Minnesota’s 2018 Super Bowl bid is in, and the NFL will decide within weeks whose turf will feel championship cleats.
In Minnesota, the game would be played on the site of the Metrodome, from the ashes of which is rising a $1 billion stadium set to open for the Vikings’ 2016 season.
The NFL’s 32 team owners will gather in Atlanta May 19-21 to choose among the Twin Cities, New Orleans and Indianapolis for the 2018 game.
In this Super Bowl matchup, Minnesota is the wide-eyed youngster with the clean jersey jumping off the bench. The other two cities played host to recent games.
New Orleans’ elegance and decadence are always big draws for visitors, and the city hopes to bring down the Super Bowl as part of its 2018 tricentennial celebration. Indianapolis would be a proven albeit less flashy host, with its own domed stadium.
It’s widely anticipated that Minnesota will rope in the game sooner rather than later as a hat tip from the league’s multimillionaire owners for its ponying-up to build a new stadium after years of beseeching by the Vikings at the Legislature.
Minnesota leaders see the game as a star turn for what by then will be a bright new civic visage after almost two decades of hard-fought investment in massive projects, from smooth-flowing light-rail and new transit hubs to the soaring stadium itself, a redone Nicollet Mall and a doubled-in-size Mall of America.
On Tuesday, the Vikings, Meet Minneapolis and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority issued a joint news release heralding the submission of the extensive bid, the details of which were not made public. Minnesota bid organizers will go to New York this month to meet with the NFL to burnish the bid, then fire off the final pitch May 7.
The news release called the bid a “culmination of collaborative work” by the Super Bowl Steering Committee appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton. The bid lays out options for venues, transportation, parking, lodging, security and team practice facilities. Sites for the venues are in both of the Twin Cities and Bloomington.
The bid submission listed 180 hotels with 19,000 rooms, 48 venues for events and letters of support from Gov. Mark Dayton and the DFL and GOP leaders in both legislative chambers.
The letters provide evidence of the public support needed to go with the $30 million in private support being solicited by the Super Bowl steering committee, Dayton wrote.
“The prospect of over 100,000 visitors coming to Minnesota to enjoy the weeklong Super Bowl experience — during January-February, which is not our typical tourist season — occupying our hotels and filling our restaurants, transportation, and shopping areas, will provide significant benefits to Minnesota,” the governor said.
The bipartisan letter, however, made no mention of the tax breaks the NFL insists on for Super Bowl towns. The amount of economic benefit for a site city is much disputed, but the publicity is not.
Hennepin County Board Chairman Mike Opat also sent a letter supporting the bid. “Minnesota is home to many thousands of passionate sports fans,” he wrote, noting other national and international events here, including the 2008 Republican National Convention, the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship that same year, this summer’s All-Star baseball game and the 2016 Ryder Cup. The County Board will collaborate to “offer fans and visitors an exceptional and uniquely Minnesota Super Bowl experience,” he wrote.
Tammy Lee Stanoch, board member of Meet Minneapolis and vice president for corporate affairs at Carlson Cos., has been involved from multiple angles. “Hosting the Super Bowl will put Minnesota in the center of the sporting universe,” she said. “This will kick-start our state’s economy at the start of 2018 and be a game-changer in terms of winning other major events and convention business — which could benefit our state and local economy for years to come.”
MSFA head Michele Kelm-Helgen said the new stadium as a lure.“Events like the Super Bowl provide national and international exposure to Minnesota as a place to live, work and do business,” she said. “We hope this will be just one example of the many economic benefits the stadium will provide.”
The defunct Dome hosted the Super Bowl in 1992. The Vikings haven’t sniffed Super Bowl grass since 1977 in Pasadena, Calif., when they lost to the Oakland Raiders 32-14.