Minnesota's soccer community is pressing Zygi Wilfand his family, the owners of the NFL Minnesota Vikings, to keep soccer in mind when it designs their new $975 million downtown stadium in Minneapolis. The Vikings have secured exclusive rights to bring Major League Soccer to the venue for five years after its anticipated 2016 opening.
Lester Bagley, vice president of public affairs and stadium development for the Vikings, said their owners will thoroughly analyze the market before deciding whether to bid for an MLS team. But he acknowledged the appeal of an MLS team playing 17 home games, plus preseason and playoffs. "That's a lot of people in seats," he said, "and that's a lot of revenue for our hospitality community," he said.
MLS4MN, a soccer advocacy group, wants to make sure that soccer is not compromised in the design process. MLS or no MLS, Bagley says the stadium will be built with soccer in mind in order to be able to attract big international matches and competitions. "That's been our intention from Day One," he said.