Raising corporate millions came easy for the Twin Cities’ 2018 Super Bowl bid committee. Now comes preparation for presentation of the pitch they delivered Wednesday to the 32 NFL owners who will determine where the game will be played.
The bid steering committee intends to blow the minds of the NFL owners with its plan, U.S. Bancorp President and CEO Richard Davis told reporters during a media availability Wednesday after the bid had been shipped to the owners on Best Buy-donated iPads.
“The most important part of the bid is to believe it will change the future of this community by hosting something this big,” Davis said, adding that boosters see the game as an important event for attracting a workforce, keeping young people in Minnesota and positioning the region for the next generation.
He was joined by his fellow gubernatorially selected steering committee chairs, Marilyn Carlson Nelson of Carlson Cos. and Ecolab CEO Doug Baker, to discuss the 180-page submission. Davis immediately averred that he would not discuss themes of the bid or “secret weapons” in the campaign to beat out Indianapolis and New Orleans for the game.
On May 20, two of the committee chairs will make a brief presentation to NFL owners in a closed-door conference room at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. Then they will wait outside the room while the NFL owners decide among the cities.
Davis said fundraising has been swift. Within seven days of soliciting corporate help, the committee had raised 75 percent of the estimated $30 million to $40 million needed. He declined to be more specific about the numbers. The pledges are now at 85 percent of what’s needed, Davis said, adding, “This thing is done.”
The “centerpiece” of the bid is the under-construction $1 billion Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium, which Davis called “iconic.” The new stadium is to open in time for the Vikings to move in for the 2016 season. Referring to those who might not like the new stadium, Davis said, “Get over it.”
Davis spoke of the economic benefits of the event, estimated at $350 million or more with some 100,000 visitors to the Twin Cities in February.
Skeptics say the numbers overestimate the benefits, but Davis and the others state the benefits as fact, leaving no room for doubt.
Their plan will be a celebration of winter “because we do it well,” Davis said, calling the game a “proxy” for telling the story of Minnesota. Davis encouraged the media to be “a visceral competitor for this city,” because on Feb. 4, 2018, the region can “celebrate on a world stage” a week before the Winter Olympics with 4,000 members of the media reporting from the Twin Cities. “We’ve got an amazing story to tell,” Davis said.
The highlights of the story: the 19 Fortune 500 companies headquartered here, ice palaces, Red Bull Crashed Ice and the City of Lakes Loppet ski race.
The committee chairs say the corporate donations will defray any public costs for the game — including security. They also are certain they have in place support for the tax abatements required by the NFL for the game. “We’ve got agreement,” Baker said.
Carlson Nelson, who said hoteliers have assured availability of 19,887 rooms, said the game would provide a return on the public’s investment in the new stadium. “It’s all starting to make a lot of sense,” she said. She helped lead the effort that brought the 1992 Super Bowl to the late Metrodome.
The committee members say they will bring passion and enthusiasm to their presentation, but will leave the lobbying for votes to team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf.
As for the Twin Cities’ chances, Baker said, “I wouldn’t want to compete against us.”