MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota United says it is expecting half of its soccer fans in a new St. Paul stadium to get to games using mass transit.
It’s part of a Twin Cities trend: sports fans attending games using public transit — especially light rail. And Minnesota United’s fervent fans say they’re on board.READ MORE: Air Search Launched In Scandia For Missing 12-Year-Old
“We’ll start in Minneapolis,” said United fan Nicholas Bisbee, who live there. “March through the streets. Huge numbers. Thousands of us.”
Light rail has become an important player for Minnesota sports teams.
Every new stadium on or near a light rail line, including the Minnesota Twins, the Minnesota Vikings, the Minnesota Gopher football team, and the St. Paul Saints.
Metro Transit estimates 14 percent of Twins fans and 13 percent of Gophers fans use light rail. Meanwhile, 27 percent of Vikings fans use light rail; a number the team expects to top 35 percent with a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
The rise in popularity of soccer coincides with the buildup of Twin Cities mass transit.
“It’s been sort of percolating out there for a long time,” Nick Rogers, the President of Minnesota United, said.READ MORE: Soon After Minneapolis Police Reopen Uptown Intersection, Protesters Return Barricades
Minnesota United is building a new 20,000 seat stadium between Minneapolis and St. Paul downtown, near mass transit lines.
The team is expecting 50 percent of its fan base to use rapid bus transit and light rail to get there.
“There’s about 425,000 people in the metro who will be able to get to our stadium within 30 minutes just using public transportation,” Rogers said. “Which, for a Midwestern city, is an absolutely enormous number.”
Minnesota United’s stadium is wedged between Interstate 94 and a University Avenue light rail stop. There will be on-site parking, but there’s no word yet on how many sports.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is urging fans to find alternate ways to get there, including bikes, bus, and light rail.
“There will be people coming here via car, and we will have parking for them,” Coleman said. “But we are going to encourage alternative use measures as much as possible.”MORE NEWS: St. Croix River Water Levels Threaten To Reach Historic Lows If Drought Conditions Continue
Minnesota United’s new St. Paul soccer stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2018 season.