The Vikings stadium has yet to open its doors, but Gov. Mark Dayton is hoping to add even more to its swelling schedule.
On Tuesday at the State Capitol, Gov. Dayton officially announced Minneapolis’ bid for the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in 2020.
The bid will require an $8 million to $12 million fundraising effort, said Scot Housh, co-chairman of the campaign and the president and CEO of Willis of Minnesota Inc. The cost of this particular bid, Housh said, is roughly equivalent to that of the 2019 Final Four the city secured in November.
“We bid for these super-sensational events because they provide jobs, because they bring people from all over the country, in fact all over the world, to the stadium to tout the virtues of living in Minneapolis, even in January,” Gov. Dayton said at the announcement. “I’m very optimistic that we can make a competitive bid.”
In the past year, the city has successfully done so for two other major sporting events: the Super Bowl, which Minneapolis will host on Feb. 4, 2018, and men’s college basketball’s Final Four, which comes to the stadium about 14 months later.
Hosting college football’s title game is expected to have a major economic impact on the city — there isn’t yet an estimate for Minnesota, but the Dallas-area organizers of the College Football Playoff predicted an overall impact of more than $300 million for last year’s inaugural playoff championship — as well as cap an unprecedented run of high-profile events in Minnesota.
“I think it will be the trifecta that we all appreciate,” Housh said.
Some of the requirements necessary to host the event include having 10,000 hotel rooms in the immediate area, as well as identifying space for several ancillary events: Playoff Fan Central, an interactive fan event that will be held at the convention center; two concerts, which are expected to be held at Target Center; Taste of the Championship, a fundraiser highlighting local chefs; and A Night of Champions, a VIP bash.
This bidding cycle is for the three championship games in the Januarys of 2018-2020, but Minneapolis is only targeting the final year. The list of competing cities is not yet complete — it is expected to include Atlanta, Jacksonville, Fla., Miami, San Antonio and Santa Clara, Calif. — and bids are due May 27. Minneapolis will officially submit its bid later this month. The winners will be announced this fall.
Gophers football coach Jerry Kill, an honorary co-chairman of the bid, lauded both the new playoff system and Minneapolis.
“There’s not a better place to have an event like this,” he said. “There is no doubt in my mind.”
Dayton agreed, tossing in a hint that the location could be convenient for one certain team.
“The first game had sensational ratings and reviews, and I think over the next number of years, it will be even that much more of a national interest,” he said. “And it will be compounded here in Minnesota when Coach Kill’s team is in the game.”
The governor turned and winked at the coach. “So,” he told Kill, “2020.”