Minnesota Vikings to Play in the Gopher Hole

It appears the Minnesota Vikings will be playing in a B1G stadium. On Friday the Minnesota Board of Regents took steps to finalize an agreement that would allow the NFL team to play home games in TCF Bank Stadium while the Metrodome is torn down and replaced by a new facility. The team could lease the stadium for up to four consecutive NFL seasons, likely starting in 2013, or may play at the Bank for all or par of one NFL season, probably in 2015.

The Vikings will pay Minnesota a fixed fee of $250,000 per game and would split the money from concessions, sponsorship and advertising (estimated at $50,000 per game). An NFL team plays 10 home games a season, meaning Minnesota would rake in $3 million per season. Within the deal, the Vikings would also pay $5.8 million for Minnesota to upgrade TCF Bank by installing heating coils under the field, expanding the seating in the western end-zone, and other upgrades. The Gopher Hole currently holds 50,805 people, opened in 2010, and still has that new car smell.

Minnesota recently passes legislation allowing alcohol to be sold at TCF Bank Stadium during Gopher games. It is unclear how this legislation would apply to Viking games played in the stadium. University of Minnesota General Councel, Mark Rotenberg said,

“At a minimum, the Vikings want to sell hard liquor in the club seating, boxes and suites, and beer and wine throughout the stadium.” Rotenberg, who has been negotiating with the Vikings for months, said that he is “not willing to promise what the University of Minnesota would do in the area of alcohol consumption and sale.”

This could be quite the coup for the Golden Gophers. Not only will their facilities be up-graded and winterized free of charge but the additional exposure of 10 NFL games a year in Minnesota’s Stadium could potentially help Minnesota recruit. The question is will Minnesota fans show up to fill all those additional seats?