EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — With a new stadium set to open in 2016, Minnesota was hopeful to bring in the biggest events to town in the new multi-use facility that will serve as the home of the Minnesota Vikings.
The state and team are one step closer to realizing the opportunity to host the biggest event on the sports calendar.
At Tuesday’s NFL owner’s meeting, Minnesota was announced as one of three finalists to host Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4, 2018. Indianapolis and New Orleans, the sites of the past two Super Bowls, are the other finalists. The game will be awarded to one of the cities in May 2014.
“This is a significant first step in bringing the world’s marquee sporting event to Minnesota,” Vikings’ owner and president Mark Wilf said in a release by the team. “With the outstanding hospitality community in Minneapolis-St. Paul and the opening of the new state-of-the-art stadium, this is a perfect fit. We look forward to working with state and local leaders to secure this major event in Minnesota.”
The NFL has long preferred warm weather locations for the Super Bowl, but also has awarded the Super Bowl to cities with new stadiums, such as Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium in 2012 and Detroit’s Ford Field in 2006. New York is set to host this season’s Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.
Minnesota hosted the Super Bowl once previously, in 1992, when the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills at the Metrodome. The Vikings’ new facility will be replacing the outdated Metrodome and will be featured on the current site of Minnesota’s current home stadium.
Wilf was in Washington D.C. to make the Vikings’ bid for the Super Bowl. The NFL was considering six sites, narrowing down to three Tuesday. The team has believed it would be a nominee to get a Super Bowl in the years after the new stadium opened with 2018, 2019 and 2020 as possibilities.
“We’re bullish on the community,” Vikings vice president of stadium development Lester Bagley told FOXSportsNorth.com on Monday. “This community has a lot to offer. The No. 1 thing that’s been missing is a venue.”
Minnesota’s new venue — a $975 million, enclosed facility scheduled to open in 2016 — will shield the game from the elements. The NFL has also taken into consideration the warm weather locations because of the week-long events that accompany the Super Bowl.
The city of Minneapolis believes its infrastructure, including a series of skyways throughout the city and the light-rail system, will help manage the influx of people and possible weather-related issues.
Minnesota also submitted a formal bid for the 2017 college football national championship game.
“It’s a big part of what we’ve advocated for the past 10-plus years, that this multipurpose stadium will deliver international and national events,” Bagley said. “We want to see that advocacy, that promise, fulfilled.”