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The Vikings opened the doors to their new stadium preview center Tuesday afternoon, giving media members a glimpse at features of the opulent new stadium slated to open in 2016. Tours for season-ticket holders - by appointment - will begin soon, starting with those who held the best seats at the Metrodome.
The center is on the fifth floor of a building adjacent to the where the new stadium will be - meaning that from several vantage points you can also see out windows to the ongoing destruction of the Dome standing in stark juxtaposition to the current plans. Here are a few of our takeaways from the tour:
· Seeing the destruction site is certainly the most jarring thing, and perhaps the best reminder of just how different the new stadium will be. Standing in one spot in the 7,500-square foot center, one can see the teardown of the Dome out the window to the right and a high-definition video screen showing off 360-degree panoramic views from 275 locations in the new stadium. The sightlines certainly look to be better; really, they couldn't be much worse.
· The suites are gorgeous. There are a couple of models on display, as well as two rows of eight club seats each. There are high-end finishes in the suites and a long list of amenities - including high speed Internet and multiple flat-screen TVs that have access to the NFL Sunday Ticket and Red Zone Channel.
· What will this all cost you? Well, the Vikings don't really hide that because the TV monitors in the center are interactive and upfront about pricing, allowing season-ticket holders to jump from seat to seat, price to price. It was amusing, though, that the one monitor tucked in the back of the center was set to a screen outlining the unpopular "stadium builders licenses" that many fans will have to purchase (a one-time fee) on top of the price of season tickets.
· There are two scale models of the stadium. I tweeted pictures of both out, and amusingly several folks tweeted back by quoting "Zoolander" and asking if the Vikings are building a "stadium for ants." The larger model has working video screens to simulate scoreboards.
· The new stadium is still more than 800 days away from opening - as you are reminded of with a countdown clock as you walk through a simulated player tunnel to the preview center. But the day will be here sooner than we think. For evidence of that, all you have to do is look out the window at the crumbling remains of the stadium it will replace.