View images from the first year's worth of progress on the new Vikings stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings fans will remember it as a cold yet exhilarating moment when shovels officially broke ground on the new Vikings stadium one year ago today. In the backdrop sat the Metrodome, an expansive concrete parking lot and decades of memories. Just 12 months later, those memories remain, but with them a new iconic stadium is rising and is already nearly one-third complete.
Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf has enjoyed seeing the structure come to life, a testament to the work of Minnesota companies and a diverse and skilled group of approximately 700 Minnesotans who are on-site daily and undeterred by the elements.
"We have hundreds of workers out there and over 200 Minnesota companies involved in this project, so it's very exciting to see the amazing progress," Wilf said. "But as exciting as these past 12 months have been, between now and July 2016 when this building opens is going to be even better. We have the glass doors coming in in 2015, the ETFE clear roof, all of the great features that our fans have gotten to see in the images are going to come to life in the next year."
Wilf stressed fan experience on game days as a top priority for the project. He said the stadium will feature more than 2,400 TV screens, state-of-the-art video boards and Wi-Fi connectivity that is "second to none," as well as signature views of the Minneapolis skyline.
View the final images of the new Vikings stadium showing the Vikings' locker room, concourses and other shots. For more visit newminnesotastadium.com.
"People will want to bring their families here to not only enjoy a Vikings game but to also make it a day-long experience," Wilf said. "This is going to be an iconic building, the premier sports building in this country."
Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley said the stadium will have a football capacity of more than 65,000 but will include nearly twice the square footage as its 64,000-seat predecessor because of conveniences like wider concourses and additional restrooms, as well as signature gathering spaces inside and outside of the stadium to add to the overall experience of attending a Vikings game or other events.
Those gathering spaces will include a nearly three-acre plaza outside the pivoting glass doors that will host pregame activities like live music and appearances by Vikings cheerleaders. Combined with the Downtown East Commons, a two-block park adjacent to the plaza, approximately seven acres will be available as programmable space on game days.
"Everything we've done has been to focus on the fan, the game-day experience, and the other thing was making it a multipurpose stadium," Bagley said. "We wanted to get back in the hunt for a Super Bowl, for a Final Four, for a Bowl Championship Series. We've secured the Super Bowl for 2018, we've secured the Final Four for 2019. We're in the hunt now for a Major League Soccer franchise. It's really going to be great for a lot of events and great for a lot of people in Minnesota."
As construction continues, highly observable aspects of the progress are the stadium's prow on the west side of the stadium, which towers more than 270 feet from the ground, and the narrowing gap between ends of the soaring ridge truss that spans the entire length of the stadium from east to west.
And while the stadium's physical structure arises, Vikings fans are already envisioning and planning their future experience. In less than 10 months, nearly 8,000 Season Ticket Members who were grouped into 16 zones based on their Metrodome seats have already visited the New Stadium Preview Center across the street from the site.
Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment Vice President of Team and Venue Services Jason Gonella, who is overseeing the ticket process in conjunction with the Vikings, said there are plans to open the Preview Center for scheduled tours by non-Season Ticket Members in early 2015.
"We're right across the street from the stadium, so in addition to finding out about your seats and the opportunities that are available for Season Ticket Members, there's really no way to get any closer to the stadium project if you're not working on it," Gonella said. "It's great to see it come out of the ground, and we're so familiar with what the stadium is going to be like because we're selling it every day, so to see it become a reality and see the shape of the east side and how the roof is going to line up and everything is really tremendous. Now you can understand how amazing the structure is going to be from an architectural perspective, so as every day goes on, it becomes that much more real, which is fantastic for us."