This morning, Vikings executives addressed the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) regarding potential partnership opportunities at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center and TCO Stadium in Eagan, MN. Vikings Executive Vice President Lester Bagley, Chief Financial Officer Steve Poppen and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren provided a construction update on the team’s future home and presented the organization’s vision for using the regional asset as a premier location for high school sports.
With the 6,000-seat (expandable to 10,000) TCO Stadium adjacent to the headquarters, the Vikings envision hosting multiple high school sports, including football, soccer and lacrosse. Today’s presentation primarily centered on a regular-season Friday Night Lights concept in which rival high school football teams around the state could perform in front of their fans on the same field their professional counterparts use for practice. Making the proposal even more unique is the potential airing of the games on vikings.com and local TV through the expanded Vikings Entertainment Network (VEN) studio and enhanced broadcast capabilities. The partnership could extend beyond the field to include the assistance of high school students interested in a journalism career in such broadcasts. The team also suggested the facility as a potential home for neutral-site postseason games, not including the semifinals and Prep Bowl that are now held at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“Similar to our approach with U.S. Bank Stadium, we are focused on making the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center a broader community asset that stands out from other professional sports facilities and resonates with the entire state of Minnesota,” said Warren. “Certainly a natural way to make that a reality is to host and potentially broadcast high school sporting events at TCO Stadium. We have immense respect for the Minnesota State High School League, so it was great to present our vision and begin exploring how we plan to build on our existing relationship.”
The Vikings and the MSHSL have long-partnered on youth football programming, including in 2016 when the team collaborated with the MSHSL to provide communications and marketing support for the 2016 Prep Bowl, the first high school football championship to be held at U.S. Bank Stadium.