Exactly two weeks after Minnesota was awarded the bid to host Super Bowl LII in February 2018, Governor Mark Dayton officially announced the state’s bid to host the NCAA Final Four in the new Vikings stadium.
“The stadium is going to be a hub for truly tremendous activities,” said Governor Dayton. “It’s going to bring national and international acclaim to the state and it will certainly pay off, I’m quite confident.”
As a part of today’s announcement, Governor Dayton named Mary Brainerd, President and CEO of HealthPartners, Inc., and David Mortenson, President of Mortenson Construction, as co-chairs of the steering committee that will seek to secure the Final Four bid. In addition to the two co-chairs, Gov. Dayton named former NBA player and University of Minnesota men’s basketball star Trent Tucker and current Minnesota Lynx player Lindsay Whalen as honorary co-chairs of the bid committee.
The formation of the committee follows the January 2014 announcement that Minnesota, along with seven other cities, was selected as a finalist for the 2017-2020 NCAA Final Fours. The eight communities will also be responsible for hosting a regional final in the year prior to their Final Four. With the Super Bowl being played in the stadium in 2018, the bid committee will focus their efforts on hosting the Final Four in either 2019 or 2020. Members of the NCAA will come to Minnesota on a site visit in August before a decision is made in November. Each of the 2017-2020 Final Four sites will be announced at that time.
Although the stadium was built for an NFL team as its main tenant, the design of the stadium allows it to accommodate other major national events such as this.
“Part of making it an event center that caters to much more than just football was making sure that those pieces and components were built into the design,” said co-chair David Mortenson, whose company is responsible for the construction of the new stadium.
Minnesota has served as the host of the Final Four twice, in 1992 and 2001, but the new stadium allows it to be brought back in the mix as a potential host.
“I will say that the reaction already that we are getting already as we become finalists for these events, it’s very obvious that people are acknowledging the fact that we now have a stadium that’s allowing us again to compete for these great events, which Minnesota has already done in the past,” Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said.
The $975 million stadium officially broke ground on December 3, 2013, and is set to open in July 2016.