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Mark Wilf Discusses Super Bowl LII with Economic Club of Minnesota

Posted Nov 17, 2017

Minnesota will be hosting Super Bowl LII in less than 12 weeks, and the impact of the game that will decide the 2017 season’s champion is positively impacting the state.

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee’s Legacy Fund has been distributing significant grants around the state, and a bevy of events have been scheduled for the 10 days leading up to the big game at U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 4, 2018.

NFL Live, a free public experience on newly renovated Nicollet Mall, and the NFL Experience, a ticketed event at the Minneapolis Convention Center, will be two marquee events in the build up to the game. It is estimated that 1.5 million visitors will come to Minnesota for Super Bowl-related events.

NFL COO Tod Leiweke, Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf, NFL COO and GENYOUth CEO Alexis Glick discussed the opportunity to host the game and its potential impact, as well as other topics, on Wednesday at the Economic Club of Minnesota (ecomn.org) luncheon for November.

Ecolab CEO Doug Baker moderated the panel discussion after retired U.S. Bank CEO Richard Davis introduced the panelists.

Leiweke, formerly President of the Minnesota Wild, described the differences in working for a specific team and for a league.

“You have to view challenges as opportunities,” said Leiweke, who noted he was part of Tampa Bay Lightning and Seattle Seahawks teams that finished as runner-ups in the Stanley Cup Final and Super Bowl XL, respectively.

Ecolab is a partner of the Vikings and GENYOUth, a nonprofit that has increased access to nourishment that youth need to succeed through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

Glick said programs launched by GENYOUth, the National Dairy Council and the NFL have led to 14.5 million young people adopting healthier eating habits and 18 million youth participating in more physical activities.

Glick said she loved playing flag football during her youth and has enjoyed extending the game to future generations. GENYOUth and the NFL have been able to donate flag football equipment to 13,000 schools, providing a lift for physical education teachers with limited budgets.

Vikings and MNSBHC representatives launched the “Super School Breakfast” program a year ago as part of the Legacy Fund’s “Breakfast-in-the-Classroom” grant program with the Midwest Dairy Council.

Wilf, an Honorary Co-Chair of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, described how attending New York Giants games provided family-bonding experiences. The Wilf Family purchased the Vikings in 2005

“This has been quite a ride,” said Wilf, whose parents survived the Holocaust. “We loved football growing up.”

Wilf said the Minnesota business community has “outstanding, first-class leadership” and credited partnerships for Minnesota’s successful bid to host the Super Bowl for the first time since January 1992.

“We’re very proud, the Host Committee, public and private partners, that we have had really a total team effort to bring this incredible event to Minnesota,” Wilf said.