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10 Highlights from the First Year of Stadium Construction

1. Construction Moving at a Rapid Pace
Just one year ago today (Wednesday), shovels broke ground for the first time on the future home for Vikings football. Twelve months later, work is nearly one-third complete and on pace for a July 2016 opening. Already more than 60% of all concrete on the site has been poured, including the entire two lower levels of the stadium. Glass installation will begin in early 2015 followed by zinc metal panel installation, which will mark the beginning of the permanent closure, in April.

2. Marquee Sporting Events Secured
Not even a year into construction, the stadium's iconic design helped return two of the world's premier sporting events to Minnesota: Super Bowl LII (2018) and the 2019 NCAA Final Four. Combined, the events will bring more than 150,000 visitors to Minneapolis-St. Paul and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity. The stadium is poised to compete for other major events like Big Ten Championships, international soccer matches and concerts.

3. Vikings Increase Private Contribution
In Year One, Vikings ownership continued to invest in the building by increasing the team/private contribution multiple times. Currently the team's commitment stands at nearly $527 million, or nearly $50 million more than the original guarantee of $477 million. The additional dollars were directed into the overall stadium budget and will ensure crucial fan amenities such as the five pivoting glass doors, elevators, escalators and acoustical treatments remain in the project.

View images from the first year's worth of progress on the new Vikings stadium.

4. Equity Goals Being Exceeded
Shortly after stadium legislation passed in May 2012, the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority quickly established goals to ensure equity in the contracting of Minnesota businesses and the hiring of the construction workforce. Construction workforce goals for minorities and women matched the City of Minneapolis' goals of 32% and 6%, respectively, while the targeted business program established goals of 11% women-owned businesses and 9% minority-owned businesses. Thus far, all are being exceeded. Currently, the construction workforce includes 37% minority and 9% women, while awarded contracts have included 17% women-owned businesses and 10% minority-owned businesses. At this rate, the project could set a new standard for inclusion with public projects in Minnesota.

5. Fan Experience Remains #1 Priority
The team's dedication to providing the best fan experience possible has remained steadfast during the first year of construction. Numerous decisions have been made in the last 12 months to guarantee that critical fan amenities remain in the project, including the world's largest pivoting glass doors, 2,400 HD TVs throughout the building, state-of-the-art video boards, including one 13 times larger than the Metrodome's boards, more escalators and elevators, and enhanced concessions. The team's current focus is on technology and ensuring that fans stay connected to family and friends during the game.

6. New Stadium Preview Center is Huge Hit
After opening in March, the New Stadium Preview Center has certainly garnered the attention of the fan base. Thus far, nearly 8,000 Season Ticket Members who were grouped into 16 zones based on their Metrodome seats have already visited the 7,500-square foot interactive space. The largest ever built by a NFL team, the Preview Center overlooks the construction site and is designed to give Vikings fans their first look at the future game experience. Included in the space is a custom-filmed experiential player tunnel and Vikings locker room experience, two authentic suite build-outs, a 16-seat Club seating section, 37 high-definition televisions and seven interactive kiosks. The center also contains a 100:1 scale city-scape model and a 25:1 scale detailed architectural stadium model. Most importantly, visitors have the opportunity to see 360-degree panoramic views from roughly 375 vantage points within the stadium. In early 2015, the space will be opened for tours for non-Season Ticket Members. If you haven't yet seen the Preview Center, take a sneak peek or join the wait list to ensure your spot in line at the new stadium.

7. Stadium Operator Selected
In August, the Vikings and the MSFA chose SMG as the stadium operator. SMG has extensive experience in operating major sports venues, managing over 200 facilities worldwide, including four NFL stadiums (Soldier Field in Chicago, Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, NRG Stadium in Houston and Everbank Field in Jacksonville). SMG facilities have hosted nine Super Bowls over the years, a fantastic asset as the new stadium prepares to host Super Bowl LII in 2018 and other major events. The 10-year contract includes an annual $6.75 million revenue guarantee to the publicly-owned stadium, which will allow the MSFA to build and maintain its capital and operating reserves to ensure that this stadium remains a world-class facility.

8. Team Honors Construction Workers
Nearly 1,500 men and women who are working directly on the stadium site or for the hundreds of Minnesota companies involved in the project were invited to the Vikings-Cardinals preseason matchup. After several workers sounded the Vikings Gjallarhorn prior to kickoff, the group was recognized on the video board during the game. Prior to the holidays, the Vikings will once again honor and thank the 700-plus workers on site daily with a special visit to the construction site.

9. Minnesota Companies and Individuals Finding Work
More than 200 Minnesota businesses have worked on the new stadium project. Over 2,000 individuals have already worked on the construction site, with nearly 700 stepping foot on the site daily. That number will grow to more than 1,100 in 2015.

10. MLS Pursuit Continues – An area of focus that dates back prior to 2012 stadium legislation, the Vikings pursuit of a Major League Soccer franchise continues. For more than two years the team has been in dialogue with MLS representatives, and multiple decisions related to the design and construction of the new stadium have included the potential for soccer. In November, the team made its formal pitch to MLS to secure a franchise in the new stadium, and this past week Vikings executives unveiled plans to make the new stadium a first-class, state-of-the-art venue for soccer matches. The stadium will have a soccer-specific seating arrangement for approximately 25,000 fans through a house reduction system that can implement a stylistic curtain system with soccer specific logos and décor. Vikings ownership has emphasized their passion for the sport, their belief in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market and their commitment to ensuring an authentic fan experience in the new stadium.

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