Lester Bagley brings three decades of public affairs and communications experience to his role as the Vikings Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development. Currently in his 12th year with the Vikings, Bagley oversees the team’s public relations, public affairs, community relations and charitable giving initiatives.
The Vikings and sports fans throughout the Upper Midwest will embark on a thrilling new chapter in 2016 as state-of-the-art U.S. Bank Stadium opens and ushers in a new era for Vikings football. The striking addition of U.S. Bank Stadium to the Minneapolis skyline will vault the community to center stage for marquee events from international soccer and blockbuster concerts to Super Bowl LII and the NCAA Final Four. An outstanding fan experience awaits at U.S. Bank Stadium with best-in-class amenities and cutting-edge technology that place the facility with the best in the world. Fans will be treated to the closest seats to the action in the NFL, unrivaled food and drink offerings and a wide variety of seat and suite options that connect fans to the heartbeat of the Vikings.
Bagley was instrumental in securing the support and financing that brought the new stadium to fruition. The $1.1 billion facility, the largest construction project in Minnesota history, has been enhanced through an additional $125 million of Vikings ownership investment since the initial building began, bringing the total team/private investment to over $600 million. Bagley spearheaded the public discussion and advocacy for the stadium during difficult political and economic conditions to secure the agreement to finance and construct the new stadium. On May 10, 2012, the Minnesota House and Senate passed stadium legislation that was significantly impacted by the coalition of elected officials, sports fans and business, labor and community leaders that Bagley led. Four days later Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill into law. Bagley was honored alongside Governor Dayton and stadium bill authors Senator Julie Rosen and Representative Morrie Lanning with the “Public Policy Achievement” award as part of Minnesota’s Leaders in Public Policy 2012. Following passage of the stadium bill, Bagley was part of the Vikings leadership team that designed and built this progressive architectural marvel.
In 2014, Bagley led the Vikings involvement to secure Super Bowl LII to be played February 4, 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Bagley worked with Vikings ownership and management, and Minnesota corporate and civic leaders to create the Super Bowl bid and secure the support of the NFL for the pinnacle event to be held in Minnesota. Bagley currently serves on the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee’s Executive Board with Richard Davis/U.S. Bank, Doug Baker/Ecolab, Marilyn Carlson Nelson/Carlson, Michael Langley/GreaterMSP, and Maureen Bausch, CEO of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.
Bagley’s role on the Vikings management team and working relationship with the Wilf family ownership group includes the next facility project on the club’s horizon, planning and designing the new Vikings headquarters in Eagan, MN that gained approval from the Eagan City Council on June 21, 2016. The new home for the team will bring the entire organization under one roof and accentuate Ownership’s desire to build a first-class atmosphere in pursuit of World Championships.
In addition to leading Vikings communications and community relations, Bagley oversees the Vikings Children’s Fund and Youth Football Programs. The Minnesota Vikings are one of the most active and community-engaged teams in the NFL, a key tenant of the organization.
Before joining the Vikings, Bagley operated Bagley Public Affairs from 1999-2005. The Minneapolis firm specialized in issues management, public relations and public affairs. From 1993-99, Bagley served as associate director and helped lead the Minnesota Business Partnership, the public policy organization comprised of the chief executive officers of 100 of Minnesota’s largest companies. He also spent five years working in public affairs and public relations in Washington D.C.
A native of Barron, WI, Bagley began college at the University of Minnesota before graduating from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He served as a White House intern and studied at the University of Oxford during his undergraduate days.
Bagley currently sits on the Executive Board of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, and serves on the boards of the Downtown East Commons Implementation Committee, the Public Affairs Council, the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Vikings Children’s Fund.
Bagley and his wife Wendy, who has a bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Catherine, reside in Minneapolis with their sons Michael and Charlie.