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Continued: NFL had a long, pricey and secret Super Bowl wish list for Minneapolis

The league also asked for benefits in the local media “to provide significant advertising and promotional time” for the “NFL Experience” in the month leading up to the game. Among them: At least 20 color pages of free space, in aggregate, in leading daily newspapers to promote the game and four weeks of free promotions on at least six local radio stations, including at least 250 live or prerecorded ads.

The bid specifications are divided into 16 separate sections and require a potential host city to mark “Yes” or “No” after each section to indicate whether it “agrees to all conditions.”

The host committee, in a written response to the Star Tribune, said last week that “while the Minnesota Super Bowl Bid Committee did not agree to all of the NFL’s Super Bowl bid specifications, the competitive bid remains private.”

By winning the right last month to host the Super Bowl, the committee added that “we have guaranteed that [more than] 100,000 visitors will descend on this community, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity.”

An attorney for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority — the public agency that oversees the new Vikings stadium — said that it and the host committee are allowed to keep the data private under state law. State statute allows the authority to keep private “a letter or other documentation from any person” wanting to use public facilities like the new Vikings stadium, along with the response from the authority.

The law adds that the data can be made public when the event takes place, or five years after a contract is signed to hold the event.

Jay Lindgren, an attorney for the sports facilities authority, said the statute gives officials the legal footing to withhold the information.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy declined to say whether balking at any requirement disqualified a city from being considered. “There is tremendous value to a community in hosting an event of the Super Bowl’s magnitude and the competition to host one is significant,” McCarthy said in a written statement.

Prior to Minneapolis being named the host city, both the league and local officials emphasized the economic benefits that the city and state will receive. The NFL’s bid requirement, in fact, begins by saying that “the day of the Super Bowl game [is] America’s unofficial holiday, a day when the attention of an entire nation is focused on the game in one region.”

In the document, the NFL also said it would allow the host committee to buy 750 game tickets.

Airport said no

But there is at least one sign that the NFL’s specifications had not been completely accepted.

The NFL wanted — at no cost — the “exclusive right” to select vendors to sell Super Bowl merchandise at local airports and the “unrestricted ability” to put kiosks in multiple spots at an airport.

But Patrick Hogan, a Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman, said the commission was asked about the requirement before the bid was submitted, but had not agreed to the request. Typically, he said, the commission itself connects event organizers with existing vendors at the airport.

In Minneapolis, Hodges’ spokesperson said that even though she was uncertain on what had been agreed to, “what we know at the city is that whatever the committee agreed to will be covered by private fundraising.”

Johnson, the Minneapolis City Council president, said critics needed to face reality. “We’re in competition with every other city in the United States for convention visitors,” she said.

 

mkaszuba@startribune.com • 612-673-4388 rochelle.olson@startribune.com • 612-673-1747

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