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Friday, May 19, 2006

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue Press Conference - Minnesota House-Senate Stadium Conference Committee

From NFLMedia.com

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue Press Conference

Minnesota House-Senate Stadium Conference Committee

Minneapolis, MN -- May 16, 2006

Q: Will there ever be a time where the league will say for the greater good you need to move to Los Angeles or somewhere or is it always up to the individual owner to decide to move?

A: It's a joint decision under our policy. A team has to meet certain criteria before it can move, so it's not the individual owner's decision. But I don't think that's the challenge here; the challenge here is to get something done in Minnesota and not have to worry about other alternatives.

Q: Has Mr. Wilf asked you to step up and approve a loan before the legislature acts here?

A: Generally we don't do that; generally under the guidelines we have for our loan program to support stadium construction, the economic work that has to go into that depends on an understanding of the total project costs and the total project economics, not just for the first year or the first five years but for a 15 or 20-year period. So it's difficult, if not impossible, to do anything in the abstract. You have to do it on the basis of a concrete project.

Q: What's the reaction to the Fran Foley situation?

A: I really don't know anything about it other than the fact that an issue exists. I really don't know anything about it.

Q: Do you have an opinion on the stadium being built without a retractable roof?

A: As I said to the committee, that's really a decision for the state and local authorities, the team owner and Anoka County in this instance. We don't have a point of view, as I mentioned. In the Vikings' own division we have two teams, the Bears and the Packers, that play in open-air stadiums and we have another team, the Lions, with a fixed-dome, so how that's approached is really up to the team, Anoka County and the legislature.

Q: Are you, the other owners and the league resentful that this market can't get this accomplished when so many other markets have?

A: I'm never resentful or not resentful. I approach these things with a realistic understanding that they're complicated and that many different points of view have to be brought into sync and a consensus has to be developed. As Senator Kelly said, it's a difficult slice of economic and legislative issues.

Q: Are you fairly confident a new stadium would get a Super Bowl for Minnesota?

A: Yes, as I said, under our current policy, we've been rotating the Super Bowl around much more than we did in the '70s and the '80s, and the biggest reason for that rotation has been to hold the Super Bowl in communities, in new stadiums, where there has been a partnership between the team and the public sector to build a stadium because the Super Bowl accomplishes two things. Number one, there is a significant economic benefit from having a game in a community such as this, and number two, it marks that facility as a world-class facility for similar events. It gets attention and hopefully will cause an ongoing stream of other national sporting events or activities in the building.

Q: What is the earliest date a Super Bowl could be in Minnesota?

A: Depends on when you build the building.

Q: How many years out are you committed? 1, 2

A: I think we're committed on Super Bowls through 2010. We're beginning to talk about 2011, '12 and '13 in the next six to 12 months. A number of cities, including Dallas and Indianapolis, which are both building new stadiums, have already expressed strong interest, and we've already indicated there could be one in Kansas City depending on how Arrowhead Stadium develops.

Q: Has there ever been a commitment for a Super Bowl to get a new stadium over the top?

A: I'd have to go back and do my research.

Q: Is it just here and San Diego that are the holdout markets for stadiums?

A: No, we don't have (new) stadiums in San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco, Minnesota and some other places.

Q: Is there any urgency to get this done this year?

A: Yes, as I said, there's no guarantee that the current stability of the National Football League will continue. Right now there are a number of things that have come together -- our TV contracts, our collective bargaining agreement, our stadium construction subsidy program, the commitment from the Wilf family to invest $280 million in the stadium and the commitment from the Wilf family together with Anoka County to have a major economic development project that goes way beyond the Minnesota Vikings and the National Football League. All those things are in place, and we're in an environment where those may not be guaranteed going forward. And as I said, construction costs are escalating dramatically now in a way we haven't seen, and that has to do with demand for materials all over the world, not just the United States. There's a lot that is certain and positive that could be uncertain and less positive in the future.


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