US Bank Stadium paid off 23 years early

(KSTP) – Former Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton always insisted on calling U.S. Bank Stadium the “People’s Stadium.” After the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget paid off the final $378 million in bond payments Monday, it truly is owned by the people.

The payment is the result of the success of e-pull tabs that initially were slow to take off. In recent years they brought in nearly enough money to pay off the bonds 23 years earlier than anticipated.

The payment made Monday included $366 million from the stadium reserve largely created by e-pull tab sales and $12 million from the state’s general fund. The state also agreed to pay the first installment on a perimeter security fence that will eventually surround the stadium.

“The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is thankful for the appropriation of $15.7 million in funding to support phase one of the stadium’s secured perimeter project as a result of the recent legislative session,” Michael Vekich, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, said in a statement issued Monday. “As stewards of this facility, we look forward to further discussions with the Governor and legislative leaders to review and plan for ongoing needs in effort to maintain and preserve U.S. Bank Stadium as a world-class venue.”

Lester Bagley, Minnesota Vikings executive vice president, said it’s an important day in Vikings history.

“We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the governor and state legislative leaders to address U.S. Bank Stadium’s long-term capital needs,” he said in a text to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. “It is imperative that we protect this amazing community asset into the future.”

Bagley says paying the stadium off so early is a “success story that has benefited Vikings fans, the City of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota.”

The success of paying off U.S. Bank Stadium even exceeds plans to pay off Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins, by 2027. The $555 million stadium will have its publicly financed portion paid off 10 years early using the 0.15% Hennepin County sales tax.

The cost of the $130 million Xcel Energy Center was split between the Minnesota Wild and the City of St. Paul. In 2013, the Legislature voted to forgive the remaining $32.7 million of a $65 million interest-free loan.

The other major professional sports stadium built since 2000 is Allianz Field. The $200 million stadium was entirely privately financed by Minnesota United FC.