The Vikings have completed a deal with the University of Minnesota that will allow the NFL team to play games at TCF Bank Stadium while the Vikings’ new $1 billion stadium is constructed in downtown Minneapolis.
The university’s Board of Regents is expected to five final approval Friday to a plan that includes the Vikings paying $300,000 per game and the costs of all improvements made to the stadium for NFL games, including a heated field and additional seating.
The team was forced to recruit shovelers to clear the stadium’s field while using the facility after the Metrodome’s roof collapsed in December 2010.
The agreement only allows stadium use for Sunday games and one weeknight game per season in 2014 and 2015, and includes additional terms if construction delays force the team to use the facility in 2016 and 2017. The Vikings will play their last season at the Metrodome in 2013. The Metrodome will be razed in early 2014, with the Vikings hoping to open the new stadium in July 2016.
Vikings and university officials praised the deal:
“We promise to be good partners and good neighbors,” said Lester Bagley, vice president of stadium development for the Vikings.
University President Eric Kaler said he was “delighted to be able to help” the Vikings while it builds its new stadium. “I think we’ve reached a very fair agreement to both sides.”
The Vikings will also contribute $90,000 to a neighborhood fund, plus $35,000 in in-kind services that could be used to plant trees or build a playground.
One of the stickiest issues of the plan has amounted to Coke vs. Pepsi. While the university has a 10-year agreement making Coca-Cola the exclusive soft drink on campus, the Vikings have an exclusive pour agreement with Pepsi. The National Football League’s agreement with Gatorade — owned by Pepsi — also created a conflict with “Gatorade-logoed coolers, cups and towels” on the sidelines of all NFL games.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
The new deal between the university and the Vikings allows Gatorade products on the sidelines and in one suite. Print ads featuring Pepsi and Gatorade will be permitted in the Vikings’ programs, according to a summary of the deal.