Earlier today, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman offered up a proposal in which a 2-cent fee would be added to alcoholic beverages sold in bars statewide. He said the money would be used to pay for a new Vikings stadium in Minneapolis, $75 million in upgrades to Xcel Energy Center and recreation fields throughout the state and a new ballpark for the St. Paul Saints.
As part of this proposal, the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis would close, and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx would move into Xcel Energy Center.
In response to this proposal, Wild owner Craig Leipold issued the following statement:
Since the beginning of the legislative session, the Minnesota Wild has been in support of a global solution which would address all of the state’s professional sports facilities.
This proposal from Mayor Coleman, for the Xcel Energy Center to host the Timberwolves and Lynx, is a new idea in this discussion. It is certainly possible from a facility standpoint. Multiple tenants in one building is common and is the case in most major markets around the country including Dallas, Denver, Chicago, and Los Angeles, where the Staples Center hosts three major league sports teams. While we haven’t discussed this idea with the Timberwolves, we would be happy to do so if the Wolves were interested in discussing this proposal.
Over the past few years, the Wild has developed plans for building improvements to keep the Xcel Energy Center a state of the art facility, including a multi-level expansion on the building’s north side. We have also supported the City of St. Paul’s work to build an Amateur Sports Center of Excellence on 7th Street across from the arena, which could also be used as a practice facility for the Wild. Those existing plans could easily be modified to accommodate the needs of the Timberwolves and Lynx, including additional locker rooms, lower bowl modifications and additional retail and office space should the Wolves and Lynx decide to move to St. Paul.
We remain in close partnership with the City of Saint Paul and are a willing participant in this or any discussion on sports facilities reform and a potential global solution.
The Wild will offer no further comments at this time.