Peter J. Jessen

"Goals Per Action" Success Consultant · · 9931 SW 61st Ave., Portland, OR 97219 · Tel: 503.977.3240 · Fax: 503.977.3239

Letter to Minnesota Legislature from Peter Jessen

August 10, 2001
Steve Sviggum, House Speaker
Roger D. Moe, Senate Majority Leader

A copy has been provided to: Roy Terwilliger, Larry Fitzgerald, John Marty, David Jennings, Sarah Psick, Victor Moore, Tom Hanson

463 State Office Building
208 Capitol, 75 Constitution Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Dear Speaker Sviggum,

1. Summary Introduction: The Question: To keep or not to keep the peoples’ Vikings?


2. List of attachments


3. Three newspapers report that L.A. is already the answer. But: “It ain’t necessarily so.”


4. 10 stadium financing/operating models, 2 idea sources, both from the Twin Cities, &, & related possibilities


5. Third party “verification” of models despite missing pro formas in this context


6. Team/Legislative Breakthrough: 4 Tracks, 3 Sets of Models, 1 Red Carpet


7. Key parts of the Multi-Use Model


8. Why the SEEMING willingness of MN to bow before Murdock and Los Angeles


9. Six personal themes


10. A Personal Note on how I got into this


11. In Conclusion: Historic “Once In A Lifetime” Opportunity for Minnesota


1. Summary Introduction: The people benefit from keeping the Vikings

It is exciting to write to you that, as a result of over a year and a half of research, I can report to you that Minnesota can indeed develop a private-public partnership to build and support the stadiums needed/wanted by the Gophers, Twins, and Vikings, with little or no new taxes.

There are 10 models that could be used in a “mix and match” basis. In return, Minnesota gains $1-2 billion/year in direct and indirect revenue/year from its investment that it would not receive without the teams. I only knew of models 4 and 5 when I developed the enclosed materials. Since then I have learned of Models 1-3, 6-10., and thus update the enclosed with these models. As a result, there should be no need for new taxes for the “average person.”

5 Good news points: it can be done for little or no new tax dollars, which meets the conditions and objections of the pro and con sides regarding public funding: (1) The request of Red McCombs: “Show me,” is answered by the 10 models and all 6 attachments (2) A candidate model to use for the overall process is attachment #1, a 4 track “Minnesota process”;. (3) A way to answer Dave Jennings’ call for a Minnesota “family discussion” to resolve the stadium questions is attachment #5, 14 models for resolving conflict. (4) A group of candidates open to all for conducting the communications component needed between and among each other are in Attachment #6, 47 communications models for use by parties involved to woo each other, especially wooing Red McCombs, and the tax payers. (5) 2 on-line idea sources among many are, and For everyone’s additional research, you can’t beat starting with These and the other input resources you receive, combined with the political will you are showing, will do the job.

The 10 models are (I learned of 1-3, 7-10 in July & August, after I wrote the attached materials:

1. The private investment model of New Ballpark, Inc. (led by the heads of Wells Fargo and US Bank) and C-17 for the Twins;

2. An earlier commercial real estate multi-use stadium complex proposal made to the Twins, which would not require any new taxes or legislative action.

3. The private-public Vikings model combines NFL and Vikings monies ($150 million), stadium related taxing ($200 million), leaving a gap of $150 million, which could be completely closed by a half cent hotel/motel tax.

4. The multi-use facility/site model proposal made to the Vikings in August 2000, with its claim of not needing any new taxes and incurring no new debt.

5. The university funding models that were a part of #4.

6. The 40 ways to generate revenue in 26 revenue categories, which are part of #4 above.

7. The private funding model proposed to the Vikings by Lyle Berman

8. The private funding model to finance a new stadium being used by Steve Young and Brent Jones, with backing from Silicon Valley, as they search for a team to buy.

9. The combination of a casino with a stadium, either (a) on a reservation near the Twin Cities or (b) a state owned one from which the profits go to pay for the stadium, etc.

10. A hybrid mix and match creatively developed from parts of the above..

This letter is merely an introduction to the start of a dialogue. No final answers are provided although mechanisms and tools for unearthing them are. And even when your panel is done, new ideas will come about to provide for changes and adaptations after that as well, etc., as always in our journey down time’s corridor.

And although there may be some bumps in the road, I now believe all the bumps can be smoothed out leaving all parties satisfied. Here is the basic idea: if the various main stakeholder groups in Minnesota (teams and their owners, legislators and the jurisdictions, stadiums and their managers, corporations and university, urban/suburban/rural, white and black) can see that they are all partners in the sports-entertainment industry, no one will lose and all will be winners. If each can help the other get what they need and what they want, all will get what they need and want. That is always at the heart of any great enterprise that involves great institutions and individuals. The 10 models and the six attachments provide the building blocks of everything that is needed to start.

This letter is more than an update on the enclosures. Indeed, I write this rather lengthy letter to introduce the attached materials, because I did not learn of Models #1-3 and 7-10 until July and August, after I had written the attached materials, after I finally received some responses to my Model, #4, which is attachment #4.

New information all the time causes adjustment to one’s position. The ideas just keep coming in. That is the exciting thing about this topic. By the time the panel is done, there should plenty on the table for all to agree upon to make it all work. I am convinced that Minnesota can make it happen, although some soul searching and compromise will all be a part of it.

Using a Shakespearian cadence: To keep the Vikings or not to keep the Vikings: that is the question. In other words, the only real question is: does Minnesota want to keep both the Twins and the Vikings? The fans do. Most legislators do. A small minority do not. This letter and its attachments is about how to keep them with little or no new tax dollars, and how to get that across all so that it is not misunderstood. The outpouring of concern about Korey Stringer over the past week demonstrates the depth of emotion held by Minnesotans for their Vikings.

The key now is to make an announcement saying the stadium will happen, leaving only the “how” to be worked out. The best wording I’ve seen so far is in the Vikings 2001 Official Team Guide, which, I believe is what everyone either wants or at least can accept, which is just as important. It states: …committed to finding a fair and responsible stadium financing solution that will not increase the tax burden of the average Minnesotan.” However, it too makes the critical mistake of not talking about what it will put up or is willing to, leaving it look as if they seek full stadium funding, which, of couse, will not fly with the voters. Therefore, you might consider changing it as follows for use as your mantra:

The legislature is committed to finding a fair and responsible stadium financing solution that will include over half of the costs being contributed by the team, and the rest using mechanisms which will not only not increase the tax burden of the average Minnesotan, but which will return revenue to the state in excess of what it invests in the projects, thus being a benefit for all.

You could even go so far as to add: “nor increase the income tax nor the property tax of the average Minnesotan.” Isn’t it wonderful to know that this can be done?

The Twins appear to be safe (other than the threat of disappearing through contraction, which is probably not probable). It is clear that ever since the former owners, the Vikings have not been “safe.” What will make them safe is a new stadium. The question is, where will that stadium be: in Minnesota, Los Angeles, or San Marcos?

When Lamar Hunt realized he couldn’t keep going head to head with other teams in Texas, he moved his team to Kansas City. Hunt, son of legendary H.L. Hunt, some say the quintessential Texan of his day, did not keep his team in Texas. He made a business decision. His team has thrived in Kansas City.

This letter is an update on the more detailed and explanatory materials that are enclosed. All of the enclosed materials have been shared with Dave Jennings, Roy Terwilliger, and John Marty, as well as with the Vikings (Mike Kelly), and the Twins (Jerry Bell). I will also send them a copy of this letter, as I didn’t learn about models 1-3 and 7-10 until after I had delivered them the attached materials.

The Vikings and the Twins still anticipate a legislative solution. They have said that if the legislative option doesn’t work they might be interested in talking about these models. And I can understand the Vikings position, in that I learned last week that they are only a half cent hotel/motel tax away from closing the gap of what they need. However, I don’t understand the Twins. They have rejected both Models #1 and #2, and believe their needs will be provided primarily by the legislature. I believe that position precludes anything for them except for a renovated Metrodome.

Nonetheless, they have all been very helpful and positive in enabling me to better understand the various “positions and agendas” involved, as has been my reading of the Strib and Press on-line over the past year, as well as books and on-line articles and various web sites dealing with the different aspects of this question. The general consensus I am receiving from all of these sources is that people want the Vikings to stay but that political concerns have gotten in the way, especially after the debacle of 1997 with the Twins.

It is my belief that the suggestions here will alleviate that and enable all stakeholder parties to achieve their goals without undue negative political fallout, especially if the steps of #7 below are followed: “Team/Legislative Breakthrough: 4 Tracks, 3 Sets of Models, 1 Red Carpet.”

2. The attachments are as follows:

1. “Draft: Four track Process to Follow to Build Twin City Stadiums,” PJJ, 7-23-01

2. Contributions to a St. Paul run Internet on-line list serve discussion group, on “Public Financing of Sports Stadiums, which is part of a discussion List Serv, June 26, 2001, with a special June 28, 2001 introduction [NOTE: this was run by “Poli-Talk” out of St. Paul, on several lists: U.S., Minnesota, Portland, and two other cities. This attachment is what I submitted to the Minnesota group ( ), based on my submission to the national one, with a special section regarding Minnesota]. Of special interest to Minnesota in the special section in this attachment in which I discuss the four entities and the two professional leagues, the reality of new financing, and the legitimate needs of owners in running a business. Since submitting it I have added a “P.S.” of July 4, 2001, with two points: (1) a summary of an article (“Build it privately and they will come”) in support of our basic thesis: that stadiums “must generate new spending,” although the model, Attachment #4, is far more extensive, with its 8 ways “plus” to finance and 40 ways in 26 categories to generate on-going operating revenue, and (2) a new revenue source I was not familiar with before: collecting wages of nonresident athletes and entertainers. California alone will collect $94 million this year just from out of state athletes. The piece also details how I got into this in the first place, first at San Francisco, and now in Minnesota, which I also recap at the end of this letter.

3.“Beware of the Coming Corporate Backlash”, Industry Week [also available at ]. It speaks to the need for the private sector to take the lead before it gets bound by needless government regulations or merely gets prevented from doing its desired business by incorrect but bad public opinion and/or regulators. It speaks for itself. Industry could help itself by using the attached 47 models of communications strategy to present its case.

4.“A Multi-Use Sports-Entertainment MODEL For Profitably Building and Operating a Professional Sports/Stadium/Arena/Team/Franchise, May 22, 2001, a generic re-write of a proposal submitted to the Vikings August 2000.

5. “10 Models of Conflict Resolution,” Appendix A (one of three appendices) of the August 2000 proposal to the Vikings, and now outlined in Appendix of Attachment #4, with the longer version at attachment #5. This is the piece which was submitted to answer Dave Jennings’ call, in the August 10, 2000 Star Tribune on-line, that: “someone other that the teams have to create a public discussion about the future of the Twins and the Vikings in Minnesota. The teams are crying out for somebody to call the family meeting.” This document can help whoever does so do so. Perhaps the panel can either do so or position the legislature for doing so. It has been increased to 14 models, and is summarized as Appendix L of Attachment # 4, which has 13 attachments (which in turn was part of a June 2000 piece I wrote for a process to equally resolve state-city-school education issues). Please note: there are now 14 models. The other 14 are listed in Attachment 6. Appendix L of Attachment #4 is now entitled “14 Models of Conflict Resolution For Use in Wider Institutional or Wider Area Stakeholder Process to Bring Resolution and Consensus.”

6. “47 Models of Communications Strategy,” which is summarized as Appendix K of Attachment #4 (as 40 models) and Appendix C of the August 2000 proposal to the Vikings (34 models then). There use will help educate the public and the stakeholders of the need to go forward and do so in a way that satisfies/semi-satisfies all involved.

3. Three newspapers report that L.A. is already the answer. BUT: “It ain’t necessarily so.”“There goes the team” as one letter to the editor headline goes, as it is paired with a second that believes the signing of Randy Moss mutes talk of movement (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 7-27-01, . A24, column 4). Each, in their own way, is correct. The Vikings are already on record as saying they won’t play in the Metrodome after their lease. And if they want to leave earlier and break the lease, all they need to do is pay a fine. My thesis is that the amount of public dollars needed are small if any, as reflected in the 10 models discussed, and, as much as I agree with the no public assistance, I can now see that a small amount is more of an investment than a hand out, which I’ll discuss below later (a real change of heart for me). Please note: when I wrote Model #4, I was not aware of Models #1-3 and 7-10. They have caused me to soften my earlier hardened position. Once all involved know of the 10 models, I believe those with differing views will likewise move towards each other.

To help us focus on the seriousness of this, we need only look at what has been written by three reporters from three different papers, each of who indicated that the Vikings are already on their way to Los Angeles (Charlie Walters, Pioneer Press, Patrick Reusse, Minneapolis Star Tribune Larry Fitzgerald, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder). If they are correct, you need not read any more. However, if they are not, or if you would like to ensure for the people of Minnesota that their Vikings won’t follow their Lakers, my letter and enclosures demonstrate ways in which they can be retained, and happily so, for all parties involved.

As the old song goes, “It ain’t necessarily so.” In other words, even if what these three papers report reflects the Vikings frustration, the situation can still be positively changed to enable them to stay. A way of facilitating that end is what I have outlined for Minnesota to follows in #7 below: “Team/Legislative Breakthrough: 4 Tracks, 3 Sets of Models, 1 Red Carpet.”

Given the long history of this issue, this is not about Red McCombs. It is about the long term relationship of a state with a team. Over time, owners come and go (the Vikings have had four). Players come and go. Fans don’t go to stadiums to see owners. They go to see teams and, in many instances, specific players as they come and go as well. When three reporters from three different papers talk about the team moving to L.A., the nature of the issue should be clear, a definite business decision has been made in the sense that the team will play in a new stadium. Of that there can be doubt. The only question is where will it be: Minnesota, Los Angeles, or San Marcos, Texas (between San Antonio and Austin)? The option is still open to keep them here. The other key question suggested is why isn’t anyone trying to prevent a move, let alone talking about preventing the move? Are the “powers” not interested despite the obvious interest of the people?

Minnesota needs to pre-empt any move to either Texas or California (LA has Minnesota’s Lakers. Isn’t that enough?) by promising a stadium now and working out “how” later, while at the same time alerting tax payers they need not worry. In other words, a campaign to woo the Vikings and, if a few public dollars are needed, to woo the tax payer as well, regarding what such an investment will mean to them. Attachment #6 outlines 47 models to use to get the word out.

Charlie Walters, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, has written:

Word within NFL circles is that no one was happier than Vikings owner Red McCombs this week when Oakland owner Al Davis lost his lawsuit against the league…. That verdict leaves Los Angeles available for the Vikings. … At least one NFL owner believes a move, or sale, of the Vikings to Los Angeles could be worth nearly $1 billion to McCombs, including a new stadium deal. [“Al Davis’ loss could be McCombs’ gain,” May 24, 2001]

Patrick Reusse, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune , has written:

….Red figuring out a way to move the Purple to L.A. and then change the nickname.” [“Agreement illustrates urge to win,” July 26, 2001]

Larry Fitzgerald, in the Minnesota Spectator-Recorder, has written:

…..the Vikings are now the NFL’s most popular team. They have the two most popular players in the league in Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss….. … the three years that McCombs has owned the team he’s made $15 million, while Jerry Jones has made $165 million directly from his stadium. …..when the business community decided to build Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and bring the NHL back, they chose hockey over the Vikings. NHL players are 98 percent white, while NFL players and the Vikings are 80 percent black. ….. The Vikings have the worst stadium agreement in sports. Nobody is happy with the Dome; the Twins want out, the Gophers [and] the Vikings [want out too], yet nothing is getting done. [“Conspiracy of silence,” July 12-18, 2001; Emphasis added]

Fitzgerald then goes on to discuss Rupert Murdock, CEO of FOX and his desire (“imperative”) for an NFL team in L.A. Fitzgerald predicts that the Vikings will move to L.A. and the Twins will stay in a renovated dome, and the Gopher football team will get its own stadium on its campus. Interestingly enough, this is the potential conclusion I had come to independently of Fitzgerald, as the enclosures indicate, should the stadium deal not come to pass.

Fitzgerald asks why there is a “conspiracy of silence” regarding not answering the case made by McCombs for a new stadium (the same case made by the previous owners, incidentally, so this is not new, and, hence, is not about Red). Fitzgerald then concludes by saying, “McCombs has been patient, its part of his style. He has led the way. What is he to do?”

Whether the Vikings move or not is purely a business decision: just as automakers had to reengineer their plants in new locations to compete with imports and other industries have had to move or change to do the same, so too must professional sports teams. As all businesses, they have to adapt to the market place. Half of the companies listed in the Fortune 500 in the 1970’s are gone. In the words of the knight in the 3rd Indiana Jones movie, they “chose poorly.” Every professional team not to get a new stadium has eventually moved. This is not rocket science. The previous owners of the Vikings said the same thing. They either didn’t think Minnesota would build a new stadium for the Vikings or they did not want them to, so they sold the team. This is another question that needs to be answered. I’m sure the irony is not lost on the fact that billionaire and millionaire former owners could only think of how the taxpayers could build the stadium. Given their wealth and ability to assemble development packages, they could have made it happen if they wanted to. My position throughout this letter is that the Vikings belong to the people, and that it is the responsibility of the people’s legislature to make sure it happens, and given the models discussed in this letter, it is obvious that it is possible for little or no new tax dollars. The questions are (1) who is opposed to it and (2) who has the will to do the people’s business?

On the other hand, why are opponents in such a huff about companies that lay the golden eggs that pay the wages and salaries from which taxes come and enable government to fund itself? Helping companies help provide jobs for employees and taxes for governments to provide services is a long held American way of doing business.

These reporters and others raise good questions. How can we provide answers to them? My suggestion is #7 below: “Team/Legislative Breakthrough: 4 Tracks, 3 Sets of Models, 1 Red Carpet.”

4. Ten stadium financing/operating models, 2 idea sources and, & related possibilities.

There are now ten models on the table plus 2 idea sources from as well as from, all of which can be used in a “mix and match” effort that can resolve the differences, and a site from which to generate research,

To be sure, is very pro stadium for the Vikings, with no mention of the Twins, and the St. Paul politalk-mn1 list serve is mixed, wanting a stadium for the Twins but not at the expense of tax payers, with only a little discussion of the Vikings, except to say that the Vikings are a middle and upper middle class team, and thus a stadium would only be for them, missing entirely the point that although the lower income groups cannot afford to attend the stadium, they do watch their Vikings on TV, and would probably be the most upset by the Vikings moving. If people are truly for economic justice and the poor, they will not take the Vikings from this group of society.

When I originally submitted my proposal to the Vikings in August 2000, and even in my response to the Poli-talk on line group in June 2001 (attachment #2), I was in favor of no public funds of any kind. Since then, I have learned about the other models, and have come to understand that it may not be possible for a totally no public funds approach, and that some investment is needed in order preserve the taxes which would not be available if the teams were not here. You can see my change of view as you read my comments below about the models on the table. I also realize that it would put the teams at a competitive disadvantage, and that is the key issue, not greed, because of the subsidies afforded such entities as the Mall of America, the downtown Target Center, and the newly passed $5.5 billion in subsidies for the farmers that passed the U.S. Senate 8-4-01. The difference? These others are not visible as they make their millions and contribute to the tax revenues, whereas the teams and player are very visible, for the latter is what splashes on the news and across the headlines, not the other entities. It is unfair to subsidize everyone else and then single out the teams for nothing, especially when they can build stadiums within the current tax law and by adding a very small tax on sources other than income and property taxes of the average Minnesotan.

And when one looks at how the tax payers of Bloomington are investing $63-$100 million in the new Mall of America expansion, the $150 million needed for the Vikings from the state doesn’t seem to be very much. And when you “mix and match” parts of each model, including the suggestions received by, you can still end up with a result of very few if any new taxes, regardless of model. And we are left with the question, whether we like it or not, that if a city like Bloomington can do it, why can’t the state?

When you look at the value Bloomington has received from the Mall of America and the future value Bloomington will receive, they will look like geniuses by the time the dust all settles.

A key consideration is revenue stream assignments. Teams need the stadium revenue streams to be competitive. Therefore, having stadium revenue streams pay off financing bonds is not acceptable to the teams (understandably, from their standpoint), although it should still be placed on the table as a point in the negotiations. HOWEVER, if the state were to work with the teams to generate the kind of mixed used commercial development noted in Models #2 and 4, there would be non-stadium revenue that could be used. And to be clear, for there to be true negotiations, everything has to be on the table, with the resolution starting from there.

Here is a list of the ten models, followed by commentary on how they affect the four stadiums:

1. The private investment model of New Ballpark, Inc. (led by the heads of Wells Fargo and US Bank) and C-17 for the Twins.

2. An earlier commercial real estate multi-use stadium complex proposal made to the Twins, which would not require any new taxes.

3. The private-public Vikings model combines NFL and Vikings moneys ($150 million), stadium related taxing using existing laws ($200 million), leaving a gap of $150 million, which could be completely closed by a half cent hotel/motel tax levy.

4. My multi-use facility/site model, with its claim of not needing any new taxes (attached).

5. The university funding models of Appendix A of my Model (attached)

6. The 40 ways to generate revenue in 26 revenue categories, which are part of #4 above.

7. The private funding model proposed to the Vikings by Lyle Berman

8. The private funding model to finance a new stadium being used by Steve Young and Brent Jones, with backing from Silicon Valley, as they search for a team to buy.

9. The combination of a casino with a stadium, either (a) on a reservation near the Twin Cities or (b) a state owned one from which the profits go to pay for the stadium, etc.

10. A hybrid mix and match creatively developed from parts of the above..

Here are the two ideas sources and the one research source: (both of which can be visited online, and which are discussed in more detail later in this letter)

1., created by Otis Courtney, who can be reached at this site or at This is a very much pro-stadium site, regarding the Vikings (it does not address the Twins) which has received, from visitors, numerous funding suggestions which would help make the panel’s job easier, as there are fans who have already submitting worthwhile suggestions. I am asking Otis to pass on those suggestions to you, plus any others he receives, for use by the panel.

2., created by Tim Erickson of St Paul, whose email address is Tim’s politalk group sponsors a number of questions of importance to its audience. In June it ran a three week on-line series on “Public Financing of Sports Stadiums, and although it has its anti-stadium contingent, it is another source of understanding both sides, and would be a valuable inclusion in work your panel studies as well. It focus was mostly on the Twins.

3., has, in my view, the finest collection of information links on the web, and is tied into numerous search sites dealing with business and finance.Re the Twins

I assume they are covered by the first two models of the list , although they are holding out instead for public financing. I also assume, when all of the dust settles, that there will be a push to keep them in the Dome, and that they will not pursue a multi-use facility. The Minneapolis City Council has already approved of going along with the New Ballpark, Inc., proposal if they can show the numbers work (although the Twins have rejected it because they want a larger park, and one with a cover). It should be noted that Pac Bell Park in San Francisco was primarily privately funded. Whether they will be able to sustain it over time is still a good question. It is not mixed use. Nonetheless, the greater the mixed use the greater the chances of success. My understanding from the Twins, however, is that they still hope to get public financing. That means that they too must think (or were told??) that the Vikings are on the way and not to worry, just be patient. If so, they are fooling themselves, for if the Vikings leave there is no way tax payers will go for the Twins, and that leaves the Twins in the Metrodome.

Re the Vikings

Although I did not hear from the Vikings regarding my August 2000 proposal, I did hear from them after I had submitted my May 2001 generic model to them. Mike Kelly told me how much he appreciated our work, that we were true friends of the Vikings, but that they expected to close a deal with the legislature, and if not, they would be interested in talking about my model. They also turned down another private pay proposal, Model #7. When I met with Mike Kelly last week, he told me the exciting news that all the Vikings needed was a half cent hotel/motel tax and it was a done deal, as they have the votes in the legislature for it.

This little is needed because the Vikings and NFL will put in $150 million, and the stadium related taxing using what is already on the books (i.e., no new taxes) will generate $200 million in revenue, leaving the remaining $150 million needed to be met by the half cent hotel/motel tax (a “new” tax but not one on the average Minnesotan). Of course the “monkey wrench” is the current legislature position that the “ticket of admission” to the state vault is to build a facility jointly with the university. And although not the ideal, I suspect it could be acceptable to the university if the stadium was at the edge of the property, with any additional development moving away from the campus, and with the egress/ingress points all on the side away from the campus so that traipsing through campus was not the path to the stadium except for students.

However, the Gophers will benefit most by the Vikings leaving (don’t forget, the first attempt to put a pro team in Miami was originally opposed and blocked by the University of Miami, and so that team then went to Buffalo). The University and its regents may be playing a polite game of waiting and non-cooperation (as opposed to un-cooperative) until the Vikings leave, after which they will then meet their true goal of being able to get a stadium just for themselves (and, unlike the Vikings, the Gophers are the team of the middle and upper class graduates of Minnesota and of the legislature). The question that obviously presents itself is this: as the votes are there for the half cent hotel/motel tax, which will not impact the average Minnesotan, what is the hold up?

Few would argue against this tax. Without it (or something else), its bye bye Vikes and hello L.A. Why, if the votes are there, isn’t it announced so that the dust can settle, everyone can then make nice, and the plans for moving forward with the new stadium can go forward, and Minnesotans can go on watching and believing in their purple clad heroes? And, if the university opts out, both the Gophers and the Vikings could, with these ten models, still achieve their own stadiums. And either way, each of them and everyone else can best make their case using the 47 communications models of Attachment #6.

It should be noted that the Vikings have looked into mixed use with commercial development for offices and housing and retail (which is also in Models #2 and #4) but could not find a deal to their liking. This may be another discussion of value for your study panel. It is also an opportunity for whoever else might want to partner with the Vikings in such a multi-use deal.

Re the Gophers

I assume, given the nature of universities and boosters, etc. (Appendix A of the model of attachment #4) that the Gophers are going to be taken care of (university stadiums as opposed to pro stadiums, are unique in this way). Even though Mike Kelly tells me a deal has been struck and that the Vikes and the University are on the same page, nothing in my experience or knowledge suggests that it would hold. If I am correct, and the university holds out for their own stadium, on their own turf, what is the fall back position?

Is one fall back position already in place, that for the Gophers to get their stadium the Vikings have to leave town? Ironically, it is the Gophers who will benefit most from the Vikings leaving (no other Big 10 team has to compete with the affections of the fans for a pro team), so I expect little help from them until they are told they can have a separate stadium (and even then they would still have to share the affections of the fans and so would probably still be unhappy).

However, the approach of Models #2, 5, 7, and 8. is the closest to what some boosters across the country are doing for their university stadiums, and could be used to fund the Gophers as well (and with billionaire and millionaire regents, it would not be a difficult thing for them to put together the financing packages for them to do so). That means that the Gophers too could have their own stadium if they opted out of a joint one with the Vikings.

I still believe, however, that all the models will hold, even for the university, whether or not their new stadium is combined with other growth needs of the university and a private sector development (the latter if it is at the edge of the campus). But, belief on my part is not going to get a shovel turned on their end without a shared belief, which won’t occur until a conflict resolution process is undertaken. Attachment #5 offers 10 models for doing so (four more are added to Attachment #6).

Re the Metrodome

The Metrodome still has value, whether continued on its own or replaced by something else. The suggestion of making the Metropolitan Sports Authority a statewide sports/entertainment industry agency, coordinating both amateur and professional sports in Minnesota is probably what is needed to cut through the Gordion stadium knot. This means taking it beyond being just a city-based facilities management agency, while at the same time enable the Metrodome itself to continue, even if the other teams obtained new stadiums. The Metrodome also could mix and match from the 10 models to find a new mission and still be successful and profitable. Survey questions and focus groups which are asked if they are willing to pay more taxes in order to pay for new stadiums, are very different than if asked if they want the teams to move. It is unfair and, from a social science statistical and qualitative analysis standpoint, wrong to phrase the questions this way when an alternate legitimate question is not asked: would you be in favor of new stadiums in a new private-public partnership if either no new taxes were used or if the taxes used were not income or property taxes but, for example, a half cent increase in hotel and motel taxes?

Re any of these entities

These models will work for any team or facility. Given my own personal interest, however, I draw your attention to my model, Model #4: this too will work for all four entities, including the Metrodome, even if all the entities do is follow the financing mechanisms (Section I.A.,D), and only adopt a few of the 40 ways to generate revenues in 26 categories (Section I.B.,C), and even if it stays with the traditional operations methods rather than implement any of the other ingredients in this model’s recipe for success regarding either team operations and player compensation (Section II), or communications and Internet use (Section III). However, the Dreamworks model is the perfect backup for each, and it surprises me that it has not been tried in Minnesota.

Re Use of the Internet in General and in particular

Otis Courtney, founder of, is the one who got me started in this, as I discuss in the last section of this letter. He has received many different financing suggestions that would greatly help the task force in its work. Indeed, his site could be used to enable you to take advantage of the Internet. Indeed, you would want to use several sources to do so. See Attachment #6, Model #30 (with its 12 parts) and Model #31 (with its 4 parts). This would also engage the public in a significant and positive way. Also see Appendix I of Model #4 regarding harnessing the Internet and Appendix J regarding establishing a web portal to more broadly reach the fan and citizen bases.


And its Public Funding of Stadiums Discussion

Most “Poli-talk” posts were either very pro or very anti-public financing of stadiums or came with desired strings attached. No one seemed able to grasp the notion of private financing or special private-public partnerships. They either wanted their team, whatever the cost, or no team if it meant using tax revenue, or they wanted it publicly owned, like Green Bay, or they wanted stipulations and quid pro quos for any tax money used. A recent statement about the new book India Unbound, on how India’s economy began to improve dramatically after the 1991 reforms that allowed more of a free market to operate, notes that what “might be considered settled fact in most boardrooms and seminar chambers from Delhi to Dallas” is not well understood, and thus the book is an “an eye-opener to readers unfamiliar with the radical transformations currently under way in the subcontinent.” I suspect that is the state of affairs with modern day financing in general and the mixed use model proposed in particular. I guess I was naively hoping my piece would also “be considered settled fact.” But I see I still have work to do to get it to that understanding in peoples’ minds. Attachment #6 provides the techniques to provide educating for such understanding for any who want to undertake doing so in order that the citizenry as a whole, the tax payers, understand correctly what is meant.

The DreamWorks Model

This is a model most seem apprehensive about. It requires a long-term view. An investment is created for deep pocket people who invest in both material and non-material ways, and have no vote or participation in the running of the entity but do get to rub shoulders and have lunch with those involved. With this model, DreamWorks raised $2 billion, even though there was no promise of profits nor a project of when profits would come, and even though when profits came, DreamWorks would keep 65% of the profits for its founders. Indeed, they sat on the $2 billion for two years before making their first movie. I would be absolutely flabbergasted to find that such a model would not work for an NFL team or an NBA team. It might work for a MLB team, but certainly would for an NFL team. It is a model, however, that would probably only work for special industries in which people want to a part of that which have celebrity and enchantment value, such as the movies and music (DreamWorks), TV and music, professional sports teams (especially the NFL), and the travel/cruise business (because of the locations and forms of travel). Of course, DreamWorks now makes money for its investors. But the long term was the deal in the first place. It would work for the NFL as well.

The Economic Benefit of the Vikings

Most in the legislature and in business, as well as Red and other leaders, understand what it means and what pro sports teams represent economically (1) to the Cities and the State ($1-2 billion in additional dollars poured into a community because of a pro football team, depending on whose figures you use, not to mention revenues from an NBA team, MLB team, NHL, etc.), and (2) to the owners (here we have a model which, if followed, would add $200 million or more of value (although, admittedly, this number is speculative) to the Vikings, regardless of whether they stay in the Twin Cities or move), not to mention the on-going operations revenue and profits they would generate (whether to Red, a local buyer or buyers’ group, or out of towners).

Do the Twin Cities really want to give away all of that money to another city, which would happen if the contraction talks of baseball eliminate the Twins or if the reporting in the three columns quoted is true regarding the Vikings following the Lakers to L.A.? That would be a lot of money to toss away and a lot of anger to absorb from fans. Even if the Vikings were owned by Minnesotans, without a new stadium they would still move, and so the issue would still have to be resolved. Do the Cities really want to have to play the “who lost the Vikings or Twins game”? And what politician wants to take that heat, especially when there are 10 models that address these issues and enables them to have their cake and eat it too, models which will only get better as both the legislature and the teams adapt them to their collective and separate needs?

As noted, most people don’t have a grasp of the complexities of the high finance of what we are discussing. Thus, as you can see, I have far more faith in the private sector when it acts with the public sector and takes the lead than when it gives the lead to the public sector (then we become regulation bound). Unfortunately for Minnesota, the attempts of both the Vikings and Twins have failed. And so now the teams are assuming its up the legislature. A “no” for the Vikings means they leave town. A “no” for the Twins means they will continue in the Metrodome, and either way, it means a new stadium for the Gophers. There is also a lot of ideological reasons opposing new stadiums that have nothing to do with economic reality. This is why I recommend the conflict resolution models of Attachment #5 and the communications strategy models of Attachment #6. The team most eager for a new stadium will use both, and a legislative panel really interested in resolving this will join them in their efforts.

Given my new research and information, I now believe a deal can be struck. There are enough mechanisms to give a boost needed by both sectors and the juice each needs for public acceptance as well, in order to make it happen even easier for both than I had originally laid it out, and thus satisfy all three: (1) the teams that want the state to help out, the (2) legislature that wants to help out some but not much, given other state needs, and (3) fans who don’t want to pay any new tax money. Using appropriate communications strategies of facts, clarity and purpose, such, in my view, would be acceptable to all three sides: the teams, the legislature, and the fans who elect the legislators and pay the teams for tickets, as well as the millions of others watching on TV.

Keeping the Vikings

Lets assume that the answer to the question of “to keep the Vikings or not to keep the Vikings” is in the affirmative. A yes. To keep the Vikings. Then all that needs to be done is to answer how it is to be funded. And again, although I share the desire to not use new public funding (which is what my enclosed model, attachment #4, is based on, as are Models #2, 7 and 8), the fact is that there are 10 models showing how to use no or minimal public funds and/or tax code areas that don’t effect the average Minnesotan.

As noted above, there is also the web site started by Otis Courtney, which got me started in the first place,, which, if used, would be a great resource. Many suggestions have come in and the site could be used to generate even more suggestions regarding how to fund the stadium without adding new taxes (or, at least, nothing outside the taxes generated by the teams and the stadiums), especially if it uses any of the communications models of Attachment #6 (especially its models 30 and 31).

At the end of this letter I explain how I got involved in trying to help figure out how to contribute to solving the “keep the Vikings” problem, first because of a call from Otis to help and second because of my oldest son’s exhortation not to stop trying (he is a rabid Vikings fan and has just completed his first year at St. Olaf).

From the above it is clear that this is not about Red McCombs. Of all of individuals involved, he is the most innocent of all, given that he inherited this problem from Minnesotans. This is about business. Business decisions led to the loss of the Lakers and to the loss of Honeywell, and the attendant resources and jobs and taxes they represented. I dare say, there is not one legislator who would not move the team, if they owned it, in the current business environment, if a new stadium was not forth coming. Not one. And they too would not use the Metrodome. If over 27 of the 32 NFL teams have build new stadiums recently, they cannot be much of a hardship on cities, and the remaining cities have promised one or are working on one (or major renovations). L.A. is salivating. Minnesota created a great team: L.A. wants the reward. Minnesota has the two greatest players in the game today: Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss. They belong to the fans and people of Minnesota. L.A. wants to steal them away. Will they be allowed to do so? They will woo Red to win Red. Will Minnesota woo Red?

The Metrodome cannot be renovated to fit all teams. It can be best renovated for baseball.

From a fan comfort and “that was great let’s go back” standpoint, the times have changed. A new stadium is needed. As the population ages, the fact that there are few bathrooms, with ever longer growing lines, becomes more of a problem. At the other end of the age spectrum, as the new baby boomer demographic increases (some say explodes), the concourses are too narrow and thus dangerous for families with strollers. And so on.

From a business standpoint, teams need to be able to generate revenues to survive, as any business. There is resentment in those ideologically moved to resent, but it is unwarranted. TV stars of successful shows that draw lots of viewers make far more money than athletes. When David Sarnoff, founder of RCA and NBC was asked why he paid millions to Johnny Carson, he said it was because people won’t tune in to watch Sarnoff. They tuned in to watch Johnny. He was responsible for bringing in and keeping the fans and their advertising revenue and network brand name loyalty. Carson’s “Tonight” show was NBC’s most successful show ever, accounting for 17% of the network’s profit. In other words, he earned that money. The same is true of the Vikings.

They are not overpaid in terms of what they cause to be generated for the business as a whole, and all of the other businesses that benefit from the Vikings being here, including all of the major media outlets (newspapers, radio stations, Television stations), not to mention the tax collector. The Vikings sell out. They have high TV ratings. And they are now considered America’s favorite team. That is why one of the financing lines in Model #4, attachment #4, is the taxes they pay as well as the taxes paid by players from out of state. And with the coming demographics of population growth (which will make the baby boomers seem like a small blip on the screen), there will also be plenty of growth, including both those born here and those moving to here to assure a continuous increase in revenues. The Sporting News online article on Pete Rozelle, on December 20, 1999, says this about the NFL: “by far the most influential and most watched sport in all of the United States….[a] ratings-gobbling, argument-provoking, dollar-generating, thoroughly entertaining and amazingly dominant conglomerate….”

A Word About Lease Bonds

Backed by State Income Tax On Players (local AND out of state players)

Revenue source #6 of Model #4, Attachment #4, “lease bonds backed by state income tax on [local] players’ salaries”, which is the $150 million bond agreed to by the Oregon legislature if it is able to obtain a MLB team for Portland) also refers to the income taxes of out-of-state players playing in the new stadiums to back revenue bonds for building the stadiums. This should make it even easier as it provides a common ground for those who are understandably queasy about either a total private funding or a total public funding. It creates an even better private-public partnership, to enable keeping the teams in a fashion that is economically beneficial to all. It makes an even better private-public partnership than it was before. And who will argue with taxing out-of-state players? No one. They will cheer. Local players pay there. Why not their players paying here?

And who can argue against applying these taxes to back revenue bonds if, without them, the teams are lost either to contraction or relocation and all of that revenue is lost anyway? Neither the fans that love their teams nor the businesses that benefit from their being there, nor the tax collectors anticipating that revenue, nor the angry voters that would result if they were “lost”, nor the angry populace as a whole’s pride factor. This would also preclude the need of the state to dictate things like where the money goes, such as the proposal for the naming rights money to go to the state which the Vikings understandably resist, nor to dictate ticket prices, etc. (although true negotiations put everything on the table and work from there to get to what is acceptable to those parties involved in the negotiations). In my view, its pure win-win all the way around. These models will prevent the legislature as being the guys who lost the Vikings. These models will enable the legislators to be the heroes: the ones who saved the Vikings.

About the Mixed-Use Option

You have to like this one. I certainly do. But it takes deep pockets to pull it off, not to mention vision, to undertake it (but my experience with Jim Rouse in the late 1960’s forever convinced me of its value, as his company has continued to do). Norm Green, a Canadian real estate developer, wanted a mixed use facility on his North Stars Met Center site. The city of Minneapolis nixed it, fearing its competition to downtown. So he moved the team. Ironically, the idea was let loose anyway (that is what ideas do) and the idea set upon his fellow Canadians, who with St. Louis and local folks, picked up the idea and followed through in building the ultimate in mixed-use sites, the Mall of America (and will now do it again as they double in size on, irony of ironies, Norm Green’s old site). But, admittedly, it would take someone like Red (or Carl for the Twins) to get on board the idea, to whet their appetites for it, for they could put together the capital or capital groups to make it happen. Without their being in favor, the chances, of course, are zero, unless someone on their staff would champion it and carry the ball to get it done. Is the Legislature willing to put that on the table?

About the suggestion to build three stadiums

Minnesota is unique: and the empirical data is clear: (1) the fans already come to all four (Vikings, Twins, Gophers, Wild), (2) the fans are already spending money for tickets (the Vikings web site notes 60,000 season ticket holders; I couldn’t find a number on the Twins web page), and (3) the Cities already enjoy a significant visitor base (the Mall of America alone attracts over 40 million visitors a year, many from international visits) to add to the regional traffic and the out of town day trippers. It should also be noted that the “private investment” model has been the traditional money for return model, dealing in solid material terms. None of the teams have tried the DreamWorks model that seeks dollars in exchange first for non-material returns before eventually obtaining material returns.

About yet ever newer ideas for financing

The exciting thing about this project is that new ideas keep popping up. This is one of the fun things about And now the August 5, 2001 letters to the editors of the Strib presents yet another model. As noted on page two, I did not become aware of Models # 1-3 and 7-10 until after I wrote the attached materials. And now here is another one: as the sovereign nations of the Native American tribes have built casinos (Model #9), why not a state owned casino by the sovereign state of Minnesota. The letter writer, Lowell Walburn of Medford, Minn, suggests the profits from a casino could be used to build stadiums and roads and state parks, etc. With the expansion of every Indian casino in the last five years, Walburn suggests the state should benefit from it as well. The significance of this suggestion, is that it demonstrates a key point of this letter: that once the process is opened up to the public, ideas will come in that more knowledgeable folks can analyze for their viability and appropriateness in the State mix. And the techniques of Attachment #6 can help to provide that openness and drive in such new ideas for consideration. We also learn in the 8-6-01 USA Today about Steve Young and Brent Jones desire to buy an NFL team and build a stadium with private monies from Silicon Valley (Model #8).

5. Third Party “Verification”/Comments on the Models

Regarding Model 1: championed and verified by the heads of Wells Fargo and US Bank.

Regarding Model #2: worked out in commercial real estate deals across the state and country, of which mixed use shopping centers/office space and housing (condos, apartments, free standing homes) are the most obvious and the Mall of America is the most famous. It was recommended to the Twins.

Regarding Model #3: already worked out by the Vikings, with only the small half-cent hotel/motel tax to be put in place to make the final financing a reality.

Regarding Model #4: has been shown to (1) a guy in the stadium building business who says every team should follow it, (2) to a venture capital guy who says it will work, theoretically, and (3) to a former Big 8 guy (he went on his own before they became Big 5), who also says it is sound on the dollar side, with the only major difficulty he finds being the one he says exists for all large projects: getting the disparate groups needed to make it happen to work together. This, of course, is where Dave Jennings’ call for “a public discussion” in which a “family meeting” can provide the setting to resolve this comes into play, and where the conflict resolution models of Appendix L of Attachment 4 comes into play, which are provided in greater detail in Attachment 5. These macro and micro models/mechanisms will enable that discussion and resolution to take place. However, such a mixed-use project would require the kind of muscle that a Red McCombs and his network have could pull it off (not that Minnesotans don’t have that kind of muscle, witness the Mall of America, but, as with the former owners who also had the muscle, they passed). So an invitation to him or similar person to consider and discuss it with him would be in order.

Finally, the former Big 8 guys estimates $5 million to put the whole package together (physical model, plans, blue prints, agreements with the various jurisdictions, etc., etc., etc.) and $50 million from the owner to oversee putting together the bricks and mortar. Interestingly enough, that is the exact amount I had as the owner’s revenue contribution line (of the eight revenue sources; recall there are more to add from the suggestions received at ).

Regarding Model #5: universities: the information and individually identified universities who have already done so, as listed in Appendix A of Attachment #4, can provide the specifics once they are contacted. But they have obtained the funding, ranging from total state funding to totally private funding, to combinations in between. In other words, it can be done. The blue print for the Gophers is available from the examples in this Appendix.

Regarding Model #6: 40 ways in 26 categories to generate revenues, which is introduced in Model #4: fits any model.

Regarding Model #7: pay proposal to the Vikings: see them or Lyle Berman

Regarding Model #8: contact Steve Young and/or Brent Jones.

Regarding Model #9: the Casino folks, state and tribe, can provide the information for this one.

Regarding Model #10: mix and match from any of the above nine.

Note, no pro formas have accompanied any of these models as they are presented here. They exist with the originators of each, who can be asked to provide them for the legislature (except #4, although similar ones can be obtained by projects reflected in #2). Also, as leagues will work with legislators and teams in working out pro formas, they too need to be contacted. As the NFL would be putting up a sizeable amount, they have and would provide pro formas as they have them, which the Vikings already have on hand. The Twins, likewise, have pro formas by the MLB league. However, be sure to pay attention to their assumptions, for that tells you how traditional or leading edge they are, what “what-if” analyses they provide, what all is covered in their projected vs. real example cash flows, including both sunk costs and opportunity costs, as well as fixed and variable costs, depreciation, taxes, and profits that can be kept or diverted when combining a stadium with a multi-use commercial development, etc., and so forth and so on, by accounting category.

Obviously, it is more than important, it is mandatory to use industry standards in developing such pro formas. HOWEVER, note that as most such stadiums are not of the mixed-use variety, it will require using pro formas from the mixed-use commercial development industry as well as the professional sports industry. Note also that the pro forma mix needs also to be added to for Model #4, as it goes beyond both commercial development and professional sports to creating its own unique “sports-entertainment-commercial development” model.

6. Team/Legislative Breakthrough: 4 Tracks, 3 Sets of Models, and 1 Red Carpet

The task force or panel you are setting up (Star Tribune, July 24 and 25, 2001) is a brilliant way to begin and probably the one with the greatest chance of success. What I have listed in this piece and in the attachments will contribute to the panel’s consideration of all options. The lack of enthusiasm reported in the papers by the teams is understandable, as they share similar visions: that the State should finance what they need, which is a huge number by the Twins and a reasonable/workable number for the Vikings. Huge funding won’t fly (except for the Gophers). But the work presented here shows how minimal state help is needed and should help bring both sides together. Once all sides find out the stadiums can be built without costing either much up front monies, relatively speaking, it will be a lot easier to get the discussion moving to resolution.

The Twins want most of their stadium subsidized. The Vikings want very little, in comparison, in terms of new taxes. The Gophers are keeping quiet. And the Metrodome still wants to look to the future through a rear view mirror, when, with these models, it could develop a whole new life for it self if it would get on a state wide perspective.

The Taxpayers League of Minnesota will not be satisfied unless the final plan shows how the investment provided (which is a better and more accurate term) will really return benefits to the taxpayer and not just take more out of their pockets. Here, again, is where the use of Attachment #6 is so important to use to demonstrate this.

Nonetheless, timing is critical. In terms of the Vikings, it is of maximum importance to promise a new stadium, and on a basis that will not involve any new taxes on the ordinary citizen. Hence the recommendation to adapt the Vikings’ wordings so that it says as follows:

The legislature is committed to finding a fair and responsible stadium financing solution that will include over half of the costs being contributed by the team, and the rest using mechanisms which will not only not increase the tax burden of the average Minnesotan, but which will return revenue to the state in excess of what it invests in the projects, thus being a benefit for all.

You could even go so far as to add: “nor increase the income tax nor the property tax of the average Minnesotan.”

Thus, to help break the legislative deadlock, I advocate following 4 tracks, using 3 sets of models, and 1 red carpet.

The “Four Track Process to Follow to Build Twin City Stadiums”

(from Attachment #1):

Track #1, “Getting Started”, includes the conflict resolution piece of Attachment #5 to answer David Jennings’ call for a “Minnesota conversation,” a gathering of financing ideas, including those from, and a “red carpet” campaign for the Vikings.

Track #2, “Legislation”, which includes working with all four entities and “safety nets” for both the legislature/tax payers and the teams/tax revenue generators.

Track #3, Private Funding, which includes giving consideration to the DreamWorks model and the 40 ways of 26 revenue categories, and which means giving consideration also to a commercial mixed use site, as well as a web portal. See also Models #2, 4, 7, 8.

Track #4, NFL/Players, to consider changing the paradigmatic model of management/labor to a senior executive model, employing as a discussion starter, the 12 part compensation structure of Attachment 4.

All four tracks are encouraged to use the 47 communications models of Attachment #6.

The three sets of models:

Set #1: The 10 stadium financing models of page 2 and Section 4, pp. 7-16.

Set #2: the 14 conflict resolution models (attachment #5 and 6).

Set #3: the 47 communications models (attachment #6).

The one red carpet: This is referred to in Track #1 of the “Four Tracks,” and refers to wooing the owners and the taxpayers.

For the taxpayers, it is a matter of information presentation in such a way that the truth is stated such that they see the benefit. Using the 47 communications models of Attachment 6 would do this.

In terms of wooing Red McCombs, that is a different matter. It could be argued that he should be wooing Minnesota. But, he has what Minnesota wants. All he wants is a stadium. And he will get a stadium. That was the position of the former owners as well. The only question is where: Minnesota, L.A., or San Marcos? In situations like this, certain rituals are needed. The most important is the promising of a stadium now and working out how later, using the Vikings own words as a base:

The legislature is committed to finding a fair and responsible stadium financing solution that will include over half of the costs being contributed by the team, and the rest using mechanisms which will not only not increase the tax burden of the average Minnesotan, but which will return revenue to the state in excess of what it invests in the projects, thus being a benefit for all.

Here are some suggestions to get the brainstorming started:

1. Plan a “Red Carpet” treatment for Red like the one used by Harvey Mackay to win the Superbowl to the Metrodome.

2. Act as a “realtor” and find several convenient, yet well-appointed “homes away from home” for them to consider purchasing for use while in Minnesota, offering substitute sites in the meantime, IF they wish to stay over night.

3. Invite the McCombs to stay over Sunday nights to meet Mondays with various key leaders in business (CEOs), government (Governor), legislative (Senators and Representatives), including key staffers, to discuss the Stadium and the future; include his daughter or other key family members, as they determine.

4. If, because the grandkids have to be back for school the next day, arrange such intimate dinners on Saturday, the day before the football game, and provide a place for them Saturday night.

5. Discuss ways to make the stadium work for the team but also for special events, like the Olympics, and other major national and world events.

6. Arrange events for the grandkids while they are in town if they stay over on non-school Sundays or stay over Saturday nights.

7. Arrange for them to meet representatives of local churches in order to have a local church to go to on Sunday mornings when they stay over Saturday night.

8. Ask him what else would make it comfortable for him in Minnesota during this period, and respond accordingly.

9. Have an “Honorary Minnesotan” ceremony

10. Repeat: plan a “Red Carpet” treatment for Red like the one used by Harvey Mackay to win the Superbowl to the Metrodome.

7. Key parts of the Multi-Use Model (attachment #4)

· An answer to Red’s statement: “Show me.”

· Shows how to facilitate the community discussion Dave Jennings calls for, #39, p. 7.

· Provides a clear emphasis on how the model fits all three, Vikes, Twins, Gophers (p. 12, #61).

· 3 key categories: (1) Stadium Finance and Revenue Generation, (2) Team Operations and Compensation, and (3) Team Communications.

· Lists the finance mechanisms and projected revenues, and adds them up: #13, p. 3 and #49, p. 10.

· Provides for additional ways to finance, as outlined in the Executive Briefing, p. 3, #14, and, as it notes at #16, p. 3, because of input received at, there are still significant ways for financing as well as generating revenues just waiting to be considered as well. Please note: many of the suggestions received at have not been included; however, they too would provide the difference being sought.

· Starts a discussion on smaller scale public-Private partnerships: p. 16, #97-101).

· Outlines a strategic plan for securing funding, ranging from the impossible, full taxpayer support, to the possible, not using any new taxes, and to points in between (#103, pp. 17-18).

· Outlines 40 ways in 26 categories (pp. 13-16, #s 64-92) to generate revenue, and orders them in complimentary groupings/general categories, for raising revenues year round:

  • In the stadium (#s 67-76, pp. 13)
  • Use of brand (#77, p. 13-14)
  • General co-branding (#78, p. 14)
  • Specific co-branding (#79, p. 14)
  • Using the stadium complex but not the stadium itself (#s 82-92, pp. 15-16)
  • A commercial/housing/shopping complex (#91, p. 16)
  • Non-team transient users (#s 93-95, p. 16),
  • And the catchall “Etc.” (#96, p. 16), as this too is an ever expanding area.

    · Potential revenue side receipts of $200 million/year, p. 4, #17, IF a mixed-use model is used that incorporates the “incubator” idea.

    · Notes how NFL teams are part of a larger industry: “Sports-Entertainment-Real Estate- Communications-Investment-Public Space Venue Industry (p. 5, #19 and 20).

    · Notes how NFL teams are part of a 3.245 Trillion amalgam of four major, emerging and enormous growth industries (p. 5, #22 and #26).

    · Provides a “big picture vision” (p. 6, #32).

    · Provides a great emphasis on the real market of the Vikings or any NFL team, the world, and the need to get there before the others do and become a leading brand (#38, p. 7).

    · Discusses the realities of Minority Business Enterprises and Minority Issues Management, on p. 4, #8, p. 7, #37 and #38; p. 17 #99; p. 26, #142, and, Appendix G on page 49.

    · Outlines a 12 part player compensation plan (pp. 20-25, and Appendix E, pp. 110-130), to maximize wealth building for both owners and players as well as tax revenues for the jurisdictions involved, blocking wealth busting, and reducing the amount needed up front to sign (whether rookies or free agents), although we realize only parts of this are doable now until all could be approved by the League and by the players “union,” hence the historic opportunity for you.

    · Emphasis on “internal and external communications” (p. 26, #s137-142, p. 30-31, #s149-169, and Appendix K, p. 54).

    · Appendices developed since the proposal to the Vikings in August 2000:

    · NEW: B (trends supporting the model), C (enchanting the fans and community), D (team value rankings), E (rationale behind the player compensation section, II.B.), G (minority business enterprises and minority issues management), H (Model of 10 competitive analysis components for long term profits), I (harnessing the Internet to save tens’ of millions in operations costs), J (Establishing a team navigational web portal).

    · OLD PROPOSAL PARTS: EXPANDED AND PLACED IN APPENDIX: A (college stadiums, pp. 33-34), F (The “four corners” approach to community consensus building, p. 48).

    · OLD APPENDICES: EXPANDED: K (47 models of communications expanded from 40 in the Model and expanded from 36 in the proposal to the Vikings, and is always open for further expansion), L (the 14 models of conflict resolution have been expanded from 10, and are also always open for further expansion, which are also reflected in Attachment 6); and M (“Lists and Recipes for Success,” which has also been expanded, and is also always open for further expansion).

8. Why the SEEMING willingness of Minnesota to bow before Murdock and Los Angeles?

Could it be that Fitzgerald’s two plausible interpretations, omitted by others, have credence? The two questions are about: (one) whether the silence is due to “the powers” not wanting the Vikings, for whatever reason, or (two) whether the silence masks the real reason, the fact that the team is primarily black. With the question raised, it needs to be addressed by all three: (1) the legislature, (2) the papers, and (3) the University. They have, in a sense, been called out by Fitzgerald. They must now address his questions. Further silence only affirms his report.

The “big 3” have to address why, when the dollars needed are so few for the Vikings, they aren’t doing what can be done to save the people’s team. If the interpretation is true, they need to be held accountable. Fitzgerald’s question is not as far fetched as some might think. In the early 1990s, the Star Tribune ran a long and in depth series highlighting the racism in the Twin Cities, including in sports and the media. The Minneapolis-St. Paul magazine ran a cover story on the same topic. I know, as I used them in a class on “American Minorities” that I taught at one of the Minnesota colleges at the time (along with a course in “Social Inequality”), and still have copies of them.

I also submitted my own 14 page response for how to deal with this problem to the Forum on The Economics of Racism, in December 1992 (held at at Earle Brown Continuing Ed Center on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota). The fact that they never replied to it suggested to me that the forum was in response to the newspaper articles rather than in response to the problem. They had their show and moved on, much as the African American Men’s Project seems to be doing today. And although “progress” has been made, only the truly naive would believe or maintain that it no longer exists and thus no longer is having the kinds of consequences reported in the Strib series and asked about by Fitzgerald.

Another interesting question for those opposed to a new stadium is why there is also silence on the deal which the Strib has reported that pays former Vikings general manager Mike Lynn $400,000 a year for his sweetheart Metrodome suite deal for a publicly financed facility. Just think what could have done with that kind of money over the years to renovate the Metrodome, let alone contribute to building new stadiums? And how could the legislature have allowed it in the first place? How are the people, the taxpayers, served by this and how are they served by not acting to preserve their team?

These are good questions. How can we provide answers to them? My suggestion is #7 below: “Team/Legislative Breakthrough: 4 Tracks, 3 Sets of Models, 1 Red Carpet.”

9. Six Personal Themes

We are marching to the drumbeat of six central themes and ideas:

1. We are friends of everyone, responding positively to the invitation for how to hold a Minnesota conversation by providing a series of models that could be used to facilitate such a series of conversations and meetings.

2. We are friends of all Minnesotans and sports fans around the world of this, the most popular team in the country, and want to show them how to achieve their goal of keeping their teams in Minnesota.

3. We are friends of the legislature and hope to contribute in some small way with these materials to their success in developing a private-public partnership that will work for all concerned.

4. We are friends of the teams and want to help them solve the problem of how to achieve their goal of building stadiums, but with little or no debt and no new taxes on ordinary tax payers, with any new ones very small ones, like a half cent hotel/motel levy.

5. We are friends of the owners and are responding positively to his challenge, "show me," with our proposal of “how to” build the stadiums with only normal infrastructure public spending, how to incur little or no debt, and how to generate profits on an on-going basis; year round, and

6. We are friends of the players and believe like all great performers, whether in the theater, in the multi-plex, or on the athletic field, they should have the best stage on which to perform.

Please remember: first and foremost, we consider ourselves friends of all involved, even those who may not agree with everything that is written here. If anything is said or written that inadvertently suggests otherwise, it is not intentional. As we talk about it, we can easily clear up any misunderstandings that can naturally occur with folks like us working from the outside in, as we don’t know everything that you know as you work from the inside out. Nonetheless, we believe you can bring these approaches together for success.

10. A Personal Note: How I got into this

It has taken two years to get to this point.

Otis Courtney, a great Vikings fan and founder of , is driven by four concerns: (1) like almost everyone else in Minnesota, he doesn’t want to see the Vikes leave; (2) like almost everyone else in Minnesota, he realized that unless all teams (Vikes, Twins, Gophers) were taken care of, it could be that none would win; (3) like, some, he realized the political climate in North America had changed dramatically, with the mechanism of tax dollars going out of favor; and (4) unlike almost everyone else (save you and the developers/proponents of the five models), he has decided to do something about it.

Otis did three things: (1) he unilaterally, and on his own, established as a way to help generate community support for the Vikings new stadium (an excerpt from our prose on the site is on p. 11, #’s 54-57, of Attachment #4); (2) submitted a proposal to the Vikings in the Fall of 1999 for how could help generate community support for the stadium in a very inexpensive manner; and (3) called me, an old friend since 1990, and a fellow Vikes fan (we met when I lived in Minneapolis1989-1993). Otis asked me to help him in his goal to make a difference by helping the Vikes in their quest for a new stadium so they could stay, by contributing to the web site and to the Internet proposal.

When Otis was in California in the summer of 2000, with a friend who is with the 49ers, his friend shared their need for a stadium solution. Otis told him “we have that,” based on papers I had been developing regarding what we thought would work. So now we finally had a chance to put our ideas where our mouths were. I developed the proposal and Otis delivered it to the 49ers. Otis then said, “Hey, this is what the Vikes need,” and had me develop one for them as well. The rest, as they say, is history: we re-wrote the proposal for the Vikings and submitted it to them. When Otis showed it to others and heard from one that every team needs this, we developed it into the model form applicable to any team (Attachment #4). We would like Minnesota to have the benefit of using it for the people of Minnesota. And, needless to say, after helping you solve the stadium puzzle, you will need to send a thank you card to the 49ers, for without them there would have no proposal to the Vikings and thus no this generic version which we are giving to you.

At first I was reluctant, but then one of my bosses told me I had to (my three bosses, of course, are my three sons). So I was given no choice from my oldest son but to help our old friend when he heard what Otis wanted to do. He put me under strictest orders to help the Vikes, for he is a great Vikes fan too (he and Otis attended a game last Fall). During 1999-2000, he was in a bus with a touring band. At the back of the bus he had a Vikes’ “Shrine”, featuring a full newspaper page, in color, of Randy Moss, etc. (which I saw when I was able to visit him twice while he was on the tour). When Randy heard that story he was delighted to single him out for an autograph.

After last summer’s scrimmage, my son and several different groups of kids saw Randy standing on a corner on his bicycle. They immediately surrounded him, and asked for his autograph. He had just come from the fence after signing autographs for a long time, and wanted to stop. But when he heard “the kid with the shrine” was there, he said, “where is the kid with the Shrine,” called him forth and gave him his autograph. Now, when a son has an experience like that and then later gives his father such a directive, I think you would agree I have no choice (as any father knows, even before they become teenagers). Eric, by the way, has just completed his freshman year at St. Olaf College, in Northfield, MN.

We have watched while the teams valiantly tried to get the legislature or governor or anyone, to take up a leadership role to help them. We watched even more frustrated as, seemingly, the Twins got most of the play in the legislature. Our model shows there is room for both (and all three if you include the Gophers, and all four if you include the Metrodome). We are delighted that you have taken up the leadership on the issue and appointed the panel.

All of the models are unique, especially the backup appendices of Attachment #4. This is because major developments like this, as you have frustratingly been finding out, have parts of it in the control of other hands than your own. These models provide ways for those different hands to work together, especially Attachments #5 and #6.

11. In Conclusion: Historic “Once In A Lifetime” Opportunity for Minnesota

Our one paragraph summary is on p. 8, #42, of Attachment #4.

42. In summary: our Proposal outlines how the owner can build a new stadium with minimal new taxpayer dollars (going for the usual infrastructure of roads and sewers, and require a minimum amount to put up from the owner (not that we are opposed to either tax payer dollars nor more owner dollars above the $50 million. But calculations show that our proposal resolves the issues, pleases everyone, and enables moving forward with great dispatch, saving up front money and time as well as providing more profits and operations that are more stable. This proposal also includes a 12 point compensation package that makes money for both the team and the players while saving money for fans by enabling a reducing of ticket prices, a 10 point component internal competitive analysis model to bring to bear on both the stadium and on-going operations, an Internet networking model to add to our outline for a team’s web site, and a review of 40 communication models to bring to bear on both print, broadcast, and Internet communication media and methods, as well as an outline of methods for even greater savings of operational costs through the use of the Internet, based on summaries we have prepared of work being done to save billions by, for example, both Oracle and GE, all of which comprise several of the 12 Appendices that are a part of this model.

The several sentences of #s 43-45 refer to the “why” and “how” of the appendices.

43. The model closes with 13 appendices regarding “why” and “how”.

44. Appendices A-F, attached, offer more backup and background and rationale.

45. Appendices G-M, our tools, are summarized but not attached.

With a solution like the ones we have provided to you, you could take it to anyone from the Governor’s office to the Mayors’ offices to your fellow legislators, and help them lead the drive to get the stadiums. They want a horse to pull the wagon. These models provide the horses.

Please also consider that what is described in this letter and in the attachments could be huge for you and the legislature. Indeed, here is your chance to maximize THREE “once in a lifetime” historic opportunities to LEAD THE NATION in sports management (which would help increase the team and city brands and reach) by being the leaders in the United States regarding

(1) Showing how to deal with the stadium issue in general in our new day of tax reductions taking over from tax maximizing (every owner and city will thank you, as will their legislatures and tax payers)

(2) Showing how to, in particular, use this model to solve multiple stadium solutions as well (football, baseball, basketball, other sports; on college stadiums, see Appendix A, p. 33), and

(3) Showing how to transform the economics of professional sports, especially the NFL, before it is dragged down the MSB path.

And you can be historic heroes beginning in Minnesota, as our model shows how any of three entities (Vikings, Twins, Gophers) could use this model to build their stadium as well as continue activities generating revenue for the Metrodome until such time as its short or long-term future is determined. That is “win-win” for everyone. And isn’t that what everyone wants?

Our proposal, now model, is essentially a workable response to Red’s statement: “Show me.” We did this in our proposal and have refined it even more in Attachment #4.

The proposal, now model, is also in response to the call any community might make, such as Dave Jennings last summer regarding the Vikings and the Twins, when he said: “someone other than the teams have to create a public discussion about the future of the Twins and the Vikings in Minnesota. The teams are crying out for somebody to call the family meeting.” As noted above, the reluctance is because no one knows how. We outline how to in Appendix L (pp. 55-57). See also p. 7, #39. The 10 models have been expanded to 14. We believe you can take this to any potential leader of the discussion, and they will then have what they need to champion the stadiums.

And although we now refer to it as a model, the attached still uses the Twin Cities big three (theVikings, the Twins, and the Gophers) plus the Metrodome as examples, and includes what we submitted to both the 49ers and the Vikings, although arranged quite differently.

We believe that you will agree that what we bring to the table is what your panel needs.

We started out to do our best to help as citizens.

We are also excited because now that it is in model form, we have a chance to share it with you who will now have something tangible in your hands with which to get behind your dream and help you make the new stadium happen with no or minimal tax dollars.

To recap the basic idea:

…if the various main stakeholder groups in Minnesota (teams and their owners, legislators and the jurisdictions, stadiums and their managers, corporations and university, urban/suburban/rural, white and black) can see that they are all partners in the sports-entertainment industry, no one will lose and all will be winners. If each can help the other get what they need and what they want, all will get what they need and want. That is always at the heart of any great enterprise that involves great institutions and individuals. The 10 models and the six attachments provide the building blocks of everything that is needed to start.

My phone is 503-977-3240. My E-mail address is

Otis’ phone is 952-974-9956. His E-mail address is:

Most sincerely,

Peter J. Jessen

CC: Roy Terwilliger, John Marty, Dave Jennings, Larry Fitzgerald