Metrodome New Stadium Comparison Essay

Editor's Note: This is the 24th report card in Page 2's summerlong series rating all 30 ballparks in Major League Baseball.

MINNEAPOLIS -- I remember a banner that used to hang here in right field that read: "WE LIKE IT HERE."

REPORT CARD
The Metrodome
Capacity: 48,678
Opened: April 6, 1982
Surface: Astroturf

Our Ratings:
Seat comfort: 2
Hot dogs: 3
Concessions: 3.75
Signature food: 4
Beer: 4
Bathrooms: 3
Scoreboard: 2
P.A. system: 2
Fun stuff: 1.5
Souvenirs: 3
Tickets: 4.5
Exterior: 2.5
Interior: 2.5
Access: 3
Ushers: 4
Trading up: 4.5
Fan knowledge: 5
7th inning stretch: 2
Local scene: 2
Wild card: 8


Total: 66.25

I loved that sign. It was so appropriate, so defensive, so Minnesotan. Yeah, you people from New York, California and Florida might think our weather is cold and miserable and that our stadium sucks, but we don't care -- WE like it and that's all that matters. And is it loud enough in here for you, then?

That sign isn't there anymore, which isn't surprising. No one likes the Metrodome anymore, especially the Twins. The Dome was built in an era when communities foolishly thought it was a better use of public funds to build an affordable, efficient multi-purpose stadium for several sports and save the rest of the money for something frivolous like, oh, education or low-income housing.

Naturally, we're much more enlightened now.

Don't get me wrong. Compared to the new stadiums, the Metrodome is a lousy place to watch a baseball game, and it's going to score very low in our rankings. But I also feel the Dome gets a bad rap. Some of the happiest moments of my life happened there.

It might not have a retractable roof or a micro-brewery or expensive brickwork or a spectacular view or even comfortable seats, but no stadium has ever delivered more bang for the buck. The Dome has hosted two World Series, a Super Bowl, a Final Four, the Rolling Stones and monster truck shows. It fits the Midwestern work ethic -- it just quietly does its job. Heck, they play baseball and football games in here on the same day!

Besides, I don't remember anyone complaining about the Dome during the 1991 World Series.

Or if they did, no one could hear them above the roar of the crowd.

1. Access: I would love to write a series of stories on all the streets and thoroughfares named after athletes -- Lombardi Avenue, the Ted Williams Tunnel, the Roberto Clemente Bridge and hundreds of others. Of course, it's often best to wait until an athlete is no longer capable of scandal before thus honoring him or her.

Case in point: 34 Kirby Puckett Place, site of the Metrodome. It sure sounded like a good idea at the time -- the Twins named it for Puck shortly after glaucoma ended his career -- but after last year's trial, it doesn't have quite the same cachet anymore (though it's still a less notorious address than, say, No. 8 Kobe Bryant Lane would be).

Anyway, two major interstates exit conveniently close to the Dome, though the parking lots are too sparse for the effective tailgating that was a tradition at the Old Met (and remains a tradition in St. Paul for the minor-league Saints).

Jim Caple has a soft spot in his heart for the Metrodome.
2. Exterior architecture: Well, it's a dome. There is nothing particularly ugly about the Metrodome, but there is nothing particularly attractive either. Mostly, it looks like a very large garden center.

3. Interior Architecture: What can you say about a place whose signature piece of architecture is a gigantic Hefty bag?

I do give the Twins credit for trying to dress up the interior with championship pennants, retired uniforms and banners of the best players in team history. It's just that their makeovers rarely work better than anything Doug designs on "Trading Spaces." (Getting Doug instead of Vern Yipp is the home improvement equivalent of signing Chan Ho Park instead of Roger Clemens). This year, the Twins added a gigantic milk carton in the right-field corner. I like it, but I wish they had put it in fair territory.

Hunter connects and drives the ball deep to right ... it's going, going and -- Torii's GOT MILK!

The weird thing about the dome is the teflon roof is so thin that you can tell when the sun goes behind a cloud during a day game. You can also hear the rain pelting on the roof during a thunderstorm. Take that, Fenway!

4. Ticket price/availability/location: You have to sit inside on uncomfortable seats and hand your hard-earned money to Carl Pohlad (the team's miserable old banker/owner who got his start delivering foreclosure notices during the Depression), but you can't beat the price. For awhile, the Twins offered $81 season tickets that came with a bat personally autographed by Kirby Puckett. That deal isn't available anymore, but a Twins game remains a great bargain. I paid $6 for a bleacher ticket, and kids can get in for $2 on Sundays, just one of the discount plans that are offered every day.

5. Seat comfort: The Dome has held about every type of sporting event possible -- including baseball and football games on the same day -- but it unquestionably was built for football. So, it goes without saying that the seats down the foul lines don't face home plate. But the seats behind home plate don't face home plate, either.

Chiropractors must love this place.

6. Trading-up factor: Not surprisingly, it's very easy to move up. You just have to wait until the ushers are distracted, which is usually about the sixth inning when they begin helping the other fans into neck braces.

METRODOME BUDGET
Here's what Page 2's Jim Caple spent during his day at The Metrodome:

Ticket: $6

Beer: $5

Corn: $2

Hot dog: $3

Fajita: $5

Total: $21

7. Quality/selection of concession-stand fare: Like the Twins themselves, this is an area that has improved considerably in recent years. There used to be only the standard burgers, dogs and pizza, but now you can get everything from barbecue at Famous Dave's (a local restaurant) to fajitas. Just be sure to buy the barbecue at the Famous Dave's shack that's set up outside the stadium before games. The stand inside charges an extra dollar per sandwich, and ordering can be like being trapped in a scene from "Five Easy Pieces."

ME: I'd like a pulled pork sandwich.

VENDOR: Sorry, we're out of buns. But you can have a hot dog.

ME: I don't want a hot dog. But how about if you put the pork in the hot dog bun?

VENDOR: Can't do it.

ME: Why not?

VENDOR: Because.

ME: It would be easy. Just put the pork in the hot dog bun instead of the sandwich bun.

VENDOR: I'm sorry, we can't.

ME: Well, why don't you ask your manager?

VENDOR: [GRUDGINGLY] All right.

[A MINUTE OR TWO PASSES]

VENDOR: Sorry, we can't do that. But you can have the hot dog.

ME: I don't want a hot dog, just the bun.

VENDOR: We have hot dogs.

ME: And I'm sure they're delicious, but a hot dog isn't the same thing as a pork sandwich. I don't want a hot dog. So I'll make it easy for you. Bring me the hot dog and hold the wiener.

VENDOR: You want me to hold the wiener?

At this point, I held back what I really wanted to say.

8. Quality of hot dogs: Evidently, they have them.

9. Signature concession item: If you can order before they run out of buns, anything from Famous Dave's is great. And fans are partial to the walk-away ice cream sundaes in the requisite miniature helmets. But I'll go with the fresh roasted sweet corn available at a table outside by the Famous Dave's sign. They sell it all season long, but it's best in August when the corn is from Minnesota, which is the equivalent of getting salmon from the Copper River, chocolate from Belgium and hot dogs from Coney Island. It's the best corn in the world no matter what those jealous little people in Iowa and Nebraska will try to tell you.

Jim Caple also has a soft spot in his heart for T.C. Bear.
10. Beer: You have to hunt for it, but the Beers of the World stand behind the center-field bleachers sells Newcastle Brown Ale for $5 a bottle and 16-oz cups of Heinekin for $6.

Of course, you haven't really been to the Dome until you've bought a beer from Wally the Beerman, the vendor who is so popular he has his own baseball card and has done celebrity endorsements for a local liquor store.

Take that, Wrigley!

11. Bathrooms: My first day covering the Twins too many years ago, I was eating dinner in the press room just before the game and worrying whether I was up to the considerable challenge of my new assignment. The former owner, Calvin Griffith, was sitting at the table next to me, eating his meal and watching the TV. At about 6:55, his dining partner turned to him and said, "Well, Calvin, I guess we better get going if we're going to see the first pitch." And Calvin didn't move a muscle. "No, I'm going to stay here. 'Hogan's Island' comes on in five minutes."

That had nothing to do with anything, but it's one of my favorite stories about Calvin. And besides, I'm getting tired of writing about bathrooms, which are fine here except the place needs more facilities for women.

12. Scoreboard: The video screen is fine, but this is the worst out-of-town scoreboard in the majors. They show only two or three scores at a time; and no matter when you look, the score you want is never there. It's like waiting for your stock symbol to show up on MSNBC.

13. Quality of public address system: P.A. announcer Bob Casey doesn't get the publicity that Bob Sheppard does, but he's a Minnesota legend. He has been introducing players here -- and mispronouncing their names -- since Willie Mays played for the old Minneapolis Millers. And his signature "Noooooo smoooking in the Metrodome" produces the same tingle in Twins fans that "Now batting, No. 2, Derek Jeter, shortstop. No. 2, Jeter" does in Yankees fans.

Casey can be a curmudgeon. This is the best anecdote about him. Back when the Twins were playing at old Metropolitan Stadium, the team got a bomb threat before the game. "Bob," a team official told Casey, "there's a bomb threat, and we need to clear the stadium. So could you make some sort of announcement for people to calmly leave the stadium." Casey assured them that it would be no problem. Moments later, he grabbed the microphone and shouted, "Ladies and gentlemen, please don't panic but there's going to be an EXPLOSION in 15 minutes!"

I'm giving the Dome two extra points for Casey, but subtracting three points for having the worst sound system in baseball. Forget how the Rolling Stones sounded in the Dome -- even the sound quality for a monster truck pull is bad in here.

Jim was able to squeeze the dual bobblehead dolls into his suitcase.

14. Fun stuff to do besides the game: Other than counting the names Casey mispronounces, there isn't much, unless your idea of a fun time is signing up for those cheesy team credit cards or signing petitions for a new stadium. The youth groups usually start folding their giveaway posters into paper airplanes by the fourth inning.

15. Price/selection of baseball souvenirs: Unable to find a Sausage Race T-shirt in my size in Milwaukee, I figured I would go the entire tour without buying a souvenir. Which doesn't surprise me because I never buy souvenirs at the ballpark. Anyone who does is either a fool or rich or both. They're just way too expensive to ever seriously consider.

And then I saw the dual bobblehead dolls depicting the old Twins logo of the guys from Minneapolis and St. Paul shaking hands across the Mississippi. And it was only $32! The only question was whether I could fit two of them into my suitcase or whether I would have to throw out my pants to make room.

The rest of the stuff, however, was just the usual overpriced junk.

16. Friendliness and helpfulness of usher staff: It's like an entire staff of Marge Gunderson's.

17. Knowledge of local fans: It has always amazed me that a state that is covered by snow so much of the year can have such a vibrant baseball scene. Whether you're talking about the Twins, the minor-league Saints or Minnesota Townball, these people know their baseball.

18. "Take Me out to the Ballgame" moment: The Twins have this tradition where they hand a random fan a microphone and stand him up in front of the crowd so he can lead the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Some people find it endearing, but they're also the same sort of people who love listening to little girls sing the national anthem. I find it unbearable, though I'll give the Twins an extra point for having their own tradition.

19. Pre-and-postgame bar-and-restaurant scene: Whenever stadium boosters talk about how a new park will spur economic development in the area, I always shake my head. The Metrodome has been open for 21 years, and there still is only one bar or restaurant within a block or two. Hubert's is an excellent sports bar, but it's the ONLY one.

On the other hand, Minnesota did just recently change its last-call drinking hours from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Take that, New York!

20. Wild Card: The Metrodome gets an extra point for hosting the World Series, an extra point for hosting a Super Bowl, an extra point for hosting a Final Four, an extra point for hosting an NBA season, an extra point for hosting a college football team, an extra point for providing a stage for Mick Jagger and Billy Graham, an extra point for the kitschy "We're Gonna Win Twins" jingle the team plays before each game and a point for remaining as a monument to the idea that what happens on the field is more important than what type of paneling is in the luxury suites.


The Ship

View from the west in July 2016

Address401 Chicago Avenue
LocationMinneapolis, Minnesota
Coordinates44°58′26″N93°15′29″W / 44.974°N 93.258°W / 44.974; -93.258Coordinates: 44°58′26″N93°15′29″W / 44.974°N 93.258°W / 44.974; -93.258
Public transitU.S. Bank Stadium station
OwnerMinnesota Sports Facilities Authority
OperatorSMG
Executive suites131
Capacity66,655 (expandable to 73,000)[1][2]
Field sizeLeft Field: 328 ft (100 m)
Left-Center: 375 ft (114 m)
Center Field: 400 ft (120 m)
Right-Center: 350 ft (110 m)
Right Field: 300 ft (91 m)
Wall: 8 ft (2.4 m) (left field)
Wall: 34 ft (10 m) (right field)
SurfaceUBU Speed Series S5, an Act Global brand [3]
Construction
Broke groundDecember 3, 2013[4]
OpenedJuly 22, 2016
Construction cost$1.129 billion[5]
ArchitectHKS, Inc.
Vikings Stadium Consortium (Studio Hive, Studio Five & Lawal Scott Erickson Architects Inc.)[6]
Project managerHammes Company[7]
Structural engineerThornton Tomasetti[8]
Services engineerM-E Engineers, Inc.[9]
General contractorMortenson Construction[10]
Tenants
Minnesota Vikings (NFL) (2016–present)
Minnesota Golden Gophers (NCAA) (part-time) (2017–present)
Website
http://www.usbankstadium.com/

U.S. Bank Stadium is an enclosed stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Built on the former site of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the indoor stadium opened in 2016 and is the home of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL); it also hosts early season college baseball games of the University of MinnesotaGolden Gophers (NCAA).

The Vikings played at the Metrodome from 1982 until its closure in 2013; during construction, the Vikings played two seasons (2014, 2015) at the open-air TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota.[11] The team's first home was Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington(1961–1981), now the site of the Mall of America.

On June 17, 2016, U.S. Bank Stadium was deemed substantially complete by contractor Mortenson Construction, six weeks before the ribbon-cutting ceremony and official grand opening on July 22. Authority to use and occupy the stadium was handed over to the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. The Vikings played their first pre-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium on August 28; the home opener of the regular season was in week two against the Green Bay Packers on September 18, a 17–14 victory.[12]

It is the first fixed-roof stadium built in the NFL since Ford Field in Detroit, which opened in 2002. As of March 2015, the overall budget was estimated to be $1.061 billion, with $348 million from the state of Minnesota, $150 million from the city of Minneapolis, and $551 million from the team and private contributions.[5]

U.S. Bank Stadium hosted Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018,[13] and is expected to host the ESPNX Games on July 19–22, 2018, the 2019 NCAA Final Four, and the 2020 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

Design[edit]

While the Vikings' owners wanted an outdoor stadium, the state and local governments would only provide funding for an indoor stadium capable of hosting major events like the Super Bowl and the Final Four. A retractable roof, the trend in 2010s football stadiums, would have been too expensive.[14]

Architecture firm HKS, Inc., also responsible for the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium and the Indianapolis Colts' Lucas Oil Stadium, decided to go for a lightweight translucent roof and glazed entrances with giant pivoting doors, aiming to get as much natural light from the outside as possible. The roof is made up of 60% Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a fluorine-based clear plastic, and is the largest in North America, spanning 240,000 square feet (22,000 m2) supplied and installed by the firm Vector Foiltec. ETFE's low R-factor and the roof's slanted design, inspired by Nordic vernacular architecture, allows the stadium to endure heavy snow loads. Snow accumulates in areas that are more safely and easily accessible, and also moves down the slanted roof into a heated gutter, the water from which drains to the nearby Mississippi River.

The translucent roof and large wall panels also give fans a view of downtown Minneapolis.[15] The glass operable wall panels will allow the stadium to experience some of the outdoor elements while providing protection from the snow, rain, and the cold winter weather.[16] The stadium is aligned northwest and the elevation at street level is approximately 840 feet (255 m) above sea level.

Bird fatalities[edit]

Years before construction began on the stadium, local and national conservation groups - including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Audubon Society - requested a "bird-friendly" design of the stadium's exterior using slightly less transparent bird-safe glass.[17] Designers ignored the advice and instead used highly reflective glass for aesthetic reasons. The reflective glass, combined with the stadium lying along the Mississippi Flyway migration route, has resulted in a large number of bird deaths, double any other building in Minneapolis.[17] A "bird fatality study" being financed by the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is expected to be completed in 2019. If changes are made, it will now cost about $10 million to replace the existing glass with bird-safe glass rather than the $1 million it would have added to the original construction.[18]

Crystal Cathedral comparison[edit]

The design for U.S. Bank Stadium has been compared to the Crystal Cathedral in southernCalifornia, which was created by architect Philip Johnson.[19][20][21] Opened in 1980, Crystal Cathedral was previously considered America's largest glass-dominated building.[clarification needed] The stadium, which likewise sports transparent roofs, walls, and giant rotating doors, has the world's five largest pivoting doors.[22]

Capacity[edit]

The seating capacity is 66,665 for most games, slightly more than the Metrodome, and can be expanded to 73,000 for soccer, concerts, and special events, such as the Super Bowl.[23][2]

Attendance record for 2016 season[24][edit]

OpponentDateAttendance
Dallas CowboysDecember 1, 201666,860
Indianapolis ColtsDecember 18, 201666,820
Green Bay PackersSeptember 18, 201666,813
Arizona CardinalsNovember 20, 201666,808
Chicago BearsJanuary 1, 201766,808
Detroit LionsNovember 6, 201666,807
New York GiantsOctober 3, 201666,690
Houston TexansOctober 9, 201666,683

Attendance record for 2017 season[edit]

OpponentDateAttendance
Green Bay PackersOctober 15, 201766,848
Cincinnati BengalsDecember 18, 201766,833
Los Angeles RamsNovember 19, 201766,809
Chicago BearsDecember 31, 201766,802
Baltimore RavensDecember 17, 201766,751
Detroit LionsOctober 1, 201766,730
New Orleans SaintsJanuary 14, 201866,612
New Orleans SaintsSeptember 11, 201766,606
Tampa Bay BuccaneersSeptember 24, 201766,390

Metrodome lease[edit]

The Vikings' lease with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC), as signed by both parties in August 1979, kept them in the Metrodome until 2011.[25] The lease was considered one of the least lucrative among NFL teams; it included provisions where the commission owned the stadium, and the Vikings were locked into paying rent until the end of the 2011 season. For several years prior to the Metrodome's demolition, however, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission waived the team's nearly $4 million rent.[26] The Vikings paid the MSFC 9.5% of their ticket sales; the commission "reserve[d] all rights to sell or lease advertising in any part of the Stadium," the team could not use the scoreboard for any ads, and the team did not control naming rights for the building. Though the Vikings received revenue from the sale of luxury suites during the Minnesota Twins baseball season, the commission controlled the limited parking and its revenue and paid the team 10% of all concession sales while retaining roughly 35% of concessions sold during Vikings games.[27] The Vikings were 30th out of 32 NFL teams in local revenues in 2005.[27] The Vikings, as well as the stadium's other tenants, continually turned down any proposals for renovating the Metrodome itself.[27] A plan for a joint Vikings/University of Minnesota football stadium was proposed in 2002, but differences over how the stadium would be designed and run, as well as state budget constraints, led to the plan's failure.[28] The university would eventually open its own TCF Bank Stadium in 2009.

Downtown Minneapolis[edit]

From the outset, Zygi Wilf, a billionaire from New Jersey and principal owner of the Vikings since 2005,[29] had stated he was interested in redeveloping the downtown site of the Metrodome no matter where the new facility was built.[27] Taking into consideration downtown Minneapolis' growing mass transit network, cultural institutions, and growing condo and office markets, Wilf considered underdeveloped areas on Downtown's east side, centered on the Metrodome, to be a key opportunity and began discussing the matter with neighboring landholders, primarily the City of Minneapolis and the Star Tribune.[27] An unrelated 2008 study explains that the effect of the media, in this case an uncritical Star Tribune, matters a great deal in helping a stadium initiative.[30] As a result, once negotiations for a different location had been put aside, the Vikings focused on proposing a stadium that would be the centerpiece of a larger urban redevelopment project.[27]

Wilf's Vikings began acquiring significant land holdings in the Downtown East neighborhood around the Metrodome. In June 2007, the Vikings acquired four blocks of mostly empty land surrounding the Star Tribune headquarters from Avista Capital Partners (the private equity owner of the Star Tribune) for $45 million; it is also believed the Vikings have first right of refusal to later buy the paper's headquarters building.[31] In May 2007, the Vikings also acquired three other downtown parking lots for a total of $5 million, and have made a bid for a city-owned, underground parking ramp next to the neighborhood's light rail station.[31]

Proposal timeline[edit]

2007[edit]

On April 19, 2007, the MSFC and the Vikings unveiled their initial plans for the stadium and surrounding urban area, with an estimated opening of 2012.[32] The plan included substantial improvements to the surrounding area, including an improved light rail stop, 4,500 residential units, hotels with a combined 270 rooms, 1,700,000 square feet (160,000 m2) of office space and substantial retail space.[32]

As of 2007, the stadium would have held approximately 73,600 people and was to have been complete by August 2011. The initial proposal did not have the final architectural design renderings, but did include key features that were to have been included in any final plan, including the plans for neighboring urban development. These included demands for a retractable roof, an open view of the surroundings (particularly the downtown skyline), a glass-enclosed Winter Garden alongside the already-existing adjacent Metrodome light-rail stop, leafy urban square with outdoor cafés and dense housing around its edges, aesthetic improvements to roads connecting the stadium to nearby cultural institutions, and adaptive reuse of neighboring historic buildings.[33] The roof would have allowed Minneapolis to remain a potential venue for the Super Bowl and Final Four, both of which had been held at the Metrodome. The proposed urban plan itself was received with cautious welcome.[34]

The 2007 proposed cost estimate for the downtown Minneapolis stadium was $953,916,000.[35] The total broke down to $616,564,000 for the stadium, $200,729,000 for a retractable roof, $58,130,000 for parking, $8,892,000 for adjacent land right-of-way, and $69,601,000 to take into account inflation by 2010.[35] The estimate compared to then-upcoming stadiums in Indianapolis at $675 million (retractable roof, completed 2008), Dallas at $932 million (retractable roof, completed 2009), and New York at $1.7 billion (open-air, completed in 2010).[35] In addition, according to Wilf, taking into account the costs for the surrounding urban developments put forth in the proposal would have brought the estimated total to $2 billion.[31] The estimated costs were based on projected 2008 construction and material costs, so it would have been possible that the stadium costs could have hovered near $1 billion if the Minnesota State Legislature had not approved the project in the 2008 session.[36]

No proposals were made, at that time, for paying for the stadium.[32] The MSFC and Vikings made initial pitches to the Minnesota State Legislature during the end of the 2007 session, but expected to make serious efforts during the 2008 legislative session.[37] The Vikings proposed creating a Minnesota Football Stadium Task Force, which they expect would take 24 months to plan the stadium.[37]

2008[edit]

Following the September 2008 MSFC vote to start feasibility studies for re-using the Metrodome, an unrelated study released for 38 U.S. cities[38] found that "when a [NFL] team wins, people's moods improve,"[39] and that personal income for residents of a city with an NFL team with 10 wins increases about $165 per year.[39] While true for NFL football, for comparison, professional baseball and basketball gain no personal income for residents.[39]

2009[edit]

Feasibility studies for Dallas-based design and local construction of a new stadium were expected in early 2009.[40] Roy Terwilliger, a former Republican state senator from Edina, Ray Waldron, an AFL-CIO leader, and the Dome engineering expert and CEO, Bill Lester and Steve Maki of the MSFC selected architectural firm HKS of Dallas and construction manager Mortenson of Minnesota over the objections of Paul Thatcher and Timothy Rose of Minneapolis-St. Paul, who preferred Ellerbe Beckett and Kraus-Anderson, both of Minnesota. Loanne Thrane of St. Paul, the sole female member of the commission, voiced opposition and later voted with the majority.[41]

In December 2009, commission chairman Terwilliger said, "We know what the art of the possible is at this particular location." A new proposal for 65,000 seats with a sliding roof was unveiled at $84 million less than the previous proposal, but with $50 million per year more scheduled for each year that construction is delayed.[42] Vikings officials boycotted the presentation which estimated the total cost at $870 million, or $770 million if the sliding roof were omitted.[42]

2010[edit]

The 2010 Vikings stadium proposal was dealt a setback on May 5, 2010, when a Minnesota House panel defeated the proposal by a 10–9 vote.

The stadium debate was revived in the aftermath of the Metrodome's roof deflation on December 12, 2010, which forced the relocation of the Vikings' final two home games of the 2010 season and led to more calls for a new stadium from various sources in the local and national media.[43][44] Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton discussed the matter with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but said "any new stadium must first benefit the people of Minnesota".[45]

2011[edit]

City of Minneapolis Proposal[edit]

After Hennepin County stopped their pursuit of a Vikings stadium,[46] the city of Minneapolis submitted a plan for a Vikings' stadium at the downtown Metrodome site. The Minneapolis plan was for a fixed-roof stadium costing an estimated $895 million. The proposal also included funding solutions for $95 million in renovations to the Target Center. The team reacted with skepticism to the proposal and did not want to play at nearby 50,000-seat capacity University of MinnesotaTCF Bank Stadium during the three years of construction.[47] Because the Minneapolis dome site was a less expensive option, football fans were expected to return to the Minneapolis plan if the shortfall in the Ramsey County plan were not realized.[48]

Ramsey County Proposal[edit]

In May 2011, Ramsey County officials announced they had reached an agreement with the Minnesota Vikings to be the team’s local partner for a new stadium, subject to approval by the Minnesota Legislature and to approval of a sales tax by the Ramsey County Board.[49] The site of the stadium would be the former Twin Cities Army Ammunitions Plant in Arden Hills, which is about 10 miles from the Metrodome in Minneapolis and is a Superfund clean up site. The agreement called for an $884 million stadium and an additional $173 million for on-site infrastructure, parking and environmental costs.[50]

Ramsey County said the Vikings would commit $407 million to the project, which would have been about 44% of the stadium cost and 39% of the overall cost. The county's cost would have been $350 million, to be financed by a half-cent sales tax increase.[50] The state of Minnesota's cost would have been $300 million.[49] This totalled about $1.057 billion, leaving at least a $131 million shortfall.[48]

2012[edit]

On March 1, 2012, Governor Dayton announced an agreement for a new stadium to be built on the site of the Metrodome, pending approval by the state legislature and the Minneapolis city council.[51] The $975 million project, half of which would be publicly funded, would be patterned after Lucas Oil Stadium. It would utilize part of the footprint of the Metrodome and would only require the Vikings to play at TCF Bank Stadium during the final year of construction.[52] The agreement met with mixed reaction, and some criticized the proposal as being unfair to taxpayers and a giveaway to team owners.[53]

On May 10, 2012, the Minnesota Legislature approved funding for a new Vikings stadium on that site. The project is projected to have a $975 million price tag, with the Vikings covering $477 million, the state covering $348 million, and $150 million covered by a hospitality tax in Minneapolis. The city of Minneapolis must pay a total of $678 million over the 30-year life of the deal, including interest, operations, and construction costs.[54] The bill was signed by Gov. Dayton[55] and received the approval of the Minneapolis City Council on May 25, 2012.[56][57] The Vikings played in the Metrodome through the 2013 season, as construction did not require the dome's immediate demolition. Under the leadership of Vikings COO Kevin Warren, the team moved to TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus until the new stadium is complete.[58]

2013[edit]

On May 13, 2013, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), the Minnesota Vikings, and HKS Sports & Entertainment Group together unveiled the new stadium's design.

2014[edit]

In January 2014, a lawsuit was started by former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Doug Mann and two others to block the construction of the new stadium. The suit questioned the constitutionality of the stadium's funding plan and delayed a $468 million bond sale. Officials warned the delay could stall the project's timeline and add costs.[59] The lawsuit was later dismissed by the Minnesota Supreme Court.[60]

Charitable gambling funding shortfall[edit]

The State of Minnesota's portion of the cost of the stadium was to be funded by revenue from a proposed new charitable gambling source, which was dubbed electronic pulltabs. When the stadium funding bill was passed in the legislature and signed by the governor on May 14, 2012, the new revenue from the games was estimated to be $34 million for 2013, and rising each year thereafter.

November 2012 revenue forecast[edit]

Six months later, the first budget estimate from the Minnesota Office of Management and Budget was released, revising the projected revenue from the electronic pulltab games. This first revision cut the estimated revenue from the game for 2013 by 51%, to $16 million (versus the legislation's estimate of $34 million).

From page 15 of the Minnesota Management and Budget Complete Forecast, November 2012: "For FY 2013, the projected reserve balance has been reduced from $34 to $16 million. Projected new gambling revenues from stadium legislation are expected to be $18 million (51%) below end of session estimates." "The forecast reduction reflects a slower than expected implementation of electronic gaming options and reduced estimates for daily revenue per gaming device."[61]

February 2013 revenue forecast[edit]

In March 2013, the Minnesota Office of Management and Budget released another updated budget forecast for fiscal years 2013 to 2017. Included in this forecast was another revision in the projected revenue from charitable gambling sources, from the previous estimate of $16 million, down to $1.7 million, a further 90% reduction in the estimate for 2013 revenue. This total was a 95% reduction from what was estimated in the stadium bill passed in May 2012.

From page 12 of the Minnesota Management and Budget Complete Forecast, February 2013: "The forecast for lawful gambling revenue has been reduced $15 million in FY 2013 and $46 million in FY 2014–15. Slower than expected implementation of electronic gambling options and a reduction in estimates for daily revenue per gambling location were the reasons for the revenue reduction".[62]

Political fallout from projected shortfall[edit]

As a result of the projected shortfall, members of the Minnesota Legislature and the Governor's office began discussing ideas to fix the shortfall.[63] The legislature decided to impose an inventory tax on cigarettes to make up for any shortfall over the next year of construction and closing of a corporate income-tax loophole for the following years.[64]

Uptick in revenue[edit]

The state reported in July 2016 that pulltab revenue is "soaring" and that there is optimism in Minneapolis about its continuing to rise.[65]

Construction[edit]

  • April 7, 2014, soon after the demolition of the Metrodome, pit dig, and start of construction

  • April 11, 2014: Construction worker controlling traffic and site access

  • May 11, 2014: Aerial view of the construction pit

  • August 26, 2014: Aerial view from Riverside Plaza

  • September 2, 2014: pillars rise throughout the building's foundation

  • September 2, 2014: East side of the stadium

  • September 11, 2014: Roof supports rise under patchy skies

  • February 2, 2015: north facade of U.S. Bank Stadium under construction in Minneapolis, Minnesota

In August 2012, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA)—the stadium's newly created owner—received bids and plans from five architectural and engineering firms, all nationally recognized stadium designers, including Populous, AECOM, EwingCole, and HNTB.[66][67] On September 28, 2012, the MSFA selected the Dallas firm of HKS, Inc., which had designed both AT&T Stadium and Lucas Oil Stadium within the previous decade, to serve as the project's architect.[68] HKS also designed Globe Life Park in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers; the Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and renovations to the Chicago White Sox’s Guaranteed Rate Field. Initial design plans were not immediately released to the public, but Viking officials said they hoped the budget would allow the new stadium to include a retractable roof, walls, or windows. The design team also planned to incorporate interactive technology into some elements to create a more engaging fan experience.[69]

Construction of the facility was originally slated to begin in October 2013, but was delayed until December 3, 2013, as an ongoing investigation of the Wilfs' finances continued to take place after a 21-year lawsuit against them came to a conclusion in late August. On August 27, 2015, one worker died and another was injured after falling during construction on the U.S. Bank Stadium roof.[70] Jeramie M. Gruber, 35, of Northfield and the other injured worker were employed by St. Paul-based Berwald Roofing Co. which had been cited 6 times since 2010 for OSHA violations regarding improper fall protection for workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the incident.[71] As a result of the investigation, contractor Mortenson Construction and subcontractor Berwald Roofing faced fines of $173,400 for "serious" and "willful" safety violations. The reports do not provide an explanation of the accidents, but the largest fine, $70,000, and most serious alleged violation faults Berwald for willfully failing to have workers use proper fall protection while working at heights above 6 feet.[72]

On June 15, 2015, the Vikings announced that U.S. Bank had acquired the naming rights to the stadium.[73] The naming deal is worth $220 million over 25 years.[74]

Major events[edit]

On May 20, 2014, the NFL awarded Minneapolis Super Bowl LII, beating out bids by Indianapolis and New Orleans for the game.[13] On November 14, 2014, the NCAA announced the stadium will host the men's basketball Final Four in 2019.[75] In May 2015, Governor Mark Dayton announced a bid to host the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2020. However, on November 4, 2015, it was announced that the game was awarded to New Orleans. This was the first losing bid for a major sporting event offered to be held at the stadium.[76][77] On July 20, 2016, it was announced that U.S. Bank Stadium and Minneapolis would host the 2017 and 2018 summer X Games.[78]

The first NFL game at the stadium was the Week 3 preseason game against the San Diego Chargers on August 28, 2016. Although the Vikings scored first with a field goal, the Chargers scored the first touchdown in the new stadium. The Vikings ultimately won, 23–10.

The first NFL regular season win at the stadium was on September 18, 2016 by the Vikings against the Green Bay Packers by a score of 17-14.

The AMA Motocross Championship hosts a round at U.S. Bank Stadium since 2017. The Metrodome had last hosted an AMA Supercross round in 2013.

U.S. Bank Stadium hosted its first playoff game, an NFC divisional game, on January 14, 2018, as the Vikings hosted the New Orleans Saints. The Vikings won the game 29-24 on a last second 61-yard catch by wide receiver Stefon Diggs, in a play that became known as the Minneapolis Miracle. The Vikings then advanced to the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, where the Vikings lost 38-7, costing the Vikings the chance to become the first NFL team to play a Super Bowl in its own home stadium.

Super Bowl LII was played at the stadium on February 4, 2018 between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots with the Eagles winning 41-33 for their first Super Bowl win.

Soccer[edit]

The Vikings said the design includes a soccer field measuring 115 by 74 yards to accommodate a potential Major League Soccer expansion team.[79] In 2012, the Vikings received a five-year window to host a Major League Soccer team in the state's legislation to finance the stadium, and the Vikings ownership launched a bid to own an expansion franchise.[80] In December 2014, Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley presented rendering of the stadium configured for a potential Major League Soccer team, with tarps and curtains covering the upper deck to bring the capacity down to 20,000. He said the stadium was "being built specifically with soccer in mind" and drew a contrast with Gillette Stadium, New England Revolution's home field, which he called "a football stadium".[81]

On March 16, 2015, the Vikings announced they ended their expansion bid after MLS informed them that they preferred the bid by Minnesota United with its own plan for a smaller, outdoor stadium in Saint Paul.[82]

The first soccer match at U.S. Bank Stadium was between AC Milan and Chelsea FC on August 3, 2016, as part of the 2016 International Champions Cup.[83]

Baseball[edit]

As with the Metrodome, the new stadium will have the capability to host baseball games in the winter months. The University of Minnesota will play selected games, primarily during February and March, including hosting the Dairy Queen Classic, a non-conference series of games featuring top NCAA teams in Minnesota that was suspended during stadium construction.[84]

The stadium's first baseball game was between Century College and Iowa Central on February 24, 2017. The University of Minnesota were scheduled to play the first baseball game at the new stadium, but converting it from Supercross to baseball took stadium officials longer than projected. Minnesota ended up playing Seattle University later on that same day as the third game at the stadium, first indoor home game for the university since the Metrodome.[85]

Concerts[edit]

As part of the opening weekend festivities for the stadium, two concerts were held: country artist Luke Bryan on August 19, 2016,[86] and heavy metal band Metallica performing the following night, August 20.[87]Prince, a Minneapolis native, was in preliminary talks to perform the first concert at the new stadium in August 2016, but he died on April 21.[88]

DateArtistOpening act(s)Tour / Concert nameAttendanceRevenueNotes
August 19, 2016Luke BryanLittle Big Town
Dustin Lynch
Kill the Lights Tour47,219 / 47,219$4,565,264First concert at the stadium
August 20, 2016MetallicaVolbeat
Avenged Sevenfold
WorldWired Tour48,492 / 48,492$5,158,790Followed Luke Bryan the next day
July 30, 2017Guns N' RosesDeftonesNot in This Lifetime... Tour47,072 / 48,740$5,034,807First time that original band members Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan will play in Minnesota together since 1992.
August 12, 2017ColdplayAlunaGeorge
Izzy Bizu
A Head Full of Dreams Tour47,472 / 47,472$4,325,230
September 8, 2017U2BeckThe Joshua Tree Tour 201743,386 / 43,386$4,698,100
May 5, 2018Kenny ChesneyThomas Rhett
Old Dominion
Brandon Lay
Trip Around The Sun TourTBATBA
August 31, 2018Taylor SwiftTBATaylor Swift's Reputation Stadium TourTBATBA
September 1, 2018
October 20, 2018Ed SheeranTBA÷ TourTBATBA[89]

References[edit]

From directly east of the stadium: the southeast facade with doors and windows going in, as well as the northeast facade with part of its exterior wall up.
US Bank Stadium under construction
Transparent roof and walls
Dark facade side of stadium
Inside U.S. Bank Stadium just before Super Bowl LII

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