L.A. Vikings? Southern California Reportedly Wooing Team

John Nestor – AHN Sports Correspondent

Eden Prairie, MN, United States (AHN) – While the Minnesota Vikings try to hammer out a deal for a new stadium in Minnesota, the team is being approached about a potential move to Los Angeles.

The Vikings hosted an online chat Tuesday to discuss the state of negotiations toward a new stadium and one of the revelations during the chat was that the team is being courted by ownership groups looking to bring the team to Los Angeles.

Lester Bagley, the Vikings VP of Public Affairs and Stadium Development, said the team has been approached by a potential ownership group in Los Angeles.

“Yes, we have been approached by two different groups in Los Angeles – the Ed Roski group and more recently by former Timberwolves CEO Tim Leiweke and AEG,” Bagley said. “Clearly, the Vikings stadium issue is being followed nationally and it’s no secret that we’re down to the last year on our lease. We’ve told those groups that we are focused on resolving the issue in Minnesota.”

“We feel solid momentum and feel we’re well-positioned with the new legislature and governor. Instead of spending energy speculating on other markets, let’s keep the focus on building a world-class facility for the community and the State of Minnesota.”

The Vikings lease at the Metrodome expires after the 2011 season and the team has become frustrated with the lack of progress toward a new stadium.

“As noted, 2011 is a crucial year. The Legislature runs from early January to late May, and this is likely to be resolved later in the Legislative Session,” Bagley said. “In terms of next steps, we need to continue our productive discussions and forward progress with State and local leaders, we need to complete our due diligence and bring forward an ideal site, specific project costs and a funding plan.”

Bagley was questioned during the chat about the Vikings making the push for a new stadium amid the state’s growing deficit. The economy is a national concern and funding a new stadium for sports teams is something way down on the priority list.

“This is a fair question. We do not consider the stadium issue to be more of a priority than the other core issues Minnesota is currently facing, by any means,” Bagley said. “But we can do both – we can address our State’s economic challenges while we move forward on a stadium solution. Again, there are creative user-based funding options that have been used throughout the country that can work here as well. This is a great opportunity to create jobs and wages that go back to Minnesotans.”

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