Thu, Feb 17, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Reggie Fowler to make history if he can buy the Vikings

AP , MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler agreed to buy the Minnesota Vikings on Monday in a deal that would make him the NFL's first black owner.

Fowler declined to say how much he would pay for the team. Published reports and a rival bidder, NBA Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, put the price at about US$625 million (481.99 million euro).

Vikings owner Red McCombs had the team up for sale since 2002. Taylor offered about US$600 million, though some of that money was contingent on a new stadium being built. If the league approves the deal, McCombs will make a huge profit -- he paid US$246 million for the team in 1998.

NFL owners are to meet in March in Hawaii. League rules require 24 of the 32 owners to approve a sale. The NFL also mandates that a general partner must put down 30 percent of the cash portion of any franchise purchase.

Fowler brushed aside questions about pressing for a new stadium and rejected any thought of moving the team.

"We want to focus today on just acquiring the team," he said at a news conference.

Fowler's ownership group faces the same problem that McCombs did: The Metrodome doesn't generate as much revenue as other NFL stadiums. But the lease runs through 2011, and opposition was strong to a new publicly funded stadium.

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