Vikings 'home' game in London throws Mpls. businesses for big loss

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Even if the Vikings score their first victory against Pittsburgh at London's Wembley Stadium Sunday, it will be a big loss for Twin Cities business owners, the Star Tribune reports.

That's because the game is technically considered one of the Vikings' eight regular season home games this year -- a move that irks local business owners and workers.

While the overall impact a Vikings home game has on the city is an "inexact science," the Star Tribune says, the paper cited a study of a 2010 playoff game by two University of Minnesota experts.

The study of the game -- where the Vikings played the Dallas Cowboys -- found that spending "on everything from hotels to transportation," resulted in an increase of $5.8 million locally, and the Twin Cities economy expanded by $9.1 million for the weekend.

According to the paper, such businesses as Hubert's across the street from the Metrodome Sunday because of the London game, and the restaurant will miss out on a what is usually a "five-figure day" in revenue.

The Vikings, meanwhile, will recoup travel costs and monies from not hosting a home game from the NFL. The team's spokesman, Lester Bagley, says the team will not experience a windfall from playing the game overseas, but instead will be compensated "for an average 2013 home game."

In addition, the team looks at the game as an opportunity for branding awareness overseas, KSTP-TV reports.

"The decision to participate in the International Series was not about an opportunity for higher revenue; it was about highlighting and growing the Vikings brand on an international stage and bringing exceptional exposure to Minnesota's business community and tourism industry," Vikings director of Corporate Communications Jeff Anderson told the station in an email.

Critics also claim the team doesn't have the public's best interest in mind, especially with the construction of the new taxpayer-supported Vikings stadium around the corner.

Pro Football Talk reports that the Vikings may play in London again in 2014 and 2015 while the new stadium is being built and home games are played at TCF Bank Stadium. Team officials say that they want to see how this year's game goes before a decision is made.

See KSTP's report below.

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