Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A confluence of unfortunate events

Despite what anyone might say about the Jaguars and their dismal attendance figures, it turns out that the Vikings are the least valuable, lowest revenue team in the league (in 2007, apparently they jumped the Raiders in 2008!) Worse still, their debt to value ratio is among the highest in the league, unheard of for teams that haven't recently built a stadium. This is OK because of the team is a marketable franchise (Peterson, Favre, Allen), and with revenue sharing, the team still makes plenty of cash.
Of course, the collective bargaining agreement is set to expire after next season, which would mean after this season, there would be no salary cap, and more profitable teams will be able to spend more money. Additionally, the ability for the richer teams to sign players and make more money for themselves may compel them to do away with profit sharing which would, essentially, cut almost all of the revenue for a team like the Vikes.
Fortunately, the lease in the Metrodome for the Vikings takes the team through 2011 (and no further!), so they have a little time to figure out how to make money while another team, like the Jaguars or Rams, gets lured to Los Angeles. Of course, a proposed stadium, to be built by LA area businessman, is going to be ready in 2011. Just in time to welcome the Vikings, fleeing their expiring lease.
I'm not saying that the Vikings are going to move, but if things don't change after 2 seasons, they will be the perfect candidates to head out there. Not only will they be floundering in Minneapolis, but they will only be hampered by their lack of a stadium (given the star power on the team). If nothing changes, the only thing stopping the Vikings from being one of the most profitable teams in the league is.... their presence in Minnesota.
Of course, people may point at the other teams in the league that might move, like the Jaguars, who as stated, are more profitable by tens of millions than the Vikings, all while being less enticing to a prospective buyer. The Rams and Raiders have each been in Los Angeles and are currently in cities that have already lost teams. I don't foresee either side feeling the need to reexplore that adventure. Unfortunately, it all seems to keep coming back to the Vikings.
The way the state of Minnesota has held fast so far, opposed to building stadiums for the Twins or Gophers before knuckling under, I would like to see the people of the state win this one and make the wealthy owner plunk down the change to build the stadium. Unfortunately, in this case, it's increasingly apparent that the stadium is already being built. In Los Angeles.

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