So the agreement between the Vikings and the University of Minnesota was released today and the stage is set for the purple to move in to their temporary residence while the HHH-MOA Dome is demolished for good. Somewhere, Mike Ditka is smiling while roller skating.
While there is much legal jargon to work through, we'll give you the Readers Digest condensed version, and while we're at it have some fun as we do.
Use period: The Vikings may play in TCF Bank Stadium for up to 4 consecutive NFL seasons commencing in 2014. Any NFL season consists of 10 home games (2 pre-season and 8 regular season games), plus any home playoff games. The Vikings currently plan to use University facilities for only the 2014 and 2015 seasons. They Vikings have agreed to pay an increased fee for games played in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
What it means: Short of a construction mess, the Vikings will take up residency at TCF for TWO seasons. Are playoffs really an afterthought as they appear? Did the U define an NFL season only to have Vikings legal say "ahhem, what about the playoffs?"
Scheduling restrictions: The Vikings may use University facilities for Sunday games only, and one weeknight game each season as approved by the University. The Vikings will make best efforts to work with the NFL to minimize conflicts with the University's academic calendar and intercollegiate athletic events.
What it means: It means no primetime football on Monday night for two years. With the one non-Sunday game slated for a Thursday night because every team plays on Thursday night, the Vikings will be landlocked from a Primetime perspective. At least we could play Sunday night. Thank God for Faith Hill. Wait, she's gone now too?
Fee: The Vikings will pay the University $250,000 for each game played in the 2014 and 2015 seasons; $262,000 per game in 2016 season; and $275,000 per game in 2017 season. The Vikings will pay an additional $50,000 per game for the sponsorship and concession opportunities given to the Vikings (see below). Thus, the University will receive $3 million in revenue above all expenses for the pre-season/regular season 2014 games and for the 2015 pre-season/regular season games.
What it means: Here's the fun part where I want to know who came up with the numbers and how they did so. In 2010, the team paid $1.7 million to play a game at TCF after the roof collapsed at the Dome. The number seems a bit low, although as we found out with the alcohol sales, the University has a history of losing money on things that should be gold mines.
Ticketing: The Vikings will control ticketing and retain ticket revenue. The University's existing loge and suite holders' right-of-first-refusal will be honored with respect to Vikings' games. University will receive 100 complimentary tickets for non-premium seating, and 50 complimentary tickets for premium seating in the Athletic Director's Suite and the Athletic Development Suite for each Vikings game.
What it means: The beautiful people at TCF trump the beautiful people at MOA Field. The suite controversy is going to be one to watch. The Metrodome has roughly 90 suites while TCF has about 40. Minnesota math might not add up in this one.
Concessions: Concessions will be provided by the University through ARAMARK. The Vikings will work with ARAMARK to develop a menu, subject to certain University approval rights. Concession revenue generated during Vikings' games will be retained by the Vikings.
What it means: While Gordon Ramsay will be on speed dial, it is doubtful his services will be needed for his 8th series to air on FOX. "Concession Hell" will go on without the Vikings. Really, how hard is it to put chicken strips in the fryers? That will be $12.
Alcohol: Subject to an authorizing resolution approved by the University's Board of Regents, on Vikings' game days (i) beer and wine may be sold throughout the TCF Bank Stadium, (ii) hard liquor may be sold in premium seating areas only (i.e., club seating, loge boxes and suites), and (iii) beer, wine and hard liquor may be sold in the Mariucci Arena Club Room and Williams Arena Club Room if the Club Rooms are available and used by the Vikings.
What it means: To the average fan, enjoy beer and wine in moderation or bring a flask.
Coke: Coke, Pepsi, and the parties have agreed that Gatorade products will be allowed on playing field sidelines; Gatorade and Pepsi products will also be allowed in one suite, and Gatorade and Pepsi print ads will be allowed in Vikings' programs.
What it means: Could you imagine if the soda wars collapsed this deal? It's a big business conundrum that is comical that it needed to be put in writing. I laughed especially hard at the program print ad piece. Hash tag- It's a free country.
The rest works through storage space and other non-essential issues. They've got the beer sales and food figured out, and since we know we'll either play on Sunday or a Thursday night, let's demolish the dome!