Two critical agreements governing the new Minnesota Vikings stadium remain open to negotiation between the team and the public authority that will run the facility, leading the authority's board Thursday to delay ratification of the documents.
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority postponed a planned Friday meeting where the development agreement and the stadium lease were to be considered. The meeting was put off by a week. The deliberations involve some senior Vikings officials now in London for the team's high-profile game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. A few team officials stayed back to consult on the pacts in person.
"This governs our partnership for the next 30 years and our use of the facility," Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said earlier in the day. He said the sides were closing in on final wording on documents running hundreds of pages, but added, "It's very detailed work."
Among other things, the agreements will determine the number of seats covered by personal seat licenses that require an upfront fee from season ticketholders in addition to the usual admissions price. Gov. Mark Dayton has pressed the authority to keep the number of seat licenses, which can cost thousands of dollars each, to a minimum. The revenue is expected to count toward the $477 million private share of the $975 million stadium cost.
An authority spokeswoman said negotiations were continuing into Thursday evening and said there might be an update on the status of talks Friday morning.
The team is expected to commit to a lease of 30 years or longer.
The stadium board's new meeting date is Oct. 3. Groundbreaking is expected in November.
MAYORS IN LONDON
The Minnesota contingent in London this week isn't just the Vikings gearing up for their cross-Atlantic football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman have made the trip, too, in hopes of drumming up tourism, foreign exposure for their cities and business connections.
Aides to both mayors said Thursday that their bosses are holding meetings with local officials and doing international media interviews in addition to attending Sunday's game at Wembley Stadium.
A spokesman for Coleman says the city convention bureau, Visit St. Paul, is paying the cost of the mayor's travel. Meet Minneapolis, that city's tourism arm, is paying for Rybak's travel costs. They'll be back in Minnesota early next week.
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