Vikings owner says MLS to Minnesota a possibility if stadium is built

Zygi Wilf 1 (Getty Images)



Zygi Wilf is known for being the German-born owner of the Minnesota Vikings. He could soon be known for being an owner of an MLS team.

Wilf held a press conference on Tuesday announcing that he had reached an agreement with Ramsey County and the city of Arden Hills for a new retractable roof stadium worth an estimated cost of $1 billion. The stadium will serve as the new home of the Vikings, but Wilf also believes it could be the site of an MLS team in Minnesota.

Even if the stadium is built, there's no guarantee MLS would give Minnesota a team. Wilf would still need to cough up the $40 million necessary to buy into the league, and MLS would still have to decide whether or not Minnesota is a good location for a team.

Here's a video of what the Minnesota stadium would look like:


What do you think of Wilf's idea of a joint-venue for the Vikings and an MLS team? Do you think MLS in Minnesota would be a good idea?

Share your thoughts below.

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104 Responses to Vikings owner says MLS to Minnesota a possibility if stadium is built

  1. malkin says:

    MLS teams still play in american football stadiums?

  2. JesseMT says:

    I don’t know Minneapolis, but if this is a suburban stadium I don’t like it. I’m convinced the biggest factor in the fan support success in Cascadia and Toronto is that the stadium locations allowed the teams to attract a young urban fanbase. I would just hate to see another Foxboro. (No offense Revs fans.)

  3. Felix says:

    This is essentially what the Sounders and Revolution are doing – with varying levels of success.

    I have a feeling if something like this happened (which would only be if a club moved, I don’t want to see expansion beyond 20 teams), it would be more like the Revolution. A small, but loyal following of supporters, but it would look and sound very insiginicant over the TV. It works for the Sounders because the of the large, organic following that they have that goes back essentially 35 years. Minnesota MLS wouldn’t have that.

    So in short, I don’t like it.

  4. Duck says:

    Minnesota can have Chivas USA. It would be compensation for the Lakers.

  5. Tearin you apart since 1991 says:

    Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Western Wisconsin (Minus Cheeseheads) support Twin Cities based professional teams The Minneapolis Kicks averaged 30,000 fans per game in the late 70’s…if an organization is put in play that supports the ground roots of MN Soccer this could be a home run.

    Minneapolis and St. Paul are two of the most diverse cities in the country…..Bring Soccer to the land of 10,000 lakes!

  6. Adam in Cali says:

    see Seattle

  7. Go Vikes! says:

    Is an NFL owner allowed to own another team?

    I’d support him if he promises to pay huge salaries and have multiple loans from the Bundeliga. If not, then this news is worth as much as day old lefse.

  8. GSScasual says:

    they could bring 30k, and it would still be an empty cavern… they need a SSS

  9. fischy says:

    I think MLS would seriously consider Minnesota in a move to 24 teams. I think there is little chance the team would play in that stadium, unless it’s just temporary, while a smaller facility is built. In other words, it ain’t happening.

    On the other hand, there might be a nice space for a soccer stadium in downtown Minneapolis soon, if the Metrodome’s days are numbered.

  10. Jason B says:

    I’m not so sure that would be a good idea. Without a SSS, the MLS team would always play second fiddle to the Vikings.

  11. SFG says:

    Mr. Wilf

    Thank you for the Shout-out and continued support of MLS. At this time we respectfully decline your offer. We no longer wish to see half empty football stadiums. We would rather see our stadiums specific to their respective franchises and built for the fans who fill them.

    Good Luck with the Vikings though… Sorry to hear about Brett :-(


    The Die Hard Fans of MLS,

  12. fischy says:


  13. Jason B says:

    Yes, ex. Robert Kraft.

  14. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I will need convincing.

  15. SFG says:

    or Frisco….


  16. MDB says:

    MSP is a soccer hotbed, for sure. They host the Schwann’s USA cup every year, and that’s always a big draw. They can for sure leverage those players into fans of an MLS franchise. Plus the fact that they were once able to get so many to see the Kicks, they definitely have the ability to get a good number of fans in the stands. Could definitely see it being a place where an NASL squad levels up to MLS.

  17. XPHiLtER says:

    I’m a native Minnesotan and have gone to Thunder/NCS Stars games. The problem is that no one will go to the suburbs for a professional soccer game. If it’s in the city (Minneapolis or St. Paul) I think it would do great. Right now they play in the boonies of Blaine and don’t get much traction there except diehards and birthday parties. I think MLS would rather have a much smaller/crappier stadium closer to an urban center than a huge stadium in the middle of no where. Yes it is “10 minutes away” but that’s not including traffic and that means everyone has to drive and park. There are plenty of areas in between Minneapolis and St. Paul that would be really close to the light rail that could be great sites.

  18. baquito alyeska says:

    Not sure if this will have a plastic playing surface or not, but since it’s sharing with an NFL team I figure it’s likely. MLS should commit to reducing the number of teams that play on plastic.

    I live in New England and just got back from DC having seen the DC/Dallas game. I’d take RFK, warts and all, over Gillette simply for the grass playing surface. (And the metro access.)

  19. Reid says:

    I’m down… only if he keeps the stache though

  20. RK says:

    Too bad Arthur Blank is focused on building an NFL stadium…at least in MN you have to replace that falling-apart dome. In Atlanta, the dome is fine.

  21. John says:

    As a Minnesota resident I wholeheartedly support an MLS franchise coming here. I do have reservations about this site though, as it is out in the suburbs. I think an MLS team could be successful in a MN in a football stadium ala Seattle if it is built downtown, either at the current Metrodome site, or next to Target Field. Both of those sites are on the light rail line and could draw the young, exciting fan bases we see in seattle, portland, etc… that may not be drawn out to Arden Hills.

  22. Dudeinho says:

    Is there public transportation near the stadium? Downtown locations are the best in my opinion.They central location and close to public transit. you have multiple options to get to the game.

  23. Go Vikes! says:

    muy bueno. second.

  24. John says:

    And the good news for those of us who support a downtown stadium is that the governor has said the state won’t contribute more than $300 million to the project, and the Arden Hills site needs around that just to get transportation in the area up to par. I think Hennepin County and Minneapolis will get their acts together to get this stadium build downtown, they’d be foolish not to. Just look at all of the success of Target Field.

  25. dan says:

    pleeeeeease…. no more american futbol stadiums!! no true soccer stadium, no soccer team.

  26. Marcus says:

    Western Wisconsinites who aren’t Cheeseheads?! Only if they’re from Minnesota, ha.

  27. Marcus says:

    Doubtful it would happen, since i’d imagine the only reason he’s interested in MLS would be to keep his stadium in use all year round…not because of any real interest in the sport.

  28. Ben says:

    If the stadium is located in downtown Minneapolis then I think it could work out for a MLS team. The Revs biggest problem isn’t the fact they play in a NFL stadium, its that the stadium is located in the suburbs an hour outside of Boston.

  29. toro says:

    great… MLS in the suburbs in an NFL stadium with field turf…. awesome… NOT!

    This ain’t 1998, Zygi.

  30. Felix says:

    Or Toyota Park.

  31. Inver Grove Heights says:

    Dear Mr. Wilf,

    If you are reading this I promise to buy jerseys, season tickets, etc. if you bring an MLS team to the cities.

    A Fire Fan in MN

  32. jh iviyviy says:

    Or Commerce City, CO

  33. CommonSense says:

    I moved from Minneapolis to Portland 4 years ago.

    The only way I’d see this happening is if they knock down the old metrodome and put a smaller SSS there, OR use the new outdoor Gophers football stadium (50k).

    Ramsey county is FAAAAAAAAR from Minneapolis, with no public transpo. Quite frankly, I’d be hard pressed to call MSP a “soccer hot-bed”. The only bar in MPLS I could ever really watch games was Brits pub, the publicity of the sport in the area is nil (no newspaper blurbs, ever).

    ANNNNNNND there’s TONS of competition. Not just the 4 major sports franchises, but U of MN is in Minneapolis. The hockey, football and basketball programs would all be bigger draws.

    I look as MSP as a league destination in 5-10 years, when we have a better national foothold and already have more media coverage.

  34. Martek says:

    Personally, I have no dog in this fight as I am here in Houston. However, when it comes to soccer in Minnesota, I have a time-honored maxim: If it’s good for du Nord it’s good for me.

  35. malkin says:

    or Red Bull Arena

  36. ben says:

    + 1 haha

  37. John says:

    Arden Hills is relatively close to downtown MPLS, no better or worse than Rapids’ stadium in CC, CO. Plus, being in the northern suburbs, it’s much closer to the huge sububan sprawl growth to the northwest.

    Seattle has made a NFL stadium work, but I too wish MLS would stick to soccer-specific/dominant locations for future exapnsion. That said, MLS needs some balance in the central area… as well as, obvsiously, the southeast. So I guess MLS has a balancing act which will always produce haters.

  38. John says:

    …and the Thunder called the National Sports Center home in Blaine, pretty much next door to Arden Hills.

  39. Cliff Poncier says:

    This guy sounds like he wants a summer tenant to help pay for his $1B stadium more than an actual soccer club.

    I say no go. If MLS is going to accept another NFL stadium with turf I’d prefer it to be in a better market and more urban location.

  40. seamonster says:

    Who said it’s going to be turf? It’s a retractable roof. That could easily support growing grass.

  41. Cabrito says:

    Wilf is just trying to convince taxpayers that a $1 billion stadium will be used more than 10 or 12 times a year. He’s not the first owner of an NFL team to do this (see SF 49ers).

    I don’t think he has any real interest in MLS.

  42. Cliff Poncier says:


  43. ambrown says:

    This is a stadium way out in the middle of nowhere suburbs that will dwarf everything it surrounds. I thought the MLS was directly moving away from that?

    I lived in the Twin Cities for four years, and the town could seriously get behind a new club if it was located in downtown Minneapolis. I’m from Portland, and I can safely say that Minneapolis is the Portland of the midwest; progressive, young, hip, and certainly willing to support a soccer club if marketed correctly.

    My ridiculous utopian scheme would involve tearing down or retrofitting the Metrodome and using that surrounding space that is currently huge parking lots and replacing it with some serious urban redevelopment, and bring the Kicks back to the downtown.

  44. XPHiLtER says:

    no, this is close to the intersection of a few major highways, but no light rail or rapid bus. There are plenty of places that are better for MLS than this spot.

  45. Cliff Poncier says:

    I said it’s going to be turf.

  46. XPHiLtER says:

    I think we could support a team if it’s in the right spot and the stadium is right. We could not support filling a football stadium in the burbs though.

  47. Bigprof says:

    or that suburb of San francisco.i forget the name. i think it’s the same as a central american capital.

  48. The Great Ape says:

    Minnesota is mostly white like Portland and Seattle so yes – demographically it makes sense to put and MLS team there.

  49. Jason B says:

    You are thinking of Tegucigalpa, right?

  50. tom says:

    The Minnesota Legislature is looking at three options for a Vikings stadium. I’m pretty sure they are; on the grounds of the current Metrodome (which is in Minneapolis proper, just south of the heart of the city and right off the freeways), right by Target Field and the Target Center (where the Twins and Twolves play and is even more downtown), and in Arden Hills (which is a first ring suburb that is just north of area in between Mpls and St. Paul and on the major freeways). Arden Hills doesn’t currently have the light rail while it does go right by the other two sites.

    There was just a poll that showed 75% of MN opposed to public funding, given that the state is 5 billion in the hole and would need to cough up 300 million for a stadium in addition to local increases in restaurant/hotel tax.

    I doubt the stadium happens and I doubt even more that MLS is anything more than a bargaining chip to convince people to shell out for the Vikes.

    -Tom from MN

  51. Inver Grove Heights says:

    Hey I just wanna watch good soccer more often. Can you blame a guy?

  52. tom says:

    Yeah, it would be great if a small SSS stadium could be built near the state fair grounds and Saints stadium in Midway.

  53. Dave says:

    A few of you pointed to the National Sports Center in Blaine. If the MLS were to come to Minnesota, this is where it should be.

    I grew up a mile from that complex and it is already set up perfectly for professional soccer. The stadium itself holds 12,000 people right now. There are over 50 soccer fields surrounding it (making it one of the larger, if not largest, soccer complexes in North America), a velodrome, the Schwanns Super Rink (8 sheets of ice, largest ice arena complex in the world), a golf course and several other facilities. And, as previously mentioned, it hosts the USA Cup every year which brings in 1,000 soccer teams from all over the world. This place screams professional soccer WAY more than a football stadium would and in general is just a very pleasant sports complex. The stadium itself would need some work, but it’s already being played in by the Minnesota Stars.

    I won’t go into whether or not Minnesota deserves a team, as I haven’t lived there for six years (though my brother’s men’s league has a few teams that hold try outs, which is ridiculous for a non-professional league but speaks a little to the passion of soccer there), but I would be shocked if a football stadium were chosen over this complex.

    Also, Blaine is not as far away from the cities as some of you are saying. It took me 20-25 minutes to get to downtown Minneapolis when I was a young ruffian, roving the streets. It takes me that long to get to Toyota Park here in Chicago, living in the city.

    That is all.

  54. XPHiLtER says:

    Really? NSC might be good for kids and tournaments, but not a professional team. You won’t be able to get 15,000 people going to Blaine regularly. It sucks to get there from the city. Suburban soccer moms can’t hold enough birthday parties to fill the stands every week. The only way an MLS team can make it in MSP is it to be really close to a light rail stop or be in one of the downtowns.

  55. XPHiLtER says:

    Also, I should add about Toyota Park: I just moved to Chicago and the fact that it sucks to get there means I haven’t gone to a game. I would buy season tickets if the stadium was anywhere near public transportation.

  56. LA G says:

    See the renovated Vancouver stadium as well and DC for that matter(former NFL stadium).

  57. Seth says:

    Minnesota can only have an MLS team if they get Garrison Keillor to do the commentary for the games.

  58. christian says:

    or Sandy Lake, Utah

  59. Dave says:

    Yeah, you’re probably right on getting people there, they’re struggling to get people there now for games as it is. But MN has had 3 new stadiums in the last several years, was more thinking along of the lines of this possibly being the cheapest option. And also was thinking the Home Depot Center and how it’s cool that’s it’s more than just a stadium. Probably just dreamin’ over here.

    Also, for Fire games, check out bus services. I used one for my first game a few weeks back, the best way to go (I used Windy City Wanderers FC).

  60. Timber Joey says:

    Saying it is about the same distance as Toyota Park is a nail in the coffin.

    Great city for soccer and they draw 12k a game. Not the direction MLS needs to go.

  61. Oranje says:

    Agreed. People complain about having to schlep down there for Pats games.

  62. Dave says:

    I didn’t say it draws 12,000 people, I said that is the capacity. Point taken, however.

  63. Powderhorn Pops says:

    I don’t know about all these other locations but Arden HIlls is WAAAAAAAAAAY closer to Mpls/St Paul than Frisco is to Dallas.

    There’s a ton of soccer fans up here. It could work if in the right hands. Is Wilf that guy? Dunno. Having left Miami for Mpls recently I can say it’s more likely to succeed up here than down there (unfortunately for the SE).

  64. Scott A says:

    Red Bull Arena is in an urban area within walking distance to a 24/7 5 minute train to NYC and another train station going all over. Not at all similar.

  65. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    and Vancouver and Houston.

    Blech. Do not like.

  66. Kejsare says:

    See Portland [although Timbers are the primary tenant]

    See New England

    See RFK [in the past]

    See Dallas

    Kind of easy to host gridiron games when they share similar field proportions.

  67. anikan says:

    Yet that same stadium is packed for Pats games. Sorry but using location is a cop out. If people really wanted to go they would.

  68. Mingjai says:

    I think Midway would be nice.

    The other option for an SSS would be across the river from downtown St. Paul near Harriet Island and Cesar Chavez Blvd.

    All pipe dreams… But then so is the Vikings Stadium proposal!

  69. Kejsare says:

    Paul Allen.

  70. Kevin says:

    Wrong. If you want to win over fans for soccer in this country, you had better not make it too difficult for your the people you hope to convert to get to the stadium. It’s different for American football. The people are already converted.

  71. fischy says:

    I don’t know about Portland — there are American football games there?

    HOwever, Houston will be sharing their new stadium with a college football program.

  72. jonk says:

    Portland State’s football team will play games there in the fall. That’s a large reason why JWF is turf.

  73. malkin says:

    Still takes me an hour and a half to get to from the 1st stop into brooklyn. And abandoned warehouses does not an urban area make…or something.

    Point is, I think you’d see much more respectable attendance at RBA if they had built it on top of sheepsmeadow.

  74. malkin says:

    You people took my comment too literally

  75. malkin says:

    and considering the only bar is a half mile away from the path in the wrong direction, I think RBA is a perfect example of the spirit of this discussion

  76. Scott A says:

    Sheep Meadow in Central Park? Can’t tell if you’re suggesting that building a stadium there is actually an option.

    It’s easy walking distance to the Ironbound. That contrasts strongly with Commerce City, Bridgeview, etc if you’ve been to those venues. Warehouses is pretty much surrounds potential sites in Queens and Brooklyn.

    Well sure it takes you an hour and a half to get there. It would take that long for somebody from the Bronx to get to Coney Island or from North Jersey to get to Queens or whatever. We’re not traveling in tubes.

  77. wildchild says:

    Portland State Vikings football.

  78. Scott A says:

    Do you know what the closest bar outside BMO field is? And that’s considered an urban stadium. You have to walk through some carnival thing to get there.

  79. ds says:

    Reading about this makes me think that it’s too bad there’s no middle ground in the US for economically viable regional sports. It seems like you have to spend $40 million on MLS franchise, or nothing. I know there is the USL/NASL, but those teams don’t actually have regional rivals and does anybody really pay attention to them? There are now some regional rivalries in MLS, but still not as many.

    Can you imagine if say the San Francisco bay area had teams in Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco (or substitute your local area and the neighbors you love to hate)? Or if NY had teams from Brooklyn, Queens, North Jersey. There would be real local rivalries and rabid regionalism rather than national corporate franchises and bland manufactured interest. I guess then you would be in England.

    Is it TV that makes this impossible?

  80. Shane says:

    When you’re talking about American football attendance, you need to keep in mind that a team will play fewer than 20 games even if they make it all the way to the Super Bowl. So you only have somewhere around 10 home games per season. That makes it much more of a novelty to go to a football game, hence people are willing to “schlep” all the way to Gillette for the Pats.

    As a Boston resident who doesn’t have a car, I can say that the only reason I don’t go to Revs games is because they play all the way out in Foxborough.

  81. bajafresh says:


  82. Luke in MN says:

    MSP is not that big of a hotbed for soccer. At least not anymore than any other metro area of similar size without a MLS team like Atlanta, Pheonix, St. Louis, etc… Yes, youth soccer is big, like everywhere else and there are several adult leagues that are doing well. However, the only Division 1 soccer program is the U of Minnesota’s womens team. There are no men’s Div. 1 or 2 college programs in the state of Minnesota.

    The USL Thunder struggled to attract 2,000 even when they played in a high school football stadium in St. Paul and the NSC Stars get even less attendance since they play in Blaine. The NSC Stars finances were so bad that the new NASL had take over the operation this year to keep them afloat. A few years ago when the Beckham circus came to town only about 20k showed up to watch the game.

    Yes, the Kicks drew decent crowds, but that was the late 70’s and early 80’s and soccer was pretty much a novelty. And some teams, including the Kicks/Strikers had marquee players from Europe and South America who drew in the fans.

    Currently the Twins in their new stadium is the big draw in the MSP sporting scene. And since MLS and MLB pretty much have the same calander, it would be hard to fathom 40k fans going to a MLB and 30K to an MLS game if they were the same day. There may just not be enough sporting dollars to go around.

  83. Hypi says:

    This guy just looks like a crook

  84. bigprof says:

    might as well be Tegucigalpa. let’s see, there are 3 areas of 800-1mil in SF, Oak-Berk-Richmond, and SJ. The first has a density of 14-15k per sq mile, the second about 9 per sq mile, and third of about 5k per sq mile…the 3rd sure does seem like a population suburb to me.

  85. jones says:

    Completely agree with Shane.

    I live in Boston now and can tell you that it was quicker/easier to get to a Revs game when I lived in Providence, RI. It’s the same distance or even further (depends on where you live) from Boston to Foxborough as it is from Pvd to Foxborough, and the traffic is much worse.

  86. Zach says:

    Miami is not indicative of the Southeast. Miami is in its own little world down there.

  87. Ben says:

    The MLS needs to focus on selling out games and grabbing better tv shares before rather than the continual addition of teams.

  88. Brian says:

    Do you honestly think San Jose is a suburb of San Francisco?

  89. papa bear says:

    if they have a stadium and money then I’m down with letting MN in. It would give Chicago a better natural rival. As it stands now C’bus and KC are the closest thing to Chicago.
    On that note as well, it might be time for the league to buy out Chivas USA. It has run its course. It was a joke to begin with and has now turned into little more than an excuse for a foreign owner to set up a camp to poach local youth prospects to go play for Chiva…de Guadalajara.
    Furthermore, the attendance there is a joke. The fans of actual Chivas only nominally support them and that is about the extent of that.

    One final note, all the talk of suburban fields being the reason teams don’t draw is a little bit of a stretch and over-simplification. LA plays as far out in the boonies as anyone does. They are much farther from downtown or Hollywood then Chicago is from Bridgeview (which is literally across the street from the City of Chicago city limits.
    Some parts of this country simply don’t have as many soccer fans as others. Note the lack of NFL support in LA. It happens.

  90. Sgc says:

    Of course, so was Seattle back in the day. Paul Allen had no interest in it, he just claimed it would be a two-sport stadium to get votes.

  91. BCC says:

    I have been a loyal Vikings fan for many years and he is by far the best owner the team has had during my lifetime. Stand up guy, pays for talent . . . class all around. He would be an asset to MLS.

    Perhaps you should stop and think before judging someone based on the way they look.

  92. BCC says:

    It is ten miles from downtown and located in near some posh suburbs (where soccer moms, people with money for tickets, tend to live).

  93. Equator Control says:

    I can’t get past the dyed eyebrows.


  94. Harvey Wallbangers says:

    I live in Minnesota. Soccer is bigger here than you’d think. There is a market here. Western Wisconsinites that aren’t Cheeseheads? That includes about 100 folks in Hudson who grew up in Minnesota. The Packers may be the third most popular team in Minnesota, but it’s not the same on the other side of the border. I would whole-heartedly support a Minnesota MLS franchise, and I have many friends who would.

  95. pierrot_bleu says:

    Are these the guys that would form an instant rivalry with Chicago or is that Wisconsin?

  96. inkedAG says:

    I’m not sure where in Brooklyn you live, but it takes me approx 40 minutes to get to the stadium. C train to Chambers (15-20 mins), walk to Path and the ride to Harrison is approx 20 minutes.

  97. Charles says:

    I realize there are going to be different opinions on whether MN is a good idea or not.

    But some of the arguements are bizzare.

    We have another ( and there are plenty now ) guy willing to invest in soccer in this country.

    The Don has been very good at figuring out which markets to expand to, no ?

    This is great.

    In my opinion this is nitpicking:

    They will have to share a stadium ( this situation is exactly like Seattle BTW ).

    They might have turf there.

    In my opinion this is not:

    Commentors already have plans on where an investor could put a soccer specific stadium in MN.


  98. Brent McD says:

    I’ll chime in about the Home Depot Center. Same problem as what you’re talking about — no public transportation, not close to any urban center. Of course in L.A. people are used to driving everywhere, so I suppose it still works….

  99. Brent McD says:

    This guy looks like he should run for FIFA president. Couldn’t be any worse than Blatter

  100. akoto says:

    500m north – Liberty Bistro
    750m north – Brazen Head
    1.2K north – Shoeless Joe’s

    not far at all.

  101. Alex says:

    Dude, RBA is a b*tch to get to from NYC – that platform and the PATH entrance is just too damn small when you get out in Harrison. The station needs a serious renovation and some way to prevent the hour-long wait to get on after big games. I went to the THFC friendly last summer as well and that was even longer of a wait to finally get on a train – about 2.5 hours.

    They seriously need to fix the place up if they at all want to consider themselves an NYC team, at least in my opinion.

    But again… this has been discussed many times and I don’t want to thread-jack.

  102. Alex says:

    Why not more than 20 teams? Is there a reason BESIDES the fact that the EPL and Sepp Blatter say that’s the limit? The country is big enough to support more teams and who cares if there isn’t a “balanced schedule” and “single table”? Just let the conferences duke it out for the chance to play in the final, is what I say. That way you can get twice as many teams, if you wanted, in the same schedule allotment we have now. You Euro-snobs are all the same… can’t see the forest for the trees.

  103. Alex says:

    LOL doesn’t seem like a fair trade to me.