MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Get used to seeing the letters “L-I-I” around the Twin Cities. The biggest game in professional sports, the Super Bowl, is coming to Minnesota in 2018.
Minnesota’s bid committee erupted in cheers Tuesday when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement at the annual NFL owners’ meeting. It took four rounds of voting, but Minneapolis edged out New Orleans for Super Bowl LII.
Minneapolis was largely considered an underdog behind Indianapolis and New Orleans, because of our cold climate in the winter. But the delegation used the cold to its advantage, saying we’ll have a mile-long “Super Bowl Boulevard” featuring an ice skating rink, a snowboard half pipe and more.
Of course, the new $1 billion stadium project was a major selling point and the biggest factor in the voting. Right now, there are about 300 workers per day at the site of where the new Vikings stadium will be. When the summer weather really is here to stay, there will be as many as 1,000 people on site to hit that completion date in July 2016.
The foundation is getting into place for the new stadium and now also for the Super Bowl. Tuesday, NFL owners saw videos of why Minnesota would be a great place to host a Super Bowl. The bid committee pushed Minnesota’s winter activities and the states’ big assets, like the Mall of America and Mayo Clinic. They showed videos that included Lindsey Vonn, Bud Grant and other local celebrities promising a great experience.
“We have the infrastructure, amazing restaurants and phenomenal hotels. Everything that would be close to the game,” said Andrew Zimmern, a local TV celebrity who appeared on one of the video presentations.
Former Viking and now NFL Hall-of-Famer Cris Carter also had great things to say about Minneapolis.
“I know Minnesota will be at its always hospitable best with plenty of activities for all: A terrific stadium, and an incredible week-long party,” Carter said.
Mayor Chris Coleman said the Super Bowl is a great opportunity to showcase to the international community other big events and investments in the state’s capitol city — events like the 10-day-long Winter Carnival where the ice palace will be featured.
The last day coincides with the Super Bowl game in 2018.
He said the Green Line light rail system opening this summer, which will run from Minneapolis to St. Paul will also make it easy for some of the 100,000 expected visitors to stay in St. Paul.
Coleman said they’re already starting to get specific ideas in place for 2018.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said the city will be ready to host the Super Bowl.
“Clearly there is going to be a lot of work moving forward to make sure we as a city and we as a state are ready to host this really big, really high-profile event,” Hodges said. “But I’m also completely confident we will be able to do that without a problem.”
City leaders said Major League Baseball’s All-Star game at Target Field this summer will be a good practice run to see how Minneapolis handles a big event. The committee also wanted Minnesota’s Super Bowl to leave a legacy of volunteerism.
It’s being pushed as a philanthropic event with Mayo Clinic physicians aiming to help children with nutrition and sports medicine. Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to talk more about Minneapolis hosting the Super Bowl and the initiatives involved in a Wednesday news conference.