Vikings remain tight-lipped on stadium naming rights deal

U.S. Bank Stadium
A rendering of U.S. Bank Stadium.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

The public is paying nearly half the cost of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, but the team won't be telling the public what it got for selling the naming rights to U.S. Bank.

"We prefer not to talk about the business terms and just talk about the important partnership we have with U.S. Bank," Vikings Executive Vice President Lester Bagley said Friday following a meeting of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the public entity that oversees the stadium.

Legislation approved by Minnesota lawmakers gave the team control over naming rights for the nearly $1.1 billion stadium. "Naming rights were always anticipated, that was part of the legislative agreement," Bagley said.

A report in Sports Business Daily earlier this week cited unnamed sources who said U.S. Bank had paid $220 million over 20 years for the new stadium's naming rights, which was widely repeated in media reports.

Vikings and U.S. Bank officials say that's not accurate, but won't say what is accurate. A U.S. Bank spokesperson said only that "$220 million is high."

Officials committed $498 million in public funds to build the stadium, which is set to open in 2016. The team and "private sources" have committed $572 million, Bagley said. The Vikings will also pay more than $10 million each year for annual operating costs and capital improvement, he added.

Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said granting naming rights to a team is standard practice, and that the Minnesota Twins had the same deal when that stadium was built.

"The legislation very clearly identified those naming rights as belonging to the team, so we really haven't been involved in that," Kelm-Helgen said. "I don't even know the number."

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