The Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers will meet inside Wembley Stadium on Sunday to battle against one another on the football field, but in the days leading up to the game members of each franchise’s ownership group and front office also met off the field.
Vikings President Mark Wilf was among those who attended the Welcome to London Dinner for the NFL at the House of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, on Thursday evening. The reception was hosted by Members of Parliament, including Peter Bone, who welcomed the attendees, and Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Sport and Tourism, who addressed the guests. On Saturday evening, the Wilf ownership group, Vikings front office and Minnesota business and community leaders attended a reception at the residence of US Ambassador Matthew Barzun.
Promoting the Vikings brand, transitioning smoothly to a week in London and coming away from Sunday’s game with a victory have been the team’s top priorities since its arrival in London. The organization is also using the opportunity to promote business and trade, and helping build relationships between Minnesota and Minneapolis-St.Paul leaders and their counterparts in the United Kingdom, while participating in the NFL’s International Series.
“Our goal has been to minimize distractions for our football team, and we have done everything possible to create a seamless transition and provide a home game-type atmosphere for our players and coaches, as well as our fans,” Wilf said. “Additionally, playing in London provides exceptional exposure to the team, as well as Minnesota’s impressive business community and tourism industry.”
While the significant events in London have been attended by Vikings ownership and front office, Steelers ownership and other dignitaries, the Vikings have a strong contingent of CEO-level business leaders and Minnesota hospitality industry leaders who have accompanied them to London. The Mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, state legislators and leaders of Greater MSP, Meet Minneapolis and Visit St. Paul have joined prominent Minnesota business leaders in London. This visit and the game will help profile Minnesota’s impressive business and hospitality sectors.
Participating in the NFL’s International Series and hosting the Steelers in London this week is viewed by the Vikings organization as a unique opportunity to highlight and grow the franchise’s brand on an international stage, help expand the brand and fan base of the NFL and help grow the sport of American football beyond the US.
“The Vikings have an incredibly strong following in the U.S., but we also have fans throughout the world,” Wilf explained. “We look forward to playing in front of our international fan base and to a great game against the Steelers in a historic stadium.”