MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It may not look like much now, but the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority insists the site that once housed the Metrodome will soon be a major contender for Super Bowl LII.
Jeff Anderson, the executive director of communications for the Minnesota Vikings, said the bid was officially submitted to the NFL Wednesday morning for Super Bowl LII. NFL owners will vote on the host city on May 20. The bid will remain good for three years, through 2020.
There are expected to be two other cities in the running — New Orleans and Indianapolis. Both cities have hosted several Super Bowls, most recently in 2013 and 2012, respectively.
Minnesota hasn’t hosted a Super Bowl game since 1992.
Anderson said the bid was submitted by officials on tablets containing a Super Bowl LII app that highlights all the areas of the bid that makes Minnesota and Minneapolis a strong candidate to host. Richard Davis, a co-chairman of the committee, said the corporate community raised 75 percent of the contributions for the bid in the first seven days of fundraising efforts.
Doug Baker, another bid committee co-chair, said the strengths for Minnesota include airport travel and transportation with light rail, practice facilities both at Winter Park and the University of Minnesota and having several event venues.
According to the committee, nearly 20,000 hotel rooms have already been secured for the Super Bowl LII bid.
The NFL is looking to reward cities that have put money into new stadiums to host the big game, and Minnesota is spending in excess of $1 billion on this new one.
Other cities have put tens of millions into their bids and that’s likely how much Minnesota will spend. Most will be privately raised.
Rob Moor with Meet Minneapolis estimates more than 100,000 visitors and a profit of $100 million if Minneapolis is awarded the game.
“It means so many things on so many different levels. I mean, huge economic impact of course,” Moor said. “It shows off our city in winter.”
The fact that the stadium will be an in-door facility is a big plus, since game will be played in the dead of winter.
US Bank CEO Richard Davis says Minneapolis will take the same approach as cities fighting to host the Winter Olympics do: boast about all that is winter and how it will be a draw to those attending the game.
“I think the first question on the minds of the owners will be ‘Tell me how that weather’s going to work,'” Davis said. “We are a winter city and we are great at it, and so not only will you be amazed to see what we can do in winter, but you’ll be amazed by how well we handle the winter.”
Integrating events from the Winter Carnival, the Loopet and curling make having the game in Minnesota a plus. And a newly-expanded Mall of America and light rail transit to the stadium are also elements that many hope will give Minneapolis the green light for the 2018 game.
Another positive factor is that the stadium is downtown, which makes it easier for the visitors expected to get around.
Indianapolis is saying nothing about its bid, and word is New Orleans will flaunt elements of its 2018 tercentennial celebration to boost its chances.