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Minnesota’s Super Bowl backers say the state is ready for a 2018 ‘close-up’

MinnPost photo by Briana Biersch
Gov. Mark Dayton: "It will give us a chance to showcase Minnesota to the nation and to the world."

Insisting that Minnesota is ready for its “close-up,” business leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton announced a campaign Monday to bring the Super Bowl to the North Star State in 2018.

As New York is preparing to host Denver and Seattle for Sunday’s Super Bowl, Dayton and business leaders will start fundraising and campaigning to bring the competition to the new Vikings stadium in Minneapolis in four years.

The stadium, which is partially funded with state dollars, is set to be complete by 2016. The last time Minnesota hosted a Super Bowl was in 1992.

“It will give us a chance to showcase Minnesota to the nation and to the world,” Dayton said at a Monday morning news conference.

In October, the National Football League announced that Minnesota was one of three finalists — including Indianapolis and New Orleans — to host the event on Feb. 4, 2018.

An economic report estimated the 2012 Super Bowl brought in $324 million for the city of Indianapolis. Dayton expects that in four years, the economic benefit of the Super Bowl will be closer to $500 million.

The campaign committee will be led by three Minnesota business leaders — Ecolab CEO Doug Baker, U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis and longtime businesswoman Marilyn Carlson Nelson — who have already begun organizing and raising funds for the effort.  

“It’s our time, it’s our moment. We’re ready,” Davis said. “In Hollywood they say, ‘I’m ready for my close-up,’ or ‘Put me in coach.’ We are ready for our close-up. We are ready to put this show on the road.”

It couldn’t be ignored that the day Dayton announced the Super Bowl campaign Minnesota was experiencing dangerously cold temperatures.  

But Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said – rather ironically – that Minnesota could offer one of the most “climate-controlled” stadium experiences.

The new indoor stadium will be warm while 200 feet of glass on the roof will make visitors feel like they’re outdoors. If it’s nice out, several large doors will be opened to the downtown area, she said.

The stadium also will be connected to hotels and restaurants by the skyway system, letting visitors bypass any wintry blast.

“You won’t have to worry about cold, you wont have to worry about rain, you wont have to worry about storms,” she said. “I think we will be able to measure up just fine.”

But there’s a lot of work to be done to make Minnesota stand out.

Dayton will meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell over the weekend to make a pitch for the state.

Ecolab CEO Doug Baker
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
The Super Bowl campaign committee will be led by three Minnesota business leaders, including Ecolab CEO Doug Baker, who spoke at Monday’s press conference.

Minneapolis also must prove it’s ready to hold the 100,000 visitors anticipated to stay for at least four days surrounding the event.

The Super Bowl committee is in the early stages of figuring out how much it will need to raise to bring the competition to Minnesota, but Davis said they anticipate it will be “substantial.” Dallas raised $40 million for its recent Super Bowl while Indianapolis raised about $25 million.

Minnesota’s bid is due to the NFL by April 1, with a decision likely coming a month later. While leaders are pushing for a 2018 Super Bowl, the bid is also open to hosting the event in 2019 and 2020.

In recent years, the NFL has rewarded communities that have invested in stadiums, Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said. He pointed to San Francisco, which will host the 2016 Super Bowl just two years after building a new arena.

“The NFL has evolved in the way it awards Super Bowls,” Bagley said. “We stand a good chance.”

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Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/27/2014 - 02:22 pm.


    This is just horrific politics. At a time when the state is struggling with problems related to MnSure, the governor is leaving town on a totally unnecessary political junket. It’s an example of a politician who, unable to provide bread, hopes to placate the population by delivering circuses.

    Who is in charge of this stuff down there?

    • Submitted by Steven Bailey on 01/27/2014 - 07:40 pm.

      The rest of us don’t exist

      Great comment! I would like to read the news once and go “Wow we didn’t screw everyone again for a couple rich schmucks”.

  2. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 01/27/2014 - 05:32 pm.

    $500 million??? That is absurd. Let’s see the accounting on that.

    • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/28/2014 - 11:05 am.


      Booster types tend to pull these kinds of numbers out of thin air. Whenever I see a number like this without any context, my first question is whether that’s a lot or a little. No doubt, the Super Bowl means a good weekend in a slow season for the local bars, but then so would bringing in a Shriners’ convention.These things are attractive to politicians because they are bright shiny objects which generate plenty of publicity, not because of any particular way the numbers look.

      • Submitted by chuck holtman on 01/28/2014 - 12:40 pm.

        And in any event,

        If you read the contract closely, Mr Wilf has a right to the entire $500 million.

        Just guessing.

  3. Submitted by Bill O'Reilly on 01/27/2014 - 08:01 pm.


    This is beyond asinine! Who in their right mind would come to Minnesota in the first week of February for a vacation? As for exposure, closeup and showcase, when is the last time you thought of Indianapolis. The game costs a community more to put on then it garners. We are already being ripped off by the NFL for their stadium (don’t call it the peoples stadium ever again) just to profit Wilf and his crooks.

  4. Submitted by John Peschken on 01/27/2014 - 09:38 pm.


    I personally do not support bringing the Super Bowl here. There seems to be conflicting opinions as to whether the city benefits in the long run and talk of big economic returns always seems to come from supporters, and denial of these numbers from opponents. There is no consensus or impartial data that I can see. This is a nearly impossible thing to track. The impacts are far too broad reaching to ever reliably collect data, and no one seems to agree on what to count anyway. All we have are contentions from either side.

    The article does not specify whether Goodell will be coming here or the Governor will be going there, so I don’t know if we can call this a “Junket”.

  5. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/28/2014 - 05:49 am.


    Who in their right mind would come to Minnesota in the first week of February for a vacation?

    The problem is that politicians don’t understand or like sports. Ask just about anyone around here. Would you rather go to a Super Bowl in Minneapolis? Or Miami?

  6. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/28/2014 - 06:04 am.

    The stadium

    What kind of aggravates me is that this kind of thing provides a reminder of how we were all played for fools by the NFL. We gave the Vikings a half billion dollars to build a stadium, and now a national TV audience is going to be reminded of this. It’s all so unnecessary.

  7. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/28/2014 - 07:55 am.


    What politicians don’t understand is that Minnesotans don’t want a Super Bowl, they want the Vikings to be in the Super Bowl. Money spent on bringing a Super Bowl here would be far better spent on acquiring a good quarterback.

  8. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/28/2014 - 02:19 pm.

    An irrelevant quibble

    “An economic report estimated the 2012 Super Bowl brought in $324 million for the city of Indianapolis.”

    I think an editorial standard should evolve on the internet to the effect that when there is a reference of this kind, in this case, to “An economic report’, there should be a link created to it. For myself, I am highly skeptical of any such report that isn’t easily available online.

  9. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/28/2014 - 02:25 pm.


    Here what I believe, is a link to the report the article is referring to:

  10. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 01/28/2014 - 03:36 pm.

    Downtown businesses, the NFL, and the Wilfs will be…

    …the primary, and perhaps ONLY beneficiaries of this nonsense.

    Watch for these boosters to pull magnificent, bogus numbers on economic benefit to MN – out of their butts !!

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