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Sources: Plans for Outdoor Soccer Stadium in Mpls. Moving Forward

Updated: 08/03/2014 3:23 PM
Created: 08/02/2014 3:55 PM KSTP.com
By: Josh Rosenthal

While two top international soccer teams battled on the pitch at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, sources tell 5 EYEWITNESS News a few billionaires continued their battle off of it.

Vikings' Owner Zygi Wilf is going head-to-head against former United Health CEO Bill McGuire and Twins' Owner Jim Pohlad to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Minneapolis.

"We do have long-term plans to try and bring a Major League Soccer franchise to the market," Vikings Executive Vice President Lester Bagley said Saturday.

Previously, Bagley has made it clear the Vikings think their new stadium is the place for an MLS team, but sources say McGuire and Pohlad want to build an outdoor soccer stadium next to Target Field in what's known as the farmer's market site. It wouldn't replace the farmer's market; it would be nearby.

Sources also say it would primarily be built with private money, not taxpayer money.

"Outdoors on grass is a great soccer experience," Bagley said, "but there's not an outdoor soccer stadium in Minnesota, but there is, within two years, there will be a brand new stadium that was designed for MLS."

Sources say that once plans for the new Southwest Light Rail in Minneapolis started moving forward last month, McGuire and Pohlad's group started moving forward, too, talking to land owners near the farmer's market site to see if a deal could be struck because the light rail would also bring millions of dollars of new infrastructure to the area.

"We've been up front in saying we're researching soccer specific stadiums. We feel that that's what's right for the sport," explained Minnesota United President Nick Rogers.

Minnesota United is owned by McGuire.

Despite all the speculation, the group has yet to publicly acknowledge whether they plan to build a new stadium. We asked Rogers if he thought an outdoor stadium would ultimately be built by a group headed by McGuire.

His response: "I certainly hope so, but I don't know. I mean there's so much up in the air, it's a difficult question to answer. You know, there's a lot that goes into figuring out a stadium. You figure out where to build it, you've got to figure out how to pay for it, so some of those questions are above my pay grade."


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