MINNEAPOLIS, March 20 (UPI) -- The National Football League approved the Minnesota Vikings' request for a $200 million loan for a new stadium, team vice president Lester Bagley announced.
"It's a big step forward," Bagley said at a news conference Tuesday. "It's great news for the project."
The loan will be a part of $477 million the team will contribute to the stadium construction, and will be repaid over 15 years. The Vikings expect the total cost of the facility to be $975 million, the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press reported Wednesday.
Bagley said the team will break ground for the new stadium, on the site of its current home, the Metrodome, later this year. Plans call for the Vikings to play one more year in the Metrodome, move to the University of Minnesota's stadium in 2014 and 2015, and be in its new home in 2016.
Wrigley Field scoreboard removal proposed
CHICAGO, March 20 (UPI) -- Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney has proposed demolishing the iconic Wrigley Field scoreboard to improve the view of the field from nearby residential rooftops.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday sources close to negotiations with the Chicago Cubs said Tunney has repeatedly offered the suggestion in his effort to assist owners of rooftop clubs in the neighborhood of the 99-year-old stadium who are among his most reliable campaign contributors.
Tunney has proposed removing the large, hand-operated scoreboard, replacing it with a video screen that would improve the view of the game from rooftops outside the stadium.
The idea received a cool reception from the Cubs.
"Demolishing the landmark old scoreboard has never been part of any plan discussed or envisioned by the Ricketts family," Dennis Culloton, a spokesman for Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, said.
Chicago TV analysts clash in studio
CHICAGO, March 20 (UPI) -- An apparent scuffle between two Chicago sportscasters left former NBA player Kendall Gill sidelined temporarily, Comcast SportsNet Chicago executives said.
Gill, 44, was involved in an altercation with Big Ten Network basketball analyst Tim Doyle while taping a segment of "Sports Talk Live" at the Comcast studio Tuesday night and was immediately suspended by the network.
Sources told the Chicago Tribune Gill took umbrage at remarks Doyle made about Gill's conclusion that bad call by the officials voided the potential winning basket in Monday's overtime game between the Bulls and Denver.
The Tribune said Gill allegedly took a swing at Doyle and drew blood.
CSN news director Kevin Cross said in a written statement Gill would be off the air while the incident is sorted out. Gill told the Tribune, "We have to let everything play out."
The 6-foot-5 former shooting guard played for Charlotte, Seattle, New Jersey, Miami, Minnesota, Chicago and Milwaukee during a 15-year NBA career.
Jennings thanks Packers fans in ad
GREEN BAY, Wis., March 20 (UPI) -- Wide receiver Greg Jennings, who left Green Bay for Minnesota last week through free agency, offered Packers fans thanks in a full-page newspaper advertisement.
He placed full-color ads in Wednesday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Green Bay Press-Gazette -- headlined "A Bittersweet Farewell" -- in which he referred to himself as "blessed with the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful organization and community" during seven seasons with the Packers.
Although Jennings left the Packers to sign with the archrival Vikings, his comments in the ad referred to his time in Green Bay as "part of an amazing culture."