The Minnesota Wild and St. Paul officials have finalized an Xcel Energy Center lease extension, keeping the team at the downtown arena through 2035.
Home to the Wild since its 2000 opening, Excel Energy Center has emerged as a solid NHL venue over the years–thanks to its design features, downtown setting, and consistent maintenance and upgrades. The Wild was operating under a lease that ran through 2025, but have lengthened that commitment by agreeing to a 10-year lease extension with the City of St. Paul.
The terms of the new lease will keep the Wild at the facility through the 2035 season, continuing what has been a solid partnership. More from the Star Tribune:
By the city refinancing arena bonds at a lower interest rate and extending the team’s lease through 2035, the Wild’s annual rent payments will drop from nearly $9 million per year to less than $4 million per year, said Jeff Pellegrom, the team’s chief financial officer. When asked if there are any specific improvements planned, city and team officials wouldn’t say. The debt on Xcel Energy Center is now about $48 million, according to the city.
[Wild owner Craig] Leipold and Pellegrom said the team’s obligations at Xcel are unchanged. The Wild manages the arena and is responsible for day-to-day operations. The team will continue to pay 80% of the cost of repairs and improvements. Since Xcel opened, the Wild has spent more than $50 million on arena improvements, Pellegrom said. The Wild also spends about $2 million per year on maintenance. Officials praised the “extraordinary” condition of the arena, now among the oldest in the Twin Cities after a decadelong sports facilities building boom.
Fans and visitors regularly say “I can’t believe this building is almost 20 years old,” Pellegrom said. “The bones of this building are just spectacular.”
With a busy slate that includes Wild games and a variety of other events, Xcel Energy Center has been credited with having a positive economic effect on downtown St. Paul. That impact was noted with the announcement of the Wild’s lease extension.
“We are excited to extend our great partnership with the City of Saint Paul through 2035 to operate Xcel Energy Center,” Minnesota Wild owner and chairman Craig Leipold said in a press statement. “We take great pride in making sure Xcel Energy Center is a world-class venue for our guests and look forward to creating many more years of memories at the arena.”
“For two decades, the Minnesota Wild has been an incredible partner in driving vitality to downtown, and enriching not only our capital city, but our entire state,” St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said in a press statement. “I am thrilled to extend this partnership and ensure the nearly two million visitors who join us each year can continue to experience all that Saint Paul has to offer.”