When it finally opens, U.S. Bank Stadium is going to be known as the home of the Minnesota Vikings. But before the Vikings play their first preseason game in their new digs, they are going to have their share of part-time stadium tenants.
This month, there have already been announcements of Luke Bryan and Metallica concerts coming to The Bank. On Thursday, a press conference will be conducted to officially announce that the stadium’s inaugural event will be a soccer match between two of the world’s most famous clubs.
AC Milan, the Italian powerhouse that plays in the Serie A league as well as UEFA Super Cup, will play Chelsea of the England Premier League as part of the 2016 International Challenge Cup and the inaugural event at The Bank on Aug. 3.
The International Challenge Cup will bring some of the top names in the sport of soccer to the United States and the 2016 lineup will include Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Leicester City, Barcelona, Celtic and Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and FC Internazionale.
A press conference will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday to announce the AC Milan-Chelsea game, as well as lay out the format of the International Challenge Cup, which occurs annually prior to the start of the European soccer season in the fall.
Relevent Sports, which operates the ICC, will be part of the press conference at the stadium’s Preview Center at 101 South Seventh St. Suite 500 in Minneapolis.
When the State of Minnesota and the Vikings brokered a stadium deal, one of the caveats put in the deal was an exclusive right to try to get professional soccer into the new stadium. That proposal has been met with resistance from other professional sports owners in the Twin Cities area, which banded together to get a rival stadium built to bring soccer on a smaller scale than the Wilfs were looking for.
Soccer is a sport that has a foothold in the United States, but has yet to catch on as a nationwide passion as sports like football, baseball, basketball and hockey have achieved by carving out large fan bases throughout the country.
While The Bank likely won’t have a big soccer presence – at least not yet – when it officially opens Aug. 3, it will pit two of the greatest franchises in world soccer history.
- U.S. District Court Judge Jane Triche Milazzo formally accepted the plea deal of former Viking Darren Sharper Tuesday in New Orleans. Sharper made shocking headlines when it was discovered that he was a serial rapist who drugged and incapacitated women in Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada. He will be sentenced June 16. The judge rejected a plea deal that would result in a nine-year prison sentence. The agreement calls for a sentence of 15-20 years and Judge Milazzo stated in court Tuesday that she may be leaning toward giving him the maximum sentencing guidelines allowed.
- The NFL adopted several rules changes Tuesday, but one that was tabled was the proposal to eject players for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Commissioner Roger Goodell is in favor of the plan, but it was tabled amid rumors that approximately half of the owners were against the proposal. Additional rules changes will be discussed Wednesday.
- B.J. Raji turned down a contract offer from the Green Bay Pakcers and said he is taking a hiatus from football. At the owners meetings, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he expects Raji will play again, but “at the right time.”