Minnesota wins Super Bowl 2018 bid

A rendering of downtown Minneapolis during the 2018 Super Bowl. (Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings)

Minnesota has won its bid to host a Super Bowl, just 19 months after its new $1 billion stadium is scheduled to open in Minneapolis. The National Football League owners meeting in Atlanta voted on a host for the 2018 game Tuesday afternoon. The decision came after presentations by three finalists picked in October: Minneapolis,  New Orleans and Indianapolis.

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The 32 NFL team owners gathered to make the final choice had to vote four times to reach a decision because there was no clear choice in the first round; the second vote saw Indianapolis knocked out of contention; the third round of balloting didn’t yield a 75 percent majority either. On the final ballot, it was down to Minneapolis and 10-time Super Bowl host New Orleans. When Commissioner Roger Goodell made the final announcement the Minneapolis contingent erupted in joy.

Later, Goodell said the Vikings new billion-dollar stadium — still under construction — was a key factor in the owners’ decision.

“The effort that they had to bring that stadium to completion, the plans that they have for [it] and the commitment the community has demonstrated was a positive influence on several owners that I talked to,” he said.

Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf speaks at a news conference after Minneapolis was selected as the host for 2018 Super Bowl at the NFL’s spring meetings, Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in Atlanta. (David Goldman/AP)

In their pitch, Vikings officials told the other NFL owners that Minnesota taxpayers had stepped up with nearly $500 million to help build the stadium.

“The public private partnership is unique to this city and the state, and its been a great partnership to date, and that’s something hopefully is an important point to recognize going forward,” Vikings owner Mark Wilf told the NFL Network. “We thought that was a big important thing.”

The game has been the subject of speculation in Minnesota for the last three years. Supporters of the taxpayer spending that went into replacing the Metrodome offered the game as a one of the reasons to subsidize the Vikings new home.

Gov. Mark Dayton suggested earlier this year that hosting the game could have as much as a $500 million impact on the state, although experts who have studied the Super Bowl put the number between $30 million and $120 million for a host site.

Michele Kelm-Helgen, who heads the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, says winning the bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl is proof that using $498 million in taxpayer money to help build the stadium was the right thing to do.

“That’s the reason the governor and those legislators invested public money in this facility to bring all these big events and the economic impact that comes with it,” she said.

The game has only been held in a northern U.S. city five times: in Detroit in 1986 and and 2006, in Minneapolis in 1992, in Indianapolis in 2012 and in New Jersey in February. All but one of those games has been in an indoor stadium. New Orleans has hosted the game 10 times, three in the Tulane Stadium and seven in the Superdome.

Minneapolis last hosted the Super Bowl in 1992 — in the Metrodome. In 2012, the proposal to use state and city money to replace the Metrodome was highly controversial, especially at the Minneapolis City Council. At the time, Councilmember Betsy Hodges said she was philosophically opposed to using public money to fund a stadium for a privately-owned football team. But when asked about her opposition to the stadium at a City Hall news conference yesterday, Hodges, who is now the city’s mayor, said that debate is long over.

“I made my statements at the time about what I thought, and once it became clear that this public investment was happening, I have worked my tail off to make sure that we get the most we can out of that public investment. And I’m very excited today to have the Super Bowl coming to Minneapolis.”

The city is paying $150 million toward the cost of the stadium’s construction. But Hodges says taxpayers will NOT be on the hook for Super Bowl-related costs because of fundraising by the business community.

She also promises the city will be ready for the big game, and is getting a dry run of sorts when Target Field hosts baseball’s All-Star game in July.

Minnesota’s bid was led by three business leaders: U.S. Bank CEO Richard Davis, Ecolab CEO Doug Baker and former Carlson Companies CEO Marilyn Carlson Nelson. She also helped chair the successful bid for the 1992 Super Bowl.

Here’s a comparison of the three stadiums that were vying to host the game:

Minneapolis
Stadium: Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium (naming rights pending)
Seats: 72,000
Year opens: 2016
Original cost: $1.001 billion (estimated)
Hosted Super Bowl: N/A (Minneapolis hosted the game in the Metrodome in 1992)

Indianapolis
Stadium: Lucas Oil Field
Seats: 70,000
Year opened: 2008
Original cost: $720 million
Hosted Super Bowl: 2012

New Orleans
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Seats: 72,000
Year opened: 1975 (reopened in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, upgrades completed in 2011)
Original cost:  $134 million ($221 million in post-Katrina repairs, another $115 million in upgrades since 2008)
Hosted Super Bowl: 2013, 2002, 1997, 1990, 1986, 1981, 1978

MPR News reporter Matt Sepic contributed to this story.

  • quick13

    The rendering used in this story is ridiculous. Have any of these “designers” spent a day in the skyway system in winter, particularly the IDS to Macy’s skyway? Some points for consideration:
    There is barely room to move during a regular business day with regular traffic patterns, the goal is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible regardless of whatever else is going on, especially when you may only have 30 minutes break to do so. By interrupting that traffic flow pattern with a ridiculous middle of the skyway stairway that no one will use is just for vanity.
    In addition, that skyway is not heated in the winter and averages somewhere around a balmy 55 degrees as it is, add an outdoor entrance and you might as well just ask people to avoid the area altogether or destroy what was once a great building (IDS Crystal Court). The access to both Macy’s and IDS Crystal Court street level are perfectly simple and easy without destroying the design and view and also blocking the pedestrian traffic flow of both the street and skyway. Spend some time and watch and learn before you try for another cash grab and listen to out-of-towners who have never spent more than a day downtown in their lives. I’m all for improving Nicollet Mall, they should have left it with the original design with the fountains, heated sidewalks, and done something to preserve the retail that existed.
    As someone who has worked full time downtown since the age of 15 I have seen all the changes and this IDS skyway stairway blockage ridiculousness as Superbowl feature is certainly not one of them. With this funding perhaps some of it should be spent to preserve what handful of stores remain as well or these improvements will be for naught and Superbowl visitors will be met with more emptiness than is here now, they will be left to shiver on the streets wandering with nothing to do. At least in the last time the Superbowl was here both Gaviidaes were filled with stores as was City Center, now none of that exists. That to me is what should be talked about and resolved instead of building this monstrosity featured in this story. What will visitors do with their money while Downtown, nothing, they will take the train to MOA.

  • Out-stater

    I have to say, who cares! I live out-state, I won’t be able to afford to attend the game, I won’t be downtown, I won’t see a dime of the supposed profits, and most likely I won’t even watch the game because the odds are it won’t even be a team that I even care about. But rest assured that someone in state government will figure out a way to take money out of my pocket without my permission to spend it on an event for people who have way more money than I do. Don’t you just love the mixture of professional sports and democracy.

  • Zack Daniels

    Well, I guess that one way to get a Minnesotan involved in a superbowl. They sure the hell cant make it there on their own!! lol LOSERS!!!!