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Vikings sale further illustrates Saints' sweet deal

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Vikings sale further illustrates Saints' sweet deal Pending NFL approval, the Minnesota Vikings will be changing hands, from Red McCombs, the multi-millionaire who made his money selling automobiles in San Antonio, to millionaire Reggie Fowler, who made his money selling ...

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Old 02-22-2005, 03:20 AM   #1
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Vikings sale further illustrates Saints' sweet deal

Vikings sale further illustrates Saints' sweet deal

Pending NFL approval, the Minnesota Vikings will be changing hands, from Red McCombs, the multi-millionaire who made his money selling automobiles in San Antonio, to millionaire Reggie Fowler, who made his money selling plastic cups and containers.

Fowler would be the league's first African-American owner, assuming the finance committee gives Fowler's finances the green light and passes the matter on to a vote of the league's 32 owners.

Three-quarters of the owners would need to approve the sale of the franchise for a reported $625 million, a franchise McCombs bought in 1998 for $246 million.

The word is McCombs is selling because he failed in efforts to get a new stadium, having shared the Metrodome with the baseball Twins, which is not to say the Vikings did not turn a handsome profit the past seven years, only that the profit was not big enough.

News of the pending sale triggered a phone call from Bill Connick, a member of Dave Dixon's team, at the time the Superdome had become a reality.

"Without looking at the Vikings' books," Connick said, "I can guarantee you their deal with the Metrodome does not come close to Tom Benson's deal with the Superdome."

Connick, onetime secretary-treasurer of the Superdome Commission, credits Benson to coming up with what he calls "the Gold Standard" of stadium-related contracts.

"I'm not talking about the annual subsidies the Saints began receiving from the state, the $12.5 million in 2002 that's now at $15 million," Connick said. "I'm talking about such items as concessions, parking, advertising, suite fees, tour fees, a marketing fund, game-day staffing, all stadium-related. In the Metrodome the Vikings were essentially second-class citizens. They either derived no revenue in some areas or had to share other revenue with the Twins.

"Not the Saints. The Saints are in control of the Dome, essentially, by themselves, which has a considerable impact on the bottom line when it comes to net revenue. When you consider stadium-related revenue and add in the annual subsidy from the state, it has to be the best deal in the NFL, regardless of market size."

Speaking as a fan, as well as a tax payer, hoping the Saints and the state can come to a reasonable meeting of the minds, Connick doesn't think it's difficult to find a suitable middle ground.

"The governor has to have an appreciation of what it takes for small-market franchises to exist in a league with the mega-markets," he said. "On the other hand, the Saints have to appreciate the problems Kathleen Blanco is facing, especially when it comes to paying annual inducements to a multi-million-dollar private business walled off from public scrutiny. That's a tough sell for any governor, even for a John McKeithen, the governor who made the Superdome possible. He and Dave Dixon, the idea man, were an outstanding team that came along at the right time.

"If Gov. McKeithen was still around, in the role of an elder statesman, he'd be the ideal honest broker, praising Tom Benson for buying the Saints and keeping them here. At the same time, he'd be pointing out to an owner in a small market the limits of what a governor can do in doling out public funds to a private business that won't open its books."

While Louisiana features Benson vs. Blanco, up north it's going to be interesting to see how the Vikings saga plays out.

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue would bless cheerfully the arrival of the NFL's first African-American owner every bit as much as he'd bless the arrival of a franchise, any franchise, in Los Angeles.

In the case of McCombs, Red took the money and ran. Back home.

In introducing Fowler at a news conference, McCombs said, "I'll always be a Viking."

That was too much for one Minneapolis columnist, who wrote: "The guy has owned the Vikings for seven years, does not live in Minnesota, never developed a team that even had a general manager, and he says he'll always be a Viking. This is where the successful ones distinguish themselves from the Great Greek Chorus of the timid. It did not bother Red to say he had flat out maximized the amount of money he could make on this dog. Statements that would make the hair stand up on the necks of normal people don't faze guys like Red."

If the math is correct, McCombs sold the team for a price that reflected its worth in a new stadium.

But Red also is telling us that stadium does not exist.

Which soon may be Fowler's problem.



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Old 02-22-2005, 04:35 AM   #2
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Vikings sale further illustrates Saints' sweet deal

Which soon may be Fowler\'s problem.
Or...if it sucks there for the Vikes as much as this says.....LA would be a quick fix.
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Old 02-22-2005, 03:52 PM   #3
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Vikings sale further illustrates Saints' sweet deal

the big thing i see standing in the way of any team moving to LA is the money... from what i understand, when a team is moved, there is not much money to be had by anyone other than the two cities/parties involved.... however, if a NEW team is built, the league and all the rest of the team get a cut of the money used to get the new team.... everyone would rather build a new team than move a team because of teh money... this is what i have been led to belive by what i have read over the last year.... someone correct me if i am wrong please...
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Old 02-23-2005, 09:02 AM   #4
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Vikings sale further illustrates Saints' sweet deal

This article brings to light a couple of important pieces of information that I had not considered, but casts the Saints situation in new light. And no, I\'m not talking about the Stadium deal - I\'ve been talking about how good that is for a while now.

Instead, consider this: with all the talk of a possible move in New Orleans, Minnesota has a less favorable stadium deal, a foreign owner, and the team has now been sold twice in 7 years. If they\'re not a prime candidate for a relocation to LA, how can the Saints be? My point is - there\'s paranoia everywhere - which is probably just what the owners want.

Secondly, so what if Tom Benson sells? Both of the guys talked about in this article are from the Southwest and own a team in Minnesota. Both purchased teams away from their homes and with no prospect of a new stadium (at least the State (LA) has agreed to a $170 million financing to renovate the Super Dome). Sure, you always want an owner with ties to the local market, no doubt. But my point is, if Benson sells to a guy in Washington, that doesn\'t necessarily mean the team will move. Minneapolis/St. Paul can\'t be a substantially more favorable market such as to make a foreign owner want to stay there, but not want to stay in NO.

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