Vikings, Meet Minneapolis Pursuing 2018 Super Bowl Bid

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 7, 2013 – 8:37 am

The city of New Orleans was just on a week-long national stage as it hosted Super Bowl XLVII, providing the proud residents of the city and of Louisiana an opportunity to showcase their unique culture, comforting and entertaining hospitality and lively and contagious spirit.

With a new $975 million stadium in the works, Minneapolis, in conjunction with the Vikings, is looking to capitalize on a similar opportunity by pursuing a Super Bowl, among other major events.

“We are aggressively pursuing the 2018 Super Bowl for Minneapolis,” said Vikings VP of Public Affairs and Stadium Development.  “There is significant competition for this event, but with the new stadium opening in 2016, Minnesota is well-positioned as an attractive destination. We need to better understand the scope of the current-day Super Bowl and its associated events to determine what’s necessary to accommodate the additional 100,000 visitors outside of the 73,000 fans who attend the actual game.”

As part of the effort to better understand what it takes to host the ultimate event within the most popular sport on the America sports landscape, the Vikings invited Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant to attend the 2013 game and meetings in New Orleans with the NFL and other bidding cities, including San Francisco, Phoenix, Houston and New Orleans. This effort is expected for cities to compete for one of the largest marketing opportunities in the world, with millions of eyes fixed on the host city each year.

An announcement of the winning bids is expected by May 2014. The 2014 Super Bowl will be an outdoor game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and the University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, will host in 2015.

“I was honored that the Vikings asked me to attend the meetings and game in New Orleans,” said Tennant. “But more importantly, I was given the opportunity to learn about the event first-hand from the NFL, the other bidding cities and the example set forth in New Orleans. The experience and time was invaluable as we work diligently to bring a Super Bowl back to Minneapolis.”

The exploratory mission included briefings by the NFL officials for bidding cities, meetings with the CEO of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and tours of the grounds and facilities that would be expected in any winning city.

Last year, Meet Minneapolis convened a group of leaders of business and the hospitality industry to form the Meet Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee, tasked with augmenting the work of the organization in the solicitation, funding and hosting of major sports and special events. This permanent group meets periodically and will help drive the destination to winning major events like the Super Bowl, the X Games, NCAA Final Four games and, eventually, possibly a Summer Olympics.

Rob Moor, Vice Chair of the Meet Minneapolis Board of Directors and CEO of the Minnesota Lynx and Timberwolves, chairs the Meet Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee.

“It’s time that Minneapolis is spotlighted on the national stage as a prime destination for major events,” said Moor. “Alongside the new Vikings Stadium, the coming Central Corridor light rail line, the renovation of Target Center and many more infrastructure investments, there has to be an investment in time, energy and funds in fully utilizing these improvements and bringing more visibility and, ultimately, visitors to Minneapolis. This group will lead that effort.”

Meet Minneapolis invested in travel costs for the trip to New Orleans. The investment of time, study and personnel now will pay off, as it has with countless other events, in the overall economic impact as visitors attend and spend money throughout the city. The Super Bowl alone would yield an expected economic impact of $350 million and put Minneapolis on the international stage, once more, as a destination of choice for major events.

Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit of the greater Minneapolis area.

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Spielman To Help Raise Money For ACES

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 6, 2012 – 7:40 am

The Minnesota Twins and Target Field in conjunction with Minnesota’s other professional sports teams will host a fundraising event to benefit ACES (Athletes Committed to Educating Students) on Wednesday, and Vikings GM Rick Spielman will be on-hand to represent the Vikings.

The event will bring together top executives from each of Minnesota’s “Big Four” professional sports organizations, as they join in a roundtable discussion about the status of professional sports in the Twin Cities. They will also discuss the important roles professional sports franchises play within the community. Questions for the roundtable will come from the assembled audience, led by WCCO TV’s Mark Rosen.

Joining Spielman at the roundtable will be Twins President David St. Peter, Wild COO Matt Majka and Wolves President Chris Wright.

The Vikings have had a relationship with and have supported ACES for 15 years. For the past three seasons, ACES students have led the Vikings out on the field as part of the NFL’s salute to Play60, which encourages youngsters to be active at least 60 minutes per day. When meeting ACES students, Vikings players are always impressed with the creativity, politeness and determination displayed, all qualities promoted by ACES programs.

Vikings VP of Public Affairs Lester Bagley serves on the ACES Board of Directors.

About ACES
The mission of ACES is to close the academic achievement gap of at-risk urban students in grades four through eight. ACES is an 18-years-strong after-school tutor/mentor program that helps urban fourth- through eighth-grade students in both Minneapolis Public Schools and St. Paul Public Schools overcome the academic achievement and opportunity gaps. Students who consistently attend ACES show academic growth, improved behavior and school attendance, and increased identity with their community.

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Vikings Lease At Metrodome Expires Today

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 1, 2012 – 11:18 am

Today is the last game of Jim Kleinsasser’s career, but it’s also the last game under the Vikings lease at the Metrodome. That means that after today, the Vikings are essentially stadium free agents, which adds even more importance to an already super-important stadium issue in Minnesota.

Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley took several moments before kickoff of today’s game to discuss the current state of affairs with members of the local media.

“Thirty great seasons at the Metrodome,” Bagley said. “This is the last season on our lease. It’s been thirty exciting seasons, and we appreciate our State leaders putting the stadium issue into play. Our lease expires after the game today and we’ll be the only NFL team without a lease. There’s urgency to resolve this issue, but we’re encouraged by out State leadership and where they are, and the business community and organized labor. We think we’re in position to get this resolved.”

That is good news to hear, and hopefully over the next several months there is more and more positive momentum generated to get the stadium issue resolved and to keep the Vikings where they belong – in Minnesota.

Click here to view a PDF version of an ad from today’s Vikings Playbook that touches on the stadium issue and the lease expiring.

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Vikings Launch Media Campaign On Stadium Efforts

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 14, 2011 – 10:58 am

The Vikings will kickoff a broader media campaign on the team’s stadium efforts during tonight’s Monday Night Football game in Green Bay. Fans watching the Vikings-Packers game on either KARE 11 or ESPN will see television ads based on the team’s stadium advocacy video unveiled on Saturday, November 5.

The Vikings media campaign is designed to drive accurate information on the stadium issue, arm fans and supporters with the facts, and remind everyone what the Vikings mean to Minnesota. Online, radio, print and television advertising elements will be included over the next several weeks, and the team will begin making community stops around the State to discuss the issue.

“This team is followed by over two million Minnesotans every week and is an important piece of the fabric of this State,” said Lester Bagley, Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development. “We have a great story to tell, and it’s time for us to take the case for a new stadium more directly to the public.”

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Another Step Forward In Stadium Issue

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 17, 2011 – 7:11 pm

We mentioned on Sunday morning that this week would be a big week on the stadium front in Minnesota. And the action began right away on Monday afternoon, with Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton holding a press conference at the State Capitol to announce his intention to call a special session in November.

The key word in the above paragraph is “intention.” Governor Dayton has not called a special session as of right now, but he indicated he would do so if progress can be made on a stadium proposal. An agreement must be reached between lawmakers and the Governor that limits the scope of the special session to the stadium topic and, specifically, to the financing package.

The framework of the financial package has been determined – the State will contribute $300 million, Ramsey County will pitch in $350 million, and the Vikings will pay the rest, including cost over-runs and operating expenses.

The point of the Governor’s announcement on Monday, which also included a potential start date of November 21, was to put this issue squarely in focus and have all sides “put your cards on the table.”

“We’re very grateful and appreciative of Governor Dayton and State leaders having serious discussions on this issue,” Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs/Stadium Development Lester Bagley said on Monday.

Governor Dayton has informed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell of his intention to call a special session and asked for the League’s support. Speaking of the NFL, representatives from the League are scheduled to be in town tomorrow to assess the stadium situation in Minnesota.

Monday was a good start to the week for the Vikings and Vikings fans. Expect more developments throughout the week.

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Raising The Roof! Mall Of America Field Roof Inflates

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 13, 2011 – 9:28 am

Click here to view a time-lapse video of the inflation.

Click here to view a photo gallery of the inflation.

So often we see construction projects – whether it be houses or roads or stadiums – ultimately fall behind schedule and/or go over budget because of unforeseen complications. But so far that hasn’t been the case with roof repairs at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome.

The latest landmark event in the construction project to resurrect the roof happened early this morning, as the roof was actually inflated. It was thought the roof inflation could take anywhere from 2-3 hours, but it actually took about 45 minutes for the crew to get the job done.

By all accounts, everything went off without a hitch, which has become a theme for the project.

Vikings Owner / President Mark Wilf issues the following statement:

We appreciate the efforts of the MSFC and the local unionized workforce who spent countless hours replacing the Metrodome roof since its collapse last December. Today’s roof inflation means the project is ahead of schedule and ensures that Mall of America Field will be the Vikings home during the 2011 season. We are excited about getting our home field advantage back and playing in front of Vikings fans this year. 

Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission authorities explained on Wednesday that the roof construction project remains on time, on budget and has seen only one minor accident. It’s a far cry from delayed road construction projects or delays in home construction that that seem standard.

We were at Mall of America Field this morning, so photos and even video of the roof raising will be posted on in the near future, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, here are a few notes I jotted down in my notebook during this morning’s events…

– The budget for the construction project is just short of $23 million, with $18 million allocated for the roof. The new roof is made of teflon-coated fiber glass and is about 10 acres in size.

– MSFC Chairman Ted Mondale was on-hand for a press conference after the roof was inflated, and he expressed confidence that the project will be in its final stage by August 1, that the stadium will host its first community event on August 20 and that the stadium will be ready to host its first Vikings game on August 27, when the team is scheduled to play its first home preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.

– Vikings VP of Public Affairs/Stadium Development Lester Bagley told reporters the team is grateful to the MSFC and the labor force working on the stadium for their work to replace the roof and that the team is excited to get its home-field advantage back. Bagley also said that the roof-raising is another symbol that the football season in nearing. Lastly, Bagley said that the team is still committed to working out a long-term stadium solution in Minnesota.

– Mondale said the MSFC is still unsure if the field surface will need to be replaced, but that the MSFC has already commenced the process of acquiring bids in the event that a new surface is required. Obviously the surface was exposed to damage not only by the roof’s collapse in December but also to weather conditions in the months after the collapse as well as damage by the construction equipment that was inside the stadium during roof repairs. If the field surface does need to be replaced, MSFC Director of Facilities/Engineering Steve Maki said the timeline for replacement would be August 1-18.

– Maki also pointed out the stadium’s roof will have a lower profile – meaning it will be less “poofy” – than the previous roof, largely because the material composing the roof is stronger this time around and also because of other engineering factors.

– MSFC Executive Director Bill Lester described the roof construction project as “a long, arduous journey,” but he also expressed gratitude to the construction crew and he said that Wednesday’s events were encouraging as the project continues to near its conclusion.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 138 Comments »

New Stadium Update

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 15, 2011 – 2:04 pm

In my estimation there are 3 significant issues surrounding the Vikings right now that should capture fans’ attention. The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and upcoming NFL draft are a couple. The other is the status of the new stadium issue, which has been a frequent subject in news headlines recently.

So what is the latest on this front? That’s a loaded question and one that requires a complex and difficult answer. So let’s keep it simple and focus on recent events.

Earlier this week the Vikings sent a non-exclusive and non-binding letter of intent to Ramsey County expressing interest in a potential partnership in redeveloping the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) property in the City of Arden Hills as a potential stadium site.

More importantly, though, is what happened on Tuesday. The 7-member Ramsey County Board of Commissioners took a necessary and important step in the stadium issue by passing overwhelmingly (by a 6-1 vote) a resolution that allows the Ramsey County manager to move forward and complete the due diligence required to begin negotiations with the Vikings to build a publicly-owned stadium at the TCAAP property.

Basically, both the Vikings and the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners believe that the TCAAP property has great potential for a new stadium site and therefore both parties are willing to explore the viability of this idea.

“The breadth of our responsibilities runs the gamut,” said Commissioner Jim McDonough prior to Tuesday’s vote. “It’s important for us to work on this opportunity to say, ‘Yes, it’s good for Ramsey County,’ or ‘No, let’s move on.’ We need to invest some time and some energy on this.”

The decision was a “Yes” and now the process will continue to progress, which is good news for Vikings fans.

“Today’s vote was a very positive development on the stadium front,” said Vikings VP of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley. “We believe the TCAAP property is a viable site. We greatly value our relationships with the Ramsey County Commissioners and County staff, and we look forward to those continuing.”

Bagley went on to say: “This is moving in the right direction. We’re going to have a good, hard run at it this year and we’re encouraged by the progress and the leadership of the Governor (Mark Dayton), (Chair of the Minneapolis Sports Facilities Commission) Ted Mondale and Republicans in the Legislature, particularly Senator Julie Rosen and Representative Morrie Lanning. It’s a bi-partisan effort and we’re trying to push the pieces forward and move into a position where we can tie them together in the not-too-distant future.”

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Bagley Talks Stadium

Posted by cjsiewert on November 30, 2010 – 7:44 pm

On Tuesday we conducted a live chat with Vikings VP of Stadium Development/Public Affairs Lester Bagley right here on and a number of pointed topics regarding the issue of a new publicly-owned stadium for the State of Minnesota were covered.

Here’s a rundown of what was talked about, paired with Bagley’s comments…

Recent election results and the impact on stadium efforts:
“Leadership of the new house and senate majorities as well as the new Governor have indicated that this issue needs to be addressed and will be on the agenda. While there are certainly tremendous challenges and other priorities, the one issue that brought candidates for office together was creating jobs and as you know, this will create 13,000 jobs, including 7,500 construction jobs.”

Location of new stadium:
“In terms of where we’re at with sites, we are completing our due diligence on a number of potential stadium sites. Some in Minneapolis and one suburban site. No conclusions have been reached and we’re working to bring forward a package with a single site as soon as our work is completed and as soon as the new legislature and the new governor are ready.”

New Collective Bargaining Agreement and its effect:
“We are confident that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement will be reached. The NFL has experienced labor peace since 1987 – longer than any other professional sport. The CBA negotiation is a short-term matter, while we are seeking a long-term solution to build a publicly owned facility that will benefit Minnesota for the next several decades. Let’s not delay the work that needs to be done, as the CBA issue will be resolved.”

Where the Vikings would play if construction were on the Metrodome site:
“That issue would only be in play if it is determined that the Metrodome site is the ideal site. If that’s the case, we would need to engage in conversations with the University of Minnesota about access to TCF Bank Stadium. Again, we are completing our due diligence on sites and no conclusions have been reached. Stay tuned.”

Versatility of the new stadium:
“There is strong support across the State for a multi-purpose, year-round facility. Adding a roof makes this a state-wide asset and benefits the State of Minnesota – we need to have the important conversation about how to pay for the roof. While it might be great to have outdoor football again, we need to look at maximizing use of this publicly-owned facility – a facility that would host high schools sports, amateur sports, a Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, etc.”


Keeping the Vikings in Minnesota:
“The Vikings will commit to signing a lease that requires the team to play its games in the new facility until 2045. The Vikings belong in Minnesota; nearly half the population of this state – 2.5 million people – follow Vikings games each Sunday. For many families and friends, watching Vikings games is a strong tradition. This is our 50th season and we hope to have another 50 in Minnesota.”

Possible resolution date:
“As noted, 2011 is a crucial year. The Legislature runs from early January to late May, and this is likely to be resolved later in the Legislative Session. In terms of next steps, we need to continue our productive discussions and forward progress with State and local leaders, we need to complete our due diligence and bring forward an ideal site, specific project costs and a funding plan. Again, the State has significant priorities but we need to move this forward. We need your help to build the public support that it’ll take to push this over the top.”

Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 74 Comments »

Stadium Bill May Be Introduced To Legislature On Monday

Posted by cjsiewert on April 29, 2010 – 1:12 pm

Since the 2010 NFL Draft concluded this past weekend, the hot topic of Vikings discussion has revolved around whether or not the Vikings selections will make an impact, which undrafted players have a shot at making the team and which free agents the Purple should pursue.

But another topic gaining momentum over the past couple of days has been that of finalizing the details for a Vikings stadium bill.

WCCO’s Pat Kessler reports that top legislative leaders and Vikings officials met Wednesday, preparing for a bill to be introduced at the Legislature as early as Monday.

“This issue has been thoroughly discussed and debated. It’s down to what is the right plan,” Vikings VP of Public Affairs/Stadium Development Lester Bagley told Kessler on introducing the bill to legislature. “What fits Minnesota, what protects taxpayers.  That solves the problem and keeps the Vikings here for the next generation.”

Getting the bill passed this Legislative Session may take some hard-pressed motivation from certain individuals as the current session ends May 17.  This timeline does not have Bagley too concerned as he feels they “can get it [stadium bill] solved in 14, 15 days.”

Although the Metrodome location seems to be the most conceivable spot for a new stadium, the new stadium bill will be “site-neutral,” which means any city or county can bid on the stadium.

On Wednesday, Bagley chatted with fans on about the stadium issue. Click here to replay the chat.

Stay tuned to for continuing coverage of this issue.

Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 8 Comments »