Minnesota governor joins Vikings’ bid for 2018 Super Bowl
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Construction has begun in Minneapolis on the Minnesota Vikings’ new $975 million stadium.
The state is joining the Vikings in their bid to host the new facility’s first big event: the Super Bowl.
Minnesota was named one of three finalists in October to host the 2018 Super Bowl in its nearly $1 billion stadium, which is set to open in 2016. Governor Mark Dayton, along with the Vikings and several civic leaders announced their formal bid Monday to bring the Super Bowl back to Minnesota for the first time since 1992.
"We feel good that we think we have a really good shot at it," Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley said. "It’s a great market, great hospitality, great committee, CEO leadership. We have the governor of the state that’s leading the charge. This is a full-court press."
The Vikings began work on a Super Bowl bid almost from the time financing for their new stadium was approved in 2012. The bid put in by the team was heard by NFL owners, who announced Minnesota as a finalist along with New Orleans and Indianapolis.
Dayton’s inclusion with the backing of business and community leaders is the next step in the long process of securing the biggest event in North American sports.
"It will be a team effort all the way," Dayton said.
The talk of this week’s Super Bowl in New Jersey has surrounded the cold temperatures and threat of snow in the area, one aspect that has been held against Northern cities in their efforts to host a Super Bowl. Minnesota is one of the few Northern cities that has hosted one, with Super Bowl XXVI having been played at the Metrodome.
This year’s Super Bowl was awarded to New Jersey with the building of MetLife Stadium, a $1.6 billion facility. Detroit has hosted the Super Bowl twice, included in 2006 at new Ford Field, and Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium was the site in 2012.
"We know how to handle a cold-weather location for the Super Bowl," Dayton said. "Unlike this Sunday, it will be indoors. We’ll have a climate-controlled stadium. We’ll have a lot of good activities and we’ll have close to a half of a billion dollars added to the Minnesota economy."
The NFL has tried to reward cities and states that have approved funding and built new stadiums. Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers which will open with the 2014 season, will host the 2016 Super Bowl. The 2018 game, Super Bowl XLII to be played on Feb. 4, 2018, will be awarded in May.
If the Vikings are awarded the game — their bid is for a Super Bowl in 2018, 2019 or 2020 with a preference on 2018 — it will fulfill the same timeframe as Santa Clara, Calif.’s Levi’s Stadium.
"I’m very optimistic that the owners of the teams who will make this decision will recognize all that we have done here in Minnesota to bring a new stadium and secure the Vikings’ future here," Dayton said. "And that will be recognized as well as we’ve shown we put on a really good time for them here."
The Vikings, the city of Minneapolis and the state received a 190-page document with specifications for hosting a Super Bowl, including the necessary hospitality considerations. Melvin Tennant, president and CEO of the Meet Minneapolis marketing organization, said 19,000 hotel rooms are secured for a four-day period as part of the specifications.
In dealing with the possibility of cold weather, the group promotes Minneapolis’ extensive skyway system, along with more skyways to be built along with the new indoor stadium. The state also features a light-rail system to help manage the influx of people and possible weather-related issues. Minnesota’s new enclosed facility 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 Super Bowl has changed a great deal since we hosted it in 1992," Bagley said. "It’s become a week-long celebration with a number of different programs and events. So, there’s a lot of hospitality that we have to match up with the need. We have a great hospitality infrastructure in this market, Minneapolis and St. Paul and Bloomington, in terms of hotels and restaurants and bars. So, it’s exciting. This is a fun project. A lot of work, but this should be a fun effort for the state."
Richard Davis, chairman, president and CEO of U.S. Bancorp, was named one of three co-chairs for the bid effort, along with Ecolab chairman and CEO Doug Baker and former chair and CEO of Carlson Marilyn Carlson Nelson.
Davis touted 19 Fortune 500 companies to help in providing the business leadership, along with nearly double the number of companies in the Fortune 1,000.
"It’s our time," Davis said. "It’s our moment and we’re ready."
Bagley said the investment from the city of Indianapolis in hosting the Super Bowl in 2012 was between $25 million and $30 million. According to a release from the governor’s office, an independent study stated the Super Bowl generated $324 million in economic impact on Indianapolis.
"We expect more than that in 2018, if we’re successful," Dayton said. "Close to half a billion dollars of money coming from visitors all over the country, all over the world to see this stadium and to see Minnesota, and we’ll have the chance to showcase Minnesota to the nation and to the world."
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