22 Firms Want To Underwrite Vikings Stadium Funding

The firms—which include some of the country’s largest financial services companies—made pitches to help underwrite taxpayers’ $498 million portion of the new stadium.

Nearly two-dozen financial firms have applied to help underwrite the public portion of the new $975 million Minnesota Vikings stadium.

Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB) in late September issued a request for proposals soliciting bids from financial institutions interested in underwriting the taxpayers’ portion of the stadium funding, which totals about $498 million and will be financed through the issuance of bonds.

MMB on Thursday provided Twin Cities Business with a list of 22 financial firms that responded to the RFP. They include locally-based players such as Piper Jaffray & Company, Dougherty & Company, and U.S. Bank, as well as some that maintain a significant local presence, such as Wells Fargo, RBC Capital Markets, and BMO Capital Markets. They’re competing against some of the nation’s largest financial services firms, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Global Markets, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, among others.

MMB spokesman John Pollard told Twin Cities Business that the financial terms of the firms’ applications will not be disclosed until the contracts are awarded. (He said that more than one firm may be chosen to help underwrite the bond offering.)

The agency expects to select an underwriter within a couple of weeks and hopes to begin issuing the bonds sometime in November, although a firm date has not been set.

The official RFP indicates that the proceeds of the bond sales will help fund a portion of the costs for acquiring, constructing, and equipping the new stadium. The bonds are expected to be issued over the course of two years. The role of an underwriter is essentially to purchase the bonds from the state and then resell them to investors.

Design plans call for the Vikings stadium, which will be nearly twice the size of the Metrodome, to feature five, 95-foot-tall pivoting glass doors that will open towards the downtown Minneapolis skyline. The stadium will span 1.6 million square feet—and it will seat 65,000 people for NFL games and accommodate up to 73,000 for special events, like a Super Bowl. (It’s reportedly in the running to host the 2018 Super Bowl.)

Groundbreaking for the new stadium is expected to occur this month, with demolition starting in early 2014. The new stadium is scheduled to open in time for the Vikings 2016 season.

The Minnesota Vikings will pick up the $477 million share of the new stadium that isn’t being covered by taxpayers. The team is expected to fund its portion in part through personal seat license fees. NFL owners unanimously approved the Vikings’ stadium lease this week, clearing the way for the team to finance its portion of construction costs.

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