Super Bowl LII is coming to Minnesota in 2018.
The Minnesota Vikings and a delegation of business leaders presented the case for Minneapolis to host Super Bowl LII Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Atlanta and won on the fourth vote, beating out New Orleans, a finalist with Minnesota, and Indianapolis.
The Vikings presentation emphasized the $498 million investment the public made in the new Vikings stadium, slated to open in 2016. It also emphasized the eight miles of skyway system in downtown Minneapolis that will be ready for use in 2018 and the fact that they will have the newest stadium in the NFL at that time.
Minnesota was expected to face some long odds because New Orleans was a perfect 10-for-10 in the Super Bowl siting process – the city had submitted 10 bid proposals to host previous Super Bowls and was awarded all 10 of them.
Speaking on NFL Network, Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said the Minnesota contingent felt it had the bid package to knock New Orleans off of its Super Bowl winning streak.
"We feel good," Bagley said. "We've put a great bid together and we've worked hard with the NFL owners to make our case and with the commissioner and the front office of the league. We have a great bid, a great new stadium coming on line and a great community. We're ready to put on a great show and host the Super Bowl in 2018."
Bagley praised the efforts of the Vikings and local business community for coming together to line up potential event sites throughout the Twin Cities in preparation for the Super Bowl.
"It's been a tremendous amount of work," Bagley said. "It's been a great team effort. We have great corporate and civic leaders in Minnesota. We've got a great new stadium and great hospitality infrastructure. We're excited about it. It's been a lot of work, but it's a very exciting day here in Atlanta."
Vikings owner and president Mark Wilf joined in praising Minnesota's efforts to land the big event.
"We appreciate the collaborative effort from Minnesota's business and community leadership in putting together this winning bid," Wilf said. "It was evident to me and my brother Zygi that the other NFL owners were extremely impressed with everything Minnesota had to offer, and we have no doubt they will be even more excited with what the community will deliver in February 2018."
The stadium, which will typically seat 65,400, will be expandable to 72,000 seats for the 2018 Super Bowl. With a clear ETFE roof and five of the largest pivoting glass doors in the world, fans will experience an outdoor feel in a climate-controlled environment, the Vikings noted in a release.
In the end, the selling points that the Minnesota bid group had going in its favor were the high-tech nature of the new Vikings stadium, transit systems that lead to the stadium's front door and a skyway system that will connect the stadium to more than 5,000 downtown hotel rooms.
While Minnesota was praised for its efforts in 1992 – when the state played host to Super Bowl XXVI – the landscape of the Super Bowl has changed since then and Minnesota stepped up with an offer that the owners couldn't refuse.
"The game and event has changed dramatically since 1992," Bagley said. "It used to be a weekend or a three-day event. Now it's a weeklong celebration and we're gearing up for that. We've had a significant investment from our private sector to put on this great event. We've got the great stadium, which is coming on-line in 2016 with a 60 percent clear roof and five pivoting glass doors – the largest in the world. It's going to be a great iconic stadium built to host a Super Bowl."
"Attending fans and the world will see the best of Minnesota – from the sunlit view of downtown Minneapolis through the stadium windows to the many activities happening throughout the region," said Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen. "The new stadium and adjacent two-block park that is being developed are incredible assets that will offer amazing fan experiences."
After two votes, Indianapolis was eliminated as a candidate. A third vote required a super majority to win the bid, and neither New Orleans nor Minnesota got 75 percent of the vote. But on the fourth and final vote, only a majority of the 32 votes was needed and Minnesota got that.
New Orleans, which emphasized its Tricentennial celebration coinciding with the 2018 Super Bowl, was tied with South Florida as the regions to host the most Super Bowls – 10 of them each.
"We are thrilled to bring the Super Bowl back to Minnesota," said Richard Davis, chief executive officer of U.S. Bank and bid committee co-chair. "We succeeded in making the best case to the NFL owners by pointing out the many strengths our region offers – a tremendous entertainment and hospitality industry, strong connectivity with both our light rail and skyway systems, and perhaps most important, a new, iconic stadium that will be among the best in the country."
The hard work put into the Super Bowl bid process will only be the beginning. It can be argued now even more effort is needed as the Twin Cities prepare to play host to the sport's pinnacle event. Bagley said the community will come together to make the Super Bowl a success and put Minnesota on display on the worldwide stage.
"We have a great new stadium built for the Super Bowl and we have corporate and civic leadership – we have 19 Fortune 500 companies, which is the most per capita in the country – and one of the strongest corporate communities in the NFL," Bagley said. "We have great a great hospitality sector – hotels, restaurants, theatre and tremendous cosmopolitan nightlife. We promise to put on a great show and have a great effort for the NFL owners and NFL teams."
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Minnesota wins bid to host Super Bowl LII
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