Vikings Stadium ConceptThe Governor has joined the debate. Pawlenty, who has warned us over the years that Minnesota is just a “cold Omaha” without major sports teams, proposed using the state lottery to help fund a new  stadium.  For those of you who oppose public funding, it does not solve the problem as taxpayer funds would presumably still be part of a package. But lottery proceeds, while collected by the state, are at least “private” funds.  The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) released this mock-up of what a new $870 million Vikings stadium could look like and cost.  That’s a lot of money in good times let alone during an economic down-turn. Yet the clock is ticking on the Metrodome lease and the beloved Vikings still have that ace in the hole; the ability to leave. (See below, LA would love to build the Vikings a new home.) So if we are resigned to making a deal, the financing has to lighten the load on taxpayers (some of whom are not fans and do not care about the NFL, believe it or not).  The lottery, which generated over $482 million in revenue last year, supports various natural resouces funds but also the state’s general fund . So to the extent we pull lottery funds out for a stadium without generating new lottery funds, this may be a non-starter because it can just turn into a shell game. But if there is a new game to play (the Strib called it “Skol Bucks” ) with incremental gains, this is an idea worth tossing around. The Strib reported that only about a third of Minnesotans support public funding. This KSTP-sponsored poll is constistent with one done about a year ago. The Vikings responded to the results by saying that the poll focused on the wrong question, and should instead ask if it is important to keep the Vikings in Minnesota. You can read the article at