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Vikings stadium panel finalizing deal details

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Lawyers for both the Minnesota Vikings and the panel that is overseeing the construction of a new downtown Minneapolis stadium were busy working late Wednesday to finalize a lease and development agreement for the gleaming new $975 million structure, the Star Tribune reports.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Metrodome to vote on the agreements, which would commit the team to the new stadium for 30 years, the newspaper reports. The agreements detail responsibilities for the panel and the team during construction, expected to take several years, the Star Tribune notes.

The agreements also will spell out some key information for anyone who wants to buy season tickets – the terms for seat license fees. Those are one-time fees paid by season ticket holders for the right to buy season tickets.

The Associated Press notes that seat license fees will not be required for all seats in the stadium, but fees likely will apply to the best seats.

The agreements on the table Thursday need to be finalized before the team and authority nail down financing plans. The team has agreed to pay $477 million for the stadium, the state is committed to paying $348 million, and the city of Minneapolis will pay $150 million through a hospitality tax.

The state of Minnesota is already planning to issue bonds to pay for the taxpayers' share of the stadium cost. State officials last month issued a request for proposal that seeks financial instutions that might be interested in underwriting the $348 million state share (essentially, loans that taxpayers would pay back to the banks).

Vikings owners Zygi, Mark and Leonard Wilf say they will have no trouble paying their share of the stadium cost, despite a court judgment in New Jersey that ordered them to pay $84.5 million to former partners in a real estate deal. The Wilfs are appealing the ruling.

The stadium is expected to open in time for the 2016 season.

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