The National Football League may have more money to loan the Vikings for a new stadium after signing a new TV deal.
The league approved a nine-year extension of its TV contract at a meeting outside Dallas on Wednesday. League officials told the Associated Press that network fees are scheduled to rise from $1.9 billion annually to $3.1 billion in 2022.
Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said Thursday the move allowed fellow NFL owners to offer the Vikings an "enhanced" stadium financing package that could qualify the team for a loan of as much as $200 million toward the team contribution to a new stadium in Minnesota.
"It's up to $200 million, but that level is not guaranteed, so we have to qualify, and we have to put a finance package together," Bagley said. "And it's also contingent on public-private partnership from the public at the state and local level in Minnesota. The number has yet to be determined, but we have factored that into our proposed $425 million contribution for Arden Hills."
The Vikings had been factoring in a league loan into their own stadium contribution since they made a deal with Ramsey County for the Arden Hills site in May. The team didn't initially detail how much of their offer was backed by NFL financing, based on a previous league loan scheme, known as the "G-3" program.
That old program was drained of its reserves by stadium funding efforts elsewhere in the country. The new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL players and owners required a renewal of the financing agreement and new funding dedicated to the program.
Bagley said the new funding was strictly a loan and that it would have to be repaid by local revenues raised at the new stadium. "It's part of the private financing," Bagley said.
Bagley said it would like be repaid through seat fees, like premium seat fees paid up front by ticket holders. Finance expert Robert Boland, a New York University sports business professor, says the League's old G-3 program required teams to sell seat licenses as part of the loan agreement.
"The good news is that we have a healthy league," Bagley said. "We have the only pro sport that has a stadium finance program, and we hope to take advantage of that."