UPDATE:The MLS Commissioner gave Minnesota the go-ahead on a new MLS franchise, but only if the state secures plans to build yet another stadium by July of 2015.
Zygi's dream of bringing professional indoor soccer to his half-built, $1 billion palace is officially dead.
Yesterday the Vikings announced Major League Soccer told them "thanks but no thanks," turning all of the attention toward whether or not former United Health CEO Bill McGuire and his partners can build a soccer-specific outdoor stadium in the North Loop. See also: New Minneapolis Soccer Stadium Could Come With a Hefty Welfare Tab
As we reported yesterday, that could come with a hefty public subsidy. Legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle have repeatedly said the state wants no part in funding another stadium, and there isn't any political will in Minneapolis to chip in either.
That leaves Hennepin County. Board Chair Mike Opat is on board with some sort of partnership to make a stadium happen, even going as far as traveling with McGuire to present to MLS brass in New York, but other county commissioners we talked to over the last few months are undecided.
"I haven't seen any specific proposals, and until I do it's really hard to say either way," Commissioner Marion Greene told us when asked about it over the winter.
Linda Higgins, who represents the county district the new stadium would be built in, had some stern words for Star Tribune reporters yesterday:
Higgins said the only person on the board talking about MLS is Opat. "There is no story there. ... There hasn't been an ask to us yet," she said of subsidizing the planned soccer stadium. "I've had no substantive conversation with anybody about a damn stadium."
Vikings stadium czar Michele Kelm-Helgen said losing out on the MLS franchise will cost the state about $340,000 per year in anticipated rent, although they "have a sales and marketing team in place that will be shopping [the stadium] to other people."
"We'll have to look at what it means. I'm disappointed they feel like they need an outdoor venue. I feel like it was always the intention of the legislature that MLS would be played in the stadium," she said.
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