PHOENIX – The six-member executive board of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee has spent the week gathering logistical information that will help them stage the NFL's showcase event at the Vikings' new stadium in three years.
When NFL Super Bowl officials travel to the Twin Cities in March, the ideas that the committee has will begin taking shape as the two sides work to match those ideas with the square footage needed to host a week's worth of Super Bowl activities, which have grown considerably since Minnesota last hosted a Super Bowl in January 1992.
Asked how many square feet we're talking about, Maureen Bausch, CEO of the committee, said, "Millions and millions, I bet."
Tentative plans include hosting Super Bowl Media Day at either Target Center or Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. And although Minneapolis will have the game, Bausch said there is a commitment to hosting events in St. Paul as well.
And, naturally, any discussion involving a Twin Cities Super Bowl includes the weather.
After touring University of Phoenix Stadium on a rainy day in the desert — similar weather to the last Arizona Super Bowl eight years ago — the Minneapolis committee members talked about the challenges of keeping visitors happy while hosting Super Bowl events in the Twin Cities in late January. It was 27 in Minneapolis on Friday and 7 below zero a year ago this week.
"We have to be extra especially warm in our personalities," Bausch said. "I think it's all about people. If we make them feel good, they're going to have a good time. Arizona has done a good job of that, even in the rain.
"It's about showcasing our people, our sophisticated marketplace, our innovations. It's about showcasing all that we do in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Minnesota. And changing what people think. We're not Fargo. Not that Fargo is bad. The movie and everything."
Phoenix has a 12-square-block area set aside for an outdoor party venue called "Super Bowl Central." The Minnesota committee has tentatively planned a similar venue for Nicollet Mall.
"One of the things we were really able to stress during our presentation to the NFL is that we do winter better than anyone else," said Melvin Tennant, CEO of Meet Minneapolis.
"We can't control the weather. If something happens, we're more prepared for it than anyone else.
"There will be a combination of indoor and outdoor events because we want the world to know that we embrace winter in Minneapolis."