The Vikings, Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota are officially in the running to host a Super Bowl by the end of the decade.
The NFL just awarded Super Bowl L (in 2016) to San Francisco and Super Bowl LI (in 2017) to Houston at the NFL’s annual spring owners meeting last week. The league announced there that Super Bowl LII in 2018 would be awarded at next year’s spring meetings.
Count the Vikings and Minnesota in on the process. They have officially applied to be one of the bids that will be heard at next year’s meetings.
With a new $975 million stadium set to break ground around Oct. 1 next to the Metrodome, the Vikings believe Minnesota is in prime position to be one of the favorites to present their case to NFL owners. An informal group of leaders – including Melvin Tennant, CEO of Meet Minneapolis, Rob Moor, CEO of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Lester Bagley, vice president of stadium development for the Minnesota Vikings – have already started the process, submitting their application to be heard at next spring’s meeting of NFL owners.
“We’re pretty certain we’re going to get a Super Bowl, but there’s a lot of work to be done,” Bagley told VikingUpdate.com. “… We’ve put together a local organizing committee to start to do the work that’s going to have to put the bid together and raise the money to host the Super Bowl. There’s support from NFL owners for it, there’s support from the commissioner of the NFL because they know that our public put in half the deal in Minnesota. After a long, hard battle, it was a public-private partnership and we deserve a Super Bowl. It gives us a huge economic impact and we’re pretty certain we’re going to get one.”
Supporters of San Francisco’s winning Super Bowl bid for 2016, which will actually be played at the 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara, estimated the economic impact for that community between $300 million and $500 million. A more conservative estimate from PolitiFact.com, citing research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, put a Super Bowl’s economic impact at about $185 million.
The Vikings committed $477 million to their new stadium, the City of Minneapolis will pay $150 million, leaving the remaining $348 million for the State of Minnesota.
The NFL is expected to inform applicants this fall whether their bid will be heard and Bagley is confident a yet-to-be-formed Super Bowl host committee will have a presence at next year’s NFL owners meetings. The NFL usually limits presentations to two or three communities for each Super Bowl bid. There is also a three-year window, so the Vikings have actually applied for one of three Super Bowls between 2018 and 2020.
“That will start to heat up this fall, the fall of 2013. We’ll start to put that package together, the local Super Bowl host committee, as well as our bid,” Bagley said. “They actually choose the 2018 Super Bowl host next year around this time. We’ve got basically about a year to put together and take a hard run at the same time we’re doing the stadium, the same time we’re getting ready to (play at) TCF Bank Stadium for two years (during construction of the new stadium in 2014-15). We’ve got a lot on our plate, but the Super Bowl is something that our community deserves and we think we’ve got a pretty good shot at it.”
A more formal Super Bowl host committee will be formed in the coming months, but Vikings owners Mark and Lenny Wilf attended the NFL owners meetings last week in Arizona and listened to presentations from San Francisco, Houston and Miami for the 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls. Bagley has those presentations and other information required for Super Bowl hosts from the NFL.
“We’ve been in communication with the league and Frank Supovitz, who runs their Super Bowl operation, he’s been very helpful and we’re going to lean on him to be more helpful as we put our team together, meaning our host committee, as well as the bid itself,” Bagley said. “We’re going to have to lean on the NFL to help us through some of those steps.”
The Miami area, which didn’t support improvements to Sun Life Stadium using public dollars and was rejected in its bid for Super Bowls L and LI, could return next spring with another bid. Bagley also expects New Orleans, which hosted this year’s Super Bowl, Dallas and Tampa Bay to be among Minnesota’s competitors.
“We delivered a stadium, our community delivered a stadium, and that’s an important factor in awarding Super Bowls, as you know,” Bagley said. “So we think we have a decent shot for ’18, ’19 or ’20. We’re pretty certain we’ll get one.”
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton spoke to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the subject earlier this year, and Dayton is expected to lend a helping hand with organizing the host process.
“We also have to lobby at the league level. We’ve got to get our other owners who followed and supported a stadium solution in Minnesota for a long time. They know how important it is – one, that we got the stadium deal done but, two, that we get the Super Bowl in this market,” Bagley said. “We’ve hosted a Super Bowl here before. We have a great hospitality community, great restaurants, great hotels, great market. We’re going to have a beautiful stadium that’s indoor-outdoors that’s connected via skyway so all the corporate sponsors and fans can come to the Super Bowl and not even go outside if they don’t want to. But there will also be plenty of activities outside. So we’re well on our way but a ton of work to do to get there, but we feel good about it.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.