The Minnesota Vikings and Wells Fargo both want a judge to rule on their behalf before a federal trial on whether the bank’s rooftop signs in Minneapolis “photo-bomb” the image of the new U.S. Bank Stadium.
Both sides filed motions Monday that will be heard by U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank on June 3. The documents filed are both motions for summary judgment, meaning each side wants the judge to pick the winner because the other’s claim lacks substance. The motion is typical in civil cases.
The Vikings, legally acting as the “Minnesota Vikings Football Stadium LLC,” filed the lawsuit last year because Wells Fargo put raised signs on the rooftops of two office towers adjacent to the new $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium. The 56-by-56-foot logos are elevated 18 inches, which the Vikings say is a violation of a two-year-old agreement that the signs would be flush with the rooftops.
The issue is millions, not inches. U.S. Bank, a Wells Fargo competitor, paid the Vikings undisclosed millions for the naming rights to the massive new stadium. The bank’s logo is on the stadium’s roof in white — visible from commercial flights in and out of the city.
The yellow and red Wells Fargo logo on each of the 17-story office towers capped the bank’s $300 million investment in a $400 million mixed-use development in Downtown East. Some 5,000 Wells Fargo employees work in the towers.
The Vikings say the Wells Fargo logos, visible only from above the buildings, “photo bomb” the image of the new stadium in telecasts.
Wells Fargo counters that its signs are allowed under the agreement with the team.
If Frank doesn’t pick a side, the case is scheduled for trial in July. The new stadium opens with a soccer match on Aug. 3.
Negotiations for the initial agreement nearly tanked the entire development around Wells Fargo. When the signs started going up, the Vikings complained to Wells Fargo, but the bank forged on.
The sides met last week with U.S. Magistrate Judge Janie Mayeron in a closed-door settlement conference. They left without reaching agreement. The case is on an expedited track.
Under a preliminary ruling by Frank, the signs remain in place for now.