Venue News: Metrodome Site To Be Focus of Vikings Stadium Talks; NFL Adds 5,000 Tix for Super Bowl

Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said Wednesday that the team wants a new stadium in the Twin Cities, even if it means building on the current site of the Metrodome. It was the businessman’s strongest signal that he would ultimately accept the site that for months had been his least favorite among a handful of options. “I’m optimistic that it could be,” Wilf said when asked if the Metrodome’s downtown Minneapolis location could be the site of a sparkling new stadium that he wants to be partially funded by state money. Wilf and team officials met privately with Gov. Mark Dayton, several state lawmakers, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and others to discuss tearing down the Metrodome and rebuilding there. The meeting came after several days in which the team’s bid for public funding appeared on the brink of falling apart, at least for the year, as Dayton proclaimed two other site options unworkable and Wilf was said to be frustrated that a proposal to build in suburban Arden Hills had been discarded. The group emerged after more than three hours to say the Metrodome site would be the focus of stadium negotiations going forward…

…The National Football League has decided to make room for 5,000 extra ticketholders for the Super Bowl in Lucas Oil Stadium. NFL officials plan to expand the stadium capacity to 68,000 during the Feb. 5 event in Indianapolis. Capacity for Colts games is typically 63,000. The decision was made after the league evaluated how much room it would need for media auxiliary seating and for NBC’s production facilities within the venue. When Indianapolis made its bid for the Super Bowl in 2008, local officials said they could expand Lucas Oil Stadium capacity to 70,000, but in recent weeks, the Super Bowl Host Committee said it was only going to expand capacity by 254 tickets. Most of the extra capacity will come from additional standing-room tickets sold for each suite and by filling platforms that are not normally used during Colts games with padded chairs…

…The decision to build the Olympic Stadium without a guaranteed tenant to take over the venue after the 2012 Games has been defended by the head of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). Sir John Armitt said the design allowed the £486million stadium to have a number of options for the future. The ODA chairman admitted that it may have been better — though more expensive — to have built the venue specifically for a football club to move in after the Games, but that there was no interest at the time. With only six months to go until the start of the Games, the future of the stadium is still up in the air. A tender process is under way, and though West Ham are the favorites to move in, there remain doubts at the club about the terms they are being offered...

… In Florida, professional sports are big business, pulling in billions of dollars each year from ticket sales and taxpayers, whose money is used to finance projects, such as the $670 million stadium for the Miami Marlins. The publicly funded venue has taxpayers on the hook for everything from the parking lot to property taxes. But according to a little-known Florida statute, any professional sports facility constructed with financial assistance from the state shall be designated as a shelter for the homeless when games aren’t being played. In its 23-year-history, the law has never been enforced, which angers Florida Sen. Mike Bennett, who has sponsored a bill demanding that teams return the money if they can’t prove they’ve complied with the law. Critics say the bill has little chance of passing, but the showdown over taxpayer dollars could have an effect on how new stadiums are built.

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