A push for public ownership

Lawmakers want the Vikings to be owned by a community.

by Nick Sudheimer

Rep. Phyllis Kahn introduced legislation Monday that would make the Minnesota Vikings a publicly owned team as a means to finance its new stadium.

The ongoing debate surrounding the football stadium drove Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, to seek new alternatives for the team.

National Football League teams can be owned by more than a single individual, but current NFL rules prohibit any team other than the Green Bay Packers to have more than 30 owners.

KahnâÄôs legislation would move the team to a community ownership model, like the Packers, allowing for the sale of stock in the team to the public. It would require the governor and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission âÄî the current owners of the Metrodome âÄî to work with the NFL to change current ownership rules.

The new form of ownership could generate funds for a new stadium through stock sales, according to the press release sent out Monday.

Kahn introduced community ownership legislation for the Minnesota Twins in 2005. The bill had bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, but didnâÄôt gain much traction and ultimately failed.

Kahn said the Vikings legislation will likely just stimulate conversation.

âÄúThe legislation is very, very general. I really want the [experts] to work out the details of it,âÄù Kahn said. âÄúGov. [Mark] Dayton asked for all ideas to be put on the table, and thatâÄôs exactly what IâÄôm doing here.âÄù

Current NFL rules require managing ownership to keep 30 percent of a team, which likely would stay with the Wilf family, the current owner of the Vikings.

Although the legislation would diminish the WilfsâÄô ownership of the Vikings, it would be a deal that is too good to pass up, Kahn said.

 âÄúTheyâÄôre being offered to free up 70 percent of the capital that they have in this team, and do everything that they do with the 70 percent with the 30 percent âÄî except relocate the team,âÄù Kahn said, âÄúwhich Mr. Wilf has said he doesnâÄôt plan to do.âÄù