Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


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

Gov. Dayton, noting the opportunity to showcase the area, said the economic benefit of the game and events could approach $500 million.

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

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.

Article continues after advertisement

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.”

Article continues after advertisement

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.”