Minnesota Vikings fans celebrate Thursday following the state Senate's… (Glen Stubbe / Associated…)
The Minnesota Vikings moved to within a governor's signature of getting a new $975-million stadium on Thursday after the state Senate approved a plan that relies heavily on public financing.
Gov. Mark Dayton has said he'll sign the measure, meaning the Senate's 36-30 vote was effectively the final barrier for the stadium. The House had passed it overnight.
The team chased a new stadium for more than a decade but had little leverage until its lease expired last year on the 30-year-old Metrodome. Dayton led a newly urgent charge for the team, arguing that without a new building the state could lose its most beloved franchise.
The deal guarantees the Vikings' future in Minnesota for three decades.
Harden voted top sixth man
Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden is the NBA's sixth man of the year after leading all bench players in scoring this season.
Harden averaged 16.8 points on career-best 49% shooting, and he recorded the first 40-point game of his career last month in a win at Phoenix. The bearded combo guard, who attended Lakewood Artesia High and Arizona State, also became known in the final week of the regular season when he sustained a concussion while taking an elbow from the Lakers' Metta World Peace.
Southland teams make up the majority of the field in the eight-team NCAA women's water polo championship tournament, which begins Friday at San Diego State.
UCLA, USC, UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount and Pomona-Pitzer are among the participating teams.
UCLA, which is seeded second, opens against Iona at noon. USC, seeded third, plays Princeton at 12:45 p.m. Top-seeded Stanford plays Pomona-Pitzer at 3:30 p.m., and Irvine and Loyola Marymount meet at 5:15 p.m.
UCLA reached the tournament by defeating Stanford, 8-7, in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament title game. UCLA is led by goaltender Caitlin Dement, the MPSF player of the year.
The new Time Warner Cable regional sports networks that will televise Lakers, Galaxy and Sparks games beginning in the 2012-13 season will debut Oct. 1 and will be known as Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes. SportsNet will be English-language and Deportes will be Spanish-language.
Stu Lantz and Bill Macdonald will be broadcasting the Lakers on SportsNet, and Adrian Garcia Marquez and Francisco Pinto will do the Spanish broadcasts on Deportes. Andy Adler, formerly of KNBC and WNYW, and Heidi Watney, a Boston Red Sox reporter from NESN, will also be part of the on-air coverage.
Rafael Nadal lost to Spanish countryman Fernando Verdasco for the first time in the Madrid Open, then he and top-ranked Novak Djokovic threatened not to return if the new blue clay court wasn't discarded.
Nadal blew a 5-2 lead in the third set in losing 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, his first defeat to Verdasco in 14 matches.
Defending champion Djokovic and Roger Federer, meanwhile, eased into the quarterfinals with straight-set wins.
Tampa Bay center Nate Thompson broke a tie at the end of the second period to help the United States beat Belarus, 5-3, in the world hockey championships at Helsinki, Finland.
Cuba's men's volleyball team had little trouble with Trinidad and Tobago, rolling to a straight-set victory to advance to a semifinal showdown with the unbeaten United States on Friday in the NORCECA Olympic qualifying tournament at Long Beach State. Cuba, which won 25-18, 25-13, 25-16, will play the U.S. in Friday's second semifinal at 8 p.m. Canada, which is also unbeaten, will meet Puerto Rico in the first semifinal at 6. Puerto Rico beat Mexico in its quarterfinal Thursday.
Vladimir Guerrero agreed to a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, a potential veteran boost for a lagging lineup.