to keep them with little or no new tax dollars, and how to get that across all so that it is not misunderstood. The outpouring of concern about Korey Stringer demonstrates the depth of emotion held by Minnesotans for their Vikings.
The key now is to make an announcement saying the stadium will happen, leaving only the "how" to be worked out. The best wording Ive seen so far is in the Vikings 2001 Official Team Guide, which, I believe is what everyone either wants or at least can accept, which is just as important. It states: committed to finding a fair and responsible stadium financing solution that will not increase the tax burden of the average Minnesotan." However, it too makes the critical mistake of not talking about what it will put up or is willing to, leaving it look as if they seek full stadium funding, which, of couse, will not fly with the voters. Therefore, you might consider changing it as follows for use as your mantra, as everyone clasps hands:
The legislature is committed to finding a fair and responsible stadium financing solution that will include over half of the costs being contributed by the team, and the rest using mechanisms which will not only not increase the tax burden of the average Minnesotan, but which will return revenue to the state in excess of what it invests in the projects, thus being a benefit for all.
The general consensus I am receiving from all of these sources is that people want the Vikings to stay but that political concerns have gotten in the way, especially after the debacle of 1997 with the Twins. It is my belief that the suggestions here will alleviate that and enable all stakeholder parties to achieve their goals without undue negative political fallout, especially if the steps of #7 below are followed: "Team/Legislative Breakthrough Process: 4 Tracks, 3 Sets of Models, 1 Red Carpet."
The attachments to the August 10, 2001 letter to Speaker Sviggum and Senator Moe are:
1. "Draft: Four track Process to Follow to Build Twin City Stadiums," PJJ, 7-23-01
2. My contributions to a St. Paul run Internet on-line list serve discussion group, email@example.com on "Public Financing of Sports Stadiums
3. "Beware of the Coming Corporate Backlash", Industry Week [also available at www.industryweek.com/CurrentArticles/asp/articles.asp?ArticleId=1006 ]. It speaks to the need for the private sector to take the lead before it gets bound by needless government regulations or negative and incorrect public opinion
4. "A Multi-Use Sports-Entertainment MODEL For Profitably Building and Operating a Professional Sports/Stadium/Arena/Team/Franchise, May 22, 2001, a generic re-write of a proposal submitted to the Vikings August 2000.
5. "10 Models of Conflict Resolution," Appendix A (one of three) of the August 2000 proposal to the Vikings, and now summarized in Appendix H of Attachment #4, with the longer version at attachment #5. These answer Dave Jennings call, in the August 10, 2000 Star Tribune on-line, that: "someone other that the teams have to create a public discussion about the future of the Twins and the Vikings in Minnesota. The teams are crying out for somebody to call the family meeting." These 10 have since been expanded to 14.
6. "47 Models of Communications Strategy," Appendix C of the August 2000 proposal to the Vikings (34 models then), and now summarized in Appendix K of Attachment #4 (as 40 models) and. These 40 have since been expanded to 47. They can be used to quickly and cheaply educate the public and the stakeholders of the need to go forward.
A key concern is the report in three papers that the Vikings are moving to L.A. This appeared in stories of (Charlie Walters, Pioneer Press, Patrick Reusse, Minneapolis Star Tribune Larry Fitzgerald, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder). Whatever may have been discussed is not written in stone. If what has been discussed says L.A. because a new stadium is not being built, the people of Minnesota, together, can act to reverse that, to ensure for the people of Minnesota that their Vikings wont follow their Lakers. A way of facilitating keeping the Vikings is what I have outlined below under "Team/Legislative Breakthrough Process: 4 Tracks, 3 Sets of Models, 1 Red Carpet."
This issue has a long history, including the previous owners. Therefore, this is not about Red McCombs. It is about the long term relationship of a people and its team. The constant is the people. Owners and players come and go. Fans go to see teams and, in many instances, specific players. When three reporters from three different papers talk about the team moving to L.A., the nature of the issue should be clear, a definite business decision has been made in the sense that the team will play in a new stadium. The only question is where: Minnesota, Los Angeles, Texas? The option is still open to keep them in Minnesota. Question: why isnt anyone openly trying to prevent a move? Are the "powers" not interested in the peoples interest in the peoples team?
These reporters have raised good questions. How can we provide them answers? My suggestion is below under "Team/Legislative Breakthrough Process: 4 Tracks, 3 Sets of Models, 1 Red Carpet."
The Metrodome still has value, whether continued on its own or replaced by something else. The suggestion of making the Metropolitan Sports Authority a statewide sports/entertainment Indus-try agency, coordinating both amateur and professional sports in Minnesota is an excellent idea (taking it beyond being just a city-based facilities management agency to a state agency). The Metro- dome itself can continue, even if the other teams obtained new stadiums. The Metrodome also could mix and match from the 10 models to finance a new mission and still be successful and profitable.
Do the Cities really want to have to play the "who lost the Vikings or Twins game"? And what politician wants to take that heat, especially when there are 10 models that address these issues and enables them to have their cake and eat it too, models which will only get better as both the legislature and the teams adapt them to their collective and separate needs?
Minnesota is unique: and the empirical data is clear: (1) the fans already come to all four (Vikings, Twins, Gophers, Wild), (2) the fans are already spending money for tickets (the Vikings web site notes 60,000 season ticket holders; I couldnt find a number on the Twins web page), and (3) the Cities already enjoy a significant visitor base (the Mall of America alone attracts over 40 million visitors a year, many from international visits) to add to the regional traffic and the out of town day trippers. It should also be noted that the "private investment" model has been the traditional "return on investment model." None of the teams have tried the DreamWorks model that seeks dollars in exchange first for non-material, psychic returns before eventually obtaining material returns. L.A. will woo Red. Will Minnesota woo Red too?
"The Team/Legislative Breakthrough Process" suggested to break the legislative deadlock consists of: 4 Tracks, 3 Sets of Models, 1 Red Carpet. The 4 tracks are
(1) starting the conversation by all sides to discuss it (see Attachments 4 and 5);
(2) legislative suggestions which includes working with all four entities and "safety nets" for both the legislature/tax payers and the teams/tax revenue generators;
(3) private funding models to be discussed to use, especially the DreamWorks model and the commercial mixed use model that are discussed, and which are included in Models 2, 4, 7, and 8; and, finally,
(4) change the team model: from the traditional model of management/labor to a senior executive model, employing as a discussion starter, the 12 part compensation structure of Model 4. All four tracks are encouraged to use the 47 communications models of Attachment #6.
The 3 sets of models are:
(1) The 10 stadium financing models (in the August 10 letter);
(2) the 14 conflict resolution models (Attachment #5); and
(3) the 47 communication models (Attachment #6).
The 1 red carpet: the wooing of the owners and the taxpayers (part of the Four Tracks 1st track). Red is the stand-in for the team. To woo and win the Vikings: Red needs to be wooed and won. For those who say he should be wooing Minnesota, please note: he has wooed Minnesota. But Minnesota has not accepted his advances. Nonetheless, he has what Minnesota wants: the Vikings. All he wants is a stadium. And he will get a stadium. That was the same position of the former owners as well. The only question is where: Minnesota, L.A., or Texas? In situations like this, certain rituals are needed. The most important is the promising of a stadium now and working out the details later. Use the Vikings own words as a base.
Minnesota needs to say to Red:
The legislature is committed to finding a fair and responsible stadium financing solution that will include over half of the costs being contributed by the team, and the rest using mechan-isms which will not only not increase the tax burden of the average Minnesotan, but which will return revenue to the state in excess of what it invests in the projects, thus being a benefit for all.
The model for running a red carpet was laid down by Harvey Mackay to win the Superbowl for the Metrodome. This is #1. Doing so for Red would convince him the state really wants to keep the Vikings.
Other things that could be done include
(2) find several convenient, yet well-appointed "homes away from home" for them to consider purchasing/use while in Minnesota, offering substitute sites in the meantime;
(3) Invite the McCombs to stay over Sunday nights to meet Mondays with various key leaders in business (CEOs), government (Governor), legislative (Senators and Representatives), including key staffers, to discuss the Stadium and the future; include his daughter or other key family members, as they determine;
(4) If, because the grandkids have to be back for school the next day, arrange such intimate dinners on Saturday;
(5) Arrange events for the grandkids while they are in town if they stay over on non-school Sundays or stay over Saturday nights;
(6) Discuss ways with Red to make the stadium work for the team but also for special events, like the Olympics, and other major national and world events;
(7) Arrange for them to meet representatives of local churches in order to have a local church to go to on Sunday mornings when they stay over Saturday night;
(8) Ask him what else would make it comfortable for him to be in Minnesota during this period, and respond accordingly
(9) Have an "Honorary Minnesotan" ceremony. The solutions presented could be taken to anyone from the Governors office to the Mayors offices to the legislators, to help them lead the drive to get the stadiums. They want a horse to pull the wagon. These models provide 10 horses. Minnesota has THREE "once in a lifetime" historic opportunities to LEAD THE NATION in sports management (which would help increase the team and city brands and reach) by :
(1) Showing how to deal with the stadium issue in general in this new day of tax reductions taking over from tax maximizing (every owner/city/legislature/tax payers will thank you).
(2) Showing how to, in particular, use this model to solve multiple stadium solutions as well (football, baseball, basketball, other sports (for college stadiums, see letters Appendix A).
(3) Showing how to transform the economics of professional sports, especially the NFL, before it is dragged down the MSB path of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
To repeat the basic idea: IF the various main stakeholder groups in Minnesota (teams and their owners € legislators and their jurisdictions € state and city officials and agencies € Metrodome and its managers € corporations and the university € urban/suburban/rural € white/black/brown/ yellow € fans and non-fans € and citizens of all ages and persuations) can see that they are all partners in the sports-entertainment industry, THEN no one will lose and all will be winners (in economic, cultural, and quality-of-life terms). If each can help the other get what they need and what they want, all will get what they need and want. That is always at the heart of any great enterprise that involves great institutions and individuals.
Peter J. Jessen