U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings promise, will deliver first-time memories that will surprise fans.
From pregame to postgame, to one of its 23 field-level suites or the upper level, there is something different for everyone.
“One of the things that is most important about the new stadium is to deliver an outstanding fan experience,” said Lester Bagley, Vikings executive vice president of public affairs and stadium development. “Everything from a design standpoint has gone into [that] fan experience.”
Vikings fans will be as close to the action as in any NFL stadium, with seats 41 feet from the sidelines. The stadium’s seven levels include two general-admission concourses with 360-degree circulation and various views into the bowl. There are 2,000 high-definition televisions, 16 video walls and large scoreboards for the all-important replays.
The stadium is built to maximize views and time. Each of the 65,400 seats, even those in the highest reaches, offer strong views of the field, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.
The technology incorporated into the building and stadium apps developed for smartphones will allow guests to access many of the amenities with the touch of the finger from seats, or on the way to the game.
“The way the stadium is built, it gives you, even in the upper level, a much tighter and more intimate kind of feel in the whole stadium,” Kelm-Helgen said. “Everyone comments it almost feels more like an arena than a stadium even though we’ve got 66,000 seats. The way it’s laid out in general, it’s a much better viewing experience.
“And in addition to the Vikings app for the venue, the stadium authority will have our own app. … It will be easier for fans to stay connected to whatever is happening.”
Fans who prefer to stand or wander throughout the stadium can stay connected with the game in one of the large gathering spaces with open lines of sight to the field or on the 2,000 TVs that will be scattered throughout the venue.
Two of the largest and highest-quality high-definition video boards in the NFL will be located in the end zones. Whether it is in your hand, on the field, or any direction you look, the Vikings and Minnesota Sports Authority believe they have created an atmosphere where it will be difficult to miss a touchdown or your favorite song.
“The gathering spaces underneath the east scoreboard in the east end zone, the west plaza leading into the stadium, the west concourse, great gathering places for fans, and throughout the building,” Bagley said. “And then, of course, the products. We have some of the most unique … amenities [and] premium products in the league.”
Club Purple is the most intriguing of the seven club lounges in the stadium. It features an outdoor deck, the only one in the facility, with a view of the Minneapolis skyline, and lounge/couch seating for a more cozy environment.
The Touchdown and Turf suites, the closest to the field in the NFL, offer access to the sidelines and players’ tunnel. The Viking-themed Norseman and Valhalla suites/lounge and Loft suites are more of the traditional premium seating seen around the league.
If you don’t find yourself in one of the 131 suites or 8,200 club seats, there are still plenty of viewing options. The upper level offers a 360-degree concourse with a team store and views that “feel like you’re right on top of the action,” Bagley said.
Noted restaurants from the Twin Cities will have stands scattered throughout the stadium as well.
The pregame and postgame festivities will be almost as important as the football or whatever the event might be. The park and plaza outside of the stadium will always feature entertainment on gameday, Bagley and Kelm-Helgen said. The goal is to make it a long event, even if you’re attending the high school state football tournament.
“I think it will definitely become a whole-day event,” Kelm-Helgen said. “It will become an experience people will want to come early and stay late. … It will lend itself for people coming to the building early and maybe not rushing out after the event. and we want to encourage that.”
And for the fans who just want to watch football, the indoor setting will keep the seats warm in the winter and cool in the fall. The transparent roof structure and 95-foot pivoting glass doors also will create an outdoor-like atmosphere for purists who believe the game should be played outside.
The experience is “going to be loud and exciting,” Bagley said.