Copyright 2014 Gannett Company, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
It was a little more than two years ago when a plane bearing a Minnesota Vikings logo was spotted on a Los Angeles airport runway, stoking fears about relocation as the decade-long push for a new stadium appeared poised to stall again in the Minnesota Legislature.
Tuesday, the Vikings' perseverance -- and the state's commitment -- were rewarded, with NFL owners voting to put Super Bowl LII in the new, $1billion, climate-controlled stadium that will open in July2016 on the site of the recently demolished Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
The project was approved in May2012, with $498million of the $975million in upfront costs publicly financed: $150million from Minneapolis and $348million from the state. That's why it shouldn't have been a total shock owners voted for Minnesota's bid instead of sending the Super Bowl back to New Orleans for an 11th time.
One of the Vikings' selling points throughout their NFL-backed push for public financing was the possibility of putting big events in the building -- none bigger than the Super Bowl, last played here in 1992. To convince communities to step up with public financing and keep a multibillion-dollar business booming, the NFL must put a clear incentive on the other end.
It's no accident the Minnesota bid committee was co-chaired by CEOs of some of the state's largest companies. Those same companies threw their support behind the Vikings in the stadium push, knowing the potential economic and civic impact of keeping the team here -- and eventually having this chance to put Minneapolis on center stage for a week.
If Super Bowl venue choices were based purely on who knows how to throw a party, New Orleans might be its permanent home. Instead, the NFL's premier event ends up in places such as Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, which was built almost entirely with public funding.
Now, Minnesota gets its chance. Bundle up.