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Minnesota, no Vikings? Stadium drama stokes fears
Dayton and other stadium negotiators said no one with the Vikings has directly threatened a move to Los Angeles or anywhere else. The team declined to make owner Zygi Wilf available for an interview for this story; Vikings vice president Lester Bagley has told The Associated Press that both Los Angeles business groups have been in contact, but has continued to stress that the team’s main focus is securing a deal to stay in Minnesota.
Representatives of both firms, Anschutz Entertainment Group and Majestic Realty Co., did not return phone messages from the AP.
The Vikings aren’t the only franchise on relocation alert, but the team’s tie to its current city appears to be the loosest in the near term.
The St. Louis Rams have a possible out after the 2014 season. The Oakland Raiders are under lease through 2013. The Buffalo Bills intend on staying put as long as the founding owner _ 93-year-old Ralph Wilson _ is alive. The Jacksonville Jaguars would need to exercise a special escape clause to leave Florida but would owe the city for lost taxes and parking revenue for years to come.
In San Diego, where the Chargers have been seeking a new stadium since 2002, the team has its eyes on a new downtown site but lack financing. The Chargers could get out of a lease starting in February if a better deal surfaces elsewhere, but the team is building toward a 2012 ballot measure.
In the meantime, a lot of Vikings fans are feeling nervous.
Tyler Richter, a 30-year-old Twin Cities media consultant, made the Vikings/cheesehead video in his garage and uploaded it last week. Richter said he’s a Republican and no fan of government handouts to business, but his love for the Vikings trumps that.
“Don’t hate the player, hate the game,” Richter said. “In this day and age, the reality is these deals don’t get done without a public component. Love it or hate it, that’s what it is.”
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Dave Campbell in Minneapolis, Josh Dubow in Oakland, Calif., R.B. Fallstrom in St. Louis, Bernie Wilson in San Diego, Mark Long in Gainesville, Fla. and John Wawrow in Buffalo, N.Y.
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