Vikings open glitzy preview center to sell new stadium to fans

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 26, 2014 - 12:40 PM

Season-ticket holders will be able to check out model suites and sit down and view the field much as they will when the real thing opens.

The Minnesota Vikings hope a slick hands-on preview of their new stadium will get fans of the purple to turn over the green.

As part of its push to sell “stadium-builder licenses” to season-ticket holders, the team on Tuesday offered a peek at a 7,500-square-foot interactive showroom for the $1 billion stadium. By late this week, season-ticket holders will be invited to make appointments to walk into model suites and sit down and view the field much as they will when the real thing opens in 2016.

The showroom’s windows overlook the Metrodome demolition/new stadium construction site, which is crawling with heavy equipment bashing down the old and building the new.

“We’re excited that we’re adjacent to the site. It was a convenient but also a unique opportunity,” said Steve LaCroix, the team’s vice president in charge of sales and marketing.

As rampant as Purple Pride runs in Minnesota, even the Vikings must infuse razzle-dazzle into their pitch to season-ticket holders, who will pay $500 to $9,500 per seat to keep their place in the new stadium.

The Vikings call the one-time fees stadium-builder licenses; they are necessary for each season ticket. The team wants and expects to take in $100 million net from the sales of the licenses — money that will count toward owner Zygi Wilf’s contribution to the stadium.

Over the years, the team has said that NFL fans in this market had no idea what they’re missing in terms of gameday experiences. “We wanted to build a place for the fan base,” LaCroix said.

Now the team is giving those fans a taste, and hoping they like the flavor.

All about good vibes

From the moment the showroom door opens, the Vikings try to get fans jacked up. On one side, a couple of lockers showcase team jerseys and equipment, and on the other player Harrison Smith looks out from a video screen and asks, “Are you ready?”

Step on down the hallway, where a screen runs the length of the wall. Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” howls in the background: “We come from the land of the ice and snow.” The screen shows purple-clad players out on a field. Some mug for the camera. Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson flash big smiles, bounce up and down, and say, “Let’s go, baby!” before they turn away.

It’s the team’s own little Valhalla and audiovisual gateway into the main showroom, where the walls feature the franchise greats — coach Bud Grant, quarterback Fran Tarkenton, Alan Page and the rest of the Purple People Eaters. Video screens show highlights from the decades.

A tabletop model of the new stadium sits in the center of the room, with its sharp lines, soaring 280-foot peak and the world’s largest pivoting doors, which will swing open on nice days. The model shows the three-acre park in front of the building and the two supersized video screens that will be in the stadium. Another model puts the stadium in the context of downtown, a broader view.

The new stadium will provide an indoor-outdoor connection, LaCroix said, melding the two with the translucent fabric roof and walls of windows on the southern and western sides.

The best sense of how the new place will feel comes from stepping inside the model upscale suites and taking a seat.

From there, a keystroke provides a view of the field from 275 vantage points. Yes, the views are better than those at the Metrodome.

The 16-seat loft-style suite looks down on the field, features three flat-screen TVs — presumably to watch the game — as well as a refrigerator and seats. The suite sells for about $110,000 for the season. The price includes tickets to the game and all food and drinks.

The showroom’s pièce de résistance, however, is the turf suite, a new concept for Vikings fans that will literally open up to the field as if it were your own yard. The turf underfoot will be the same turf under Peterson’s fleet feet.

LaCroix didn’t say how much the suites cost, but they are more expensive than the loft suites and less than the most expensive suites, which are about 17 rows up from the field.

By appointment only

The Vikings have a lot of selling to do. Of the 65,400 seats in the Vikings’ new stadium, 75 percent will require game-goers to purchase seat licenses before they buy tickets.

“Time’s a’ tickin’,” LaCroix said.

But don’t come downtown and expect a tour. Visits to the showroom are by appointment only, and the team is contacting season-ticket holders first.

Those interested in seeing the facility can call the team at 612-33VIKES. But be prepared to wait awhile before you can step in and hear the evocative Zeppelin tune “... from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.”

 

Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747 @rochelleolson

 

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  • Steve LaCroix, the Vikings’ vice president of sales, showed off a model of the new stadium during a tour of a sales center the team provided on Tuesday.

  • Metrodome demolition continued on Tuesday. The windows of the Vikings’ preview center overlook the site. Visits to the showroom are by appointment only, and the team is contacting season-ticket holders first.

  • Metrodome demolition continues and more and more the site looks like some kind of Apocalypse has has happened on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 ] Richard.Sennott@startribune.com Richard Sennott/Star Tribune Minneapolis , Minn Monday 2/24/2014) ** (cq) ORG XMIT: MIN1402251705510440

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