ST. PAUL — Governor Mark Dayton on Tuesday announced an organized campaign by government and business leaders to pursue the 2020 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship Game to be played in the new Vikings stadium.
Governor Dayton announced that Scot Housh, President and CEO of Willis of Minnesota, Inc. and Chris Policinski, President and CEO of Land O'Lakes, Inc. will co-chair the Minnesota CFP Steering Committee.
Minnesota Golden Gophers Head Football Coach Jerry Kill, Vikings Hall of Fame guard Randall McDaniel and former triathlete Erika Binger, chair of the McKnight Foundation Board of Directors, were named as honorary co-chairs.
The deadline to submit the bid is May 27, and decision makers from the CFP Group are likely to visit the area this summer before making a decision on the destinations that will host the 2018, 2019 and 2020 title games. The CFP Group is expected to announce the selected destinations in October.
The Committee, which also includes Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen, Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant and University of Minnesota Associate AD/Events Andrew Parrish, plans to bid only on the 2020 game because the venue is already scheduled to host Super Bowl LII in 2018 and the NCAA Men's Final Four in 2019.
"The College Football Playoff Championship would bring thousands of visitors to Minnesota and showcase our state to millions of Americans," said Governor Mark Dayton.* *"We will pursue this premier sporting event with the same determination that secured the 2018 Super Bowl and 2019 Final Four Tournament."
Warren said the Vikings are excited about the prospect of the game and committed to assisting with the bid.
"Anytime you have an opportunity to bring a world-class event like this to your home state, and especially to our home stadium, it's exciting," Warren said. "At the Vikings, we'll do everything we possibly can to help. To think we have the opportunity to have the Super Bowl, which we've solidified in 2018, the Final Four in 2019 and then to be able to get the College Football Playoff Championship Game in 2020 would be incredible here for the Twin Cities."
In addition to the stadium, which remains on schedule to open July 2016, the Committee's bid also will highlight: at least 10,000 hotel rooms (a requirement) and facilities capable of hosting interactive fan and educational support events in the lead up to the game, two concerts on the Saturday and Sunday before the game (likely at Target Center), and the "Taste of the Championship," which is similar to the "Taste of the NFL" event that was created in 1992 when Minnesota hosted Super Bowl XXVI.
"The bold, new Minnesota stadium will soon be the premier facility in the nation for football," Housh said. "We plan to add the 2020 CFP National Championship to the growing list of events held in downtown Minneapolis, which is on the radar as a city that is easy to get to and east to get around.
"Additionally," Housh continued, "we have world-class practice facilities and numerous top venues for ancillary events that give us the confidence we will provide the best fan and player experience in the country."
The first CFP National Championship Game was hosted at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Jan. 12. The 2016 game has been awarded to Arizona, and the 2017 game will be held in Tampa. The overall estimated economic impact of the first title game was more than $300 million for the Dallas-Fort Worth area. There is not yet an estimate for the potential impact the 2020 game could have on Minnesota, but officials believe it will extend beyond a direct monetary amount because of the opportunity to showcase the region.
"The leadership shown by our business community is second-to-none," Policinski said. "We're an engaged community that works together for the benefit of the entire state. We have strong partners in the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Vikings, as well as other strategic partners in the MSFA and Meet Minneapolis, and this public/private partnership model will continue to serve us well as we strive to bring the CFP to Minnesota in 2020."
Warren said he's received numerous text messages and emails saying, "Your stadium looks beautiful, I can't wait to see it," since Saturday when the stadium construction site was the backdrop during NFL Network's televised coverage of the announcement of the Vikings fourth-round pick by Mortenson Construction labor foreman Lesley Singer, who was introduced by McDaniel.
"I think the citizens of the state of Minnesota are realizing that this truly is an economic engine," Warren said. "It's exciting to have the people here behind it. It continuously puts us on the map. Think about it, the Super Bowl in 2018, the Final Four in 2019 and the College Football Championship Game in 2020, how important sports is to our community and our society, to be able to bring great talent here, to be able to put us on the map even more from a business standpoint, to feature our 19 Fortune 500 companies, that's incredible, and at the Vikings, to know that you had something to do from an involvement standpoint of helping put the bid together, is incredibly exciting, so I hope it goes our way."