Vikings MLS Expansion
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) March 25, 2015
Lester Bagley, Vice President of Public Affairs/Stadium Development for the Vikings has said “One of the things we intend to get done is secure an MLS franchise. We’ve gone to [Seattle] and met with their ownership and front office. Same thing with Sporting KC, we’re going there next week. We’re continuing our discussions with franchises as well as Commissioner [Don] Garber.”
MLS is an important issue for the Vikings, and the Vikings ensured that an opportunity to bring an MLS team into the stadium was included in the stadium legislation. Major League Soccer has plans to expand to 24 teams by 2020, and conversations regarding securing a soccer team for this market have “heated up” between the Vikings and MLS representatives.
Vikings officials have promised that soccer will be equal to the NFL inside the stadium.
“This is not a second thought,” said Steve Poppen, the Vikings’ chief financial officer. “We’ve talked a lot about an MLS team being on par with the NFL franchise” at the stadium.
With the construction on the Vikings’s stadium underway, the Wilfs will make bringing in a soccer team a higher priority and are “very directly connected” to top MLS executives in New York.
The new Vikings stadium has been designed to accommodate Major League Soccer. Said Poppen, “The minimum for MLS is 70 [yards] wide. FIFA plays at 75. We have the ability to go out there. If you remember, the north side of the stadium retracts. As part of that development, we were able to design in that ability to expand the facility as well.”
Viking’s Stadium Capacity Reduction Plan
“It’s different from Seattle. It’s a curtaining system that comes down and blocks the upper bowl. That, right there, is 20,000 seats,” Lester Bagley said. “And the area underneath the scoreboard is, ideally, the supporters’ section. The second tier is tarped over. If you take that off, it can go to 28,000 seats. Then we can also go to 34,000 seats — or 65,000 full.”