Report finds Twin Cities can't afford four pro sports teams

Categories: Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings want a new stadium. Owner Zigy Wilf wants the stadium to be subsidized by taxpayers. Fans are worried the team will move if they don't get new digs on Zigy's terms in the next two years. Now, a new report finds that the Twin Cities area is financially overextended when it comes to a sufficient fan base for the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves and Wild. It also outlines just how easy it might be for Wilf to take the team someplace else to turn a profit -- especially Los Angeles.

Portfolio.com, part of the company that includes the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, looked at the total personal income of more than 80 cities across the U.S. and Canada.

Then, it compiled revenue data and average ticket prices of pro sports teams to figure out a base figure needed to sustain the teams in any given market. That minimum worked out to be $86.7 billion for MLB, $37.3 billion for the NFL and NHL, $36.4 billion for the NBA and $13.9 billion for MLS. Total for all five: $211.6 billion per city.

Then, they crunched some numbers. The Twin Cities area has a total personal income of $154.59 billion. That's about $43.13 billion less than is required to keep the four teams afloat. You can download the full spreadsheet for all cities by clicking here.

When it comes to football, Portfolio found that cities such as Richmond and Norfolk, Va.; San Jose, Riverside and Sacramento, Calif.; Austin, Texas, Hartford, Conn.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Montreal, Canada, have the capacity to host an NFL team. But it's Los Angeles that beats all comers. If Portfolio's numbers are right, LA can afford not just one NFL franchise, but five of them.

Los Angeles has been out of the NFL since 1995, when the Rams and Raiders moved to St. Louis and Oakland, respectively.

The state of California recently approved a proposed 75,000-seat stadium in Industry, a suburb of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley. The facility, which would be developed by Majestic Realty Co., is expected to be privately funded.

The NFL has not announced any plans to expand, so Majestic Realty is setting its sights on luring a team to Los Angeles from another city. Its list of prospective targets includes the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers.

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