Washington Redskins

Vikings' new stadium will cost insane amount

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Vikings' new stadium will cost insane amount

From Comcast SportsNet

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Now that the Minnesota Vikings will get their new stadium, the worrying can begin over a gambling expansion designed to pay the state's share of the 975 million project.

By passing the final stadium bill Thursday, lawmakers committed the state to raising 348 million by allowing electronic pull-tabs and bingo in bars and restaurants. The financing plan drew skepticism on the bill's way through the Legislature, prompting the sponsors to include backup measures in case the pull-tab dollars don't materialize, including a lottery game and luxury suite taxes.

Gov. Mark Dayton has pledged to sign the stadium bill into law after serving as its chief cheerleader. Backers pushed it through the Legislature after years of failed attempts, despite opposition from no-new-spending Republicans, liberal Democrats and even the top House Republican, Speaker Kurt Zellers. Lawmakers were on the receiving end of an intense outpouring of support from Vikings fans, while the state's business leaders and labor unions also put their clout behind the project. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak brought 150 million from his city to the table, subject to a City Council vote later this month.

But money questions were on the sidelines Thursday as Vikings fans celebrated the bill's passage. In the Senate gallery, fans broke out in a rendition of the ''Skol Vikings!'' fight song, earning a reprimand from the Senate secretary.

''Let's build it!'' shouted Vikings vice president Lester Bagley, the team executive who spent much of the past decade lobbying for the nearly 1 billion stadium. The new stadium will be built on the downtown Minneapolis site of the 30-year-old Metrodome, an inflatable bubble-topped building the Vikings argued did not generate enough revenue for the team to compete.

On Thursday, the Vikings and the University of Minnesota announced they have reached preliminary agreement on the Vikings' use of TCF Bank Stadium during construction of a new Vikings stadium. Under the agreement, the Vikings will pay the university a fixed fee of 250,000 per game. The combined rent and expected concessions and sponsorship revenue that the Vikings would share with the university would amount to 300,000 per game, or 3 million per regular NFL season. The Board of Regents takes up the agreement Friday, and university President Eric Kaler could sign the letter of intent in the next few days.

The Senate vote capped an amazing comeback for the Vikings' stadium dreams, which just a few weeks ago were fizzling before a visit from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell crystallized fears that the Vikings could leave the state without a new home.

At a celebratory news conference, owner Zygi Wilf recalled when he and his brother Mark first took ownership of the team nearly seven years ago and being asked whether they would move the team.

''We kept on fighting that this day would come, and it's here today,'' Wilf said.

Dayton publicly thanked the Wilfs for agreeing to a 50 million bump in their share in final negotiations this week.

''Without your willingness to take that last step, we wouldn't have crossed the goal line,'' the governor said.

The stadium project - with 51 percent of the construction cost covered by taxpayers - comes after years of state deficits and spending cuts to schools, health care and other programs. The state is currently in the black, but a 1 billion-plus deficit is projected for the two-year budget that starts in mid-2013.

''When this doesn't work, it's money right out of schools, right out of welfare, right out of health care, right out of you name it - everything we spend money on,'' said Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, before he cast a vote against the project.

Opponents on both sides of the political spectrum predicted that the state is likely to further expand gambling if the electronic pull-tabs - now just a low-tech paper game offered in bars and restaurants - don't bring in enough money.

''They'll want to double down on the bad deal. We've created a monster here,'' said Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, leader of the conservative faction within the GOP Senate caucus.

Stadium supporters noted that the final deal required the team to round up 477 million from private sources, 50 million more than originally promised.

Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, said he is confident the gambling money will come through. The bill envisions the new electronic games bringing in 59 million a year in tax revenue by 2014. But if tax collections end up being lower, a sports-themed lottery game and a 10 percent suite tax would kick in. Together the two measures would raise 4 million a year, Magnus said.

''Certainly there are a lot of folks that are never going to support any stadium no matter if a fairy godmother dropped one next door to us,'' said Magnus, who participated in a legislative group that worked behind the scenes on a bill for two years.

Over the long term, supporters also expect the stadium to be a good deal for the state. Sen. John Harrington, DFL-St. Paul, said he expects the return on the state's investment to be substantial over time. The Metrodome was built for 55 million, including 33 million in public money, and ended up bringing in hundreds of millions in tax revenue over the past three decades. Harrington said he voted yes on the stadium to help put people to work.

''I have 20 percent unemployment on the east side of St. Paul,'' he said. ''I need every job in this bill that we can possibly come up with.''

The deal guarantees the Vikings' future in Minnesota for three decades. Bagley said the team's billionaire owners, New Jersey developers Zygi and Mark Wilf, supported the final plan, even with the additional private cost, because time was running out. Senate passage came on the last day the Legislature was allowed to take votes.

''It's a good deal for the state, it's a good deal for our fans and it's a good deal for Minneapolis. It's a fair deal,'' Bagley said.

The Vikings intend to take advantage of an NFL loan program, sell naming rights and possibly impose seat license fees to help cover the team's end of construction costs. They will be bound by a 30-year lease on the stadium and pay about 13 million a year in operating fees. Minneapolis will kick in about 7 million a year for operating costs, and a public authority will have the power to rent the stadium on non-game days for concerts, conventions and special events such as monster truck rallies.

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Sunday was the Redskins' best defensive performance since 1991

Sunday was the Redskins' best defensive performance since 1991

The Redskins were dominant defensively on Sunday night during their 27-10 beatdown of the Oakland Raiders. Historically dominant.

The Raiders gained just 128 yards in four quarters of football. That didn’t set a team record or anything but it was the most dominant the Redskins have been against a quality team in at least the last 57 years.

MORE REDSKINS: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE BIG WIN

Since the 1970 merger, the Redskins have held their opponent to fewer than 130 yards in a game five times. Here is a quick look at the other four teams:

1972 Eagles (120 yards)—They finished 2-11-1 and averaged 10.4 points per game, dead last among the 26 teams in the league.

1974 Bears (126 yards)—Under Abe Gibron the bears were 4-10 and had an average of 10.9 points per game, 25th of 26 NFL teams.

1991 Eagles (89 yards)—Thanks to a dominant defense this team finished 10-6. Rich Kotite’s boys were OK offensively (18th of 28 in scoring) but not on the day they played at RFK Stadium.

1991 Broncos (128 yards)—Dan Reeves’ team finished 8-8 on the year but they ranked 22nd of 28 teams in scoring.

Of course, we don’t yet know how the Raiders will finish the season in terms of scoring but it’s likely that they will finish in the top half of the NFL in scoring, perhaps even in the top 10. None of those teams had a quintet on offense the equal to Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Crabtree, and Jared Cook. This was as dominant a performance against a quality offense as the Redskins have had in at least 50 years.

RELATED: SOME AMAZING NUMBERS FROM THE REDSKINS’ WIN

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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MLB Postseason 2017: Updated Wild Card Standings, 7 days remaining

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USA Today Sports

MLB Postseason 2017: Updated Wild Card Standings, 7 days remaining

The 2017 MLB Wild Card race is still undecided after over a 150 games throughout the regular season.

While the Yankees, Twins, and Diamondbacks did what they had to do this past weekend, the Rockies did not. Just like that the National League’s second Wild Card spot is wide open.

Only three postseason slots remain open, the NL Central title and a Wild Card spot on each side. Positioning and even the AL East are still up in the air but seven of the ten teams know they will be playing in October.

Things flipped this weekend. The American League Wild Card race calmed down and is essentially over, but the National League race is just primed for a crazy final week.

RELATED: FULL MLB POSTSEASON UPDATE

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Heading into this past weekend’s match-ups the American League Wild Card was wide open. Ten teams were alive and many were in a position to make a run.

Well the Minnesota Twins (82-74) took care of business with a four game sweep of the Tigers. The bats opened up after an up-and-down month with 39 runs spread across their series. Virtually the Twins have wrapped up the second Wild Card. Their lead over the first team out is 4.5 games over the Los Angeles Angels (77-78).  If not wrapped up, Minnesota has padded their lead heading to a three game series in Cleveland.

With their success, three teams were eliminated in the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, and Oakland Athletics. Now only six teams are in the race.

The New York Yankees (86-69), despite winning only one game against Toronto, clinched their postseason berth. They have fallen back to five games behind the Red Sox in the AL East race, but maintain a 4.5 game edge over the Twins for the first Wild Card.

Salvaging one win against the Astros, the Angels are not done yet. Seven games are left for them with four of them being against the White Sox. The Kansas City Royals (76-79) end their schedule in an awkward fashion. First they play the Yankees on Monday before a three-game series hosting Detroit and then an interleague head-to-head with Arizona. There is a tall task ahead for the Texas Rangers (76-79), facing the Houston Astros when there is no room for error.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 25):

New York Yankees:     +4.5
Minnesota Twins:           ---
Los Angeles Angels:     -4.5
Texas Rangers:             -5.5
Kansas City Royals:      -5.5
Tampa Bay Rays:          -6.0
Seattle Mariners:           -7.0

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Somehow the National League Wild Card race did not tighten up this weekend. It has however set up the race for an incredible finish to the 2017 season.

What we do know now though, essentially the only way for the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals to get into the postseason is through the Wild Card.

A sizable lead has put the Arizona Diamondbacks (90-66) as the only team in the majors that knows their postseason fate. Arizona locked up the top Wild Card spot and will host the National League Wild Card game on Oct. 4.

Their opponent still remains a mystery.

The Colorado Rockies (84-72) were in a good spot but only claimed two of four from the Padres. Now the Rockies host Miami, a long-ball hitting team in a hitters ball park, and have to face the Los Angeles Dodgers to end the season.

Waiting for the end of season slip, the Milwaukee Brewers (82-74) play Cincinnati and the St. Louis Cardinals (81-74). Now almost out of the Central race, the Cardinals first play the Cubs before their season finale against Milwaukee.

NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 21):

Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:             ---
Milwaukee Brewers:         -2.0
St. Louis Cardinals:          -2.5

RELATED: BRYCE HARPER READY TO RETURN TO NATS