MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings are working out final details with the University of Minnesota to play two NFL seasons at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Vikings need a temporary home while they build a new $1 billion stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
But TCF Bank Stadium doesn’t meet NFL standards. So it’s about to see some pretty big changes.
The biggest change? A different field.
“We are going to tear it up,” said Lester Bagley, the Vikings’ vice president of public affairs. “A new field will be put in without any of the markings. So it will be a green field that we can paint our logo on Sundays and Gophers logos on Saturdays.”
The team has not yet decided whether to install heating coils under the turf, like the Green Bay Packers. They could use a heated blanket-like tarp, like the Buffalo Bills.
The Vikings need to find space for 52,000 Metrodome season ticket holders in a TCF Stadium that only fits 50,000.
One solution is to have 5,000 bleacher seats on the open west end, or make it standing room only.
“We’re going to have roughly equivalent seating to our season ticket owner base,” Bagley said. “So everybody who is a season ticket owner will have a chance to buy into our two seasons [at TCF Bank Stadium].”
The Vikings plan a major expansion of concession stands and alcohol sales at TCF, as those are a major part of game day revenue.
But among the most vexing issues is sorting out commercial sponsors.
“We’re a US Bank team,” Bagley said. “This is TCF Bank Stadium. We’re a Pepsi team, this is a Coke stadium. So we’ve had to negotiate those sponsorship agreements.”
The Vikings have already agreed to pay the U of M $3 million a year for using the stadium. The Vikes will also pay $500,000 every game day to get the field ready.
How will seat assignment work for season ticket holders?
That’s still to be determined. But the Vikings say season ticket holders will be offered roughly equivalent seating at TCF as they have at Metrodome. So if you sit on the 50 yard line, close to the field, at the Metrodome, you’ll probably end up somewhere near that spot at TCF.