With construction fully underway on the New Minnesota Stadium, so is the state's pursuit to land a future Super Bowl within the facility. Over the past two days, six NFL representatives, including Senior Vice President of Events Frank Supovitz, visited Minneapolis-St. Paul to better understand the community's ability to host the marquee game.
"It's really a voyage of discovery for many of us and a voyage of rediscovery for some of us," Supovitz said. "I've worked in the Twin Cities market before so I know very well all the great things that are achievable here and all the great facilities that you have. Some of our staff didn't have as great of an understanding of the Twin Cities."
Vikings leadership, including Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf, and Minneapolis-St. Paul corporate and civic leaders hosted the NFL reps who oversee the overall strategy and planning for every Super Bowl, to assist in the development of Minnesota's 2018 Super Bowl bid, which is due April 1.
"This is a dynamic community," Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley said when asked what the NFL reps were shown. "They've seen the entire Metro area. We also spent a couple hours looking at the stadium – the site plan, the security perimeter, the seating requirements that are required to host a Super Bowl. A lot of venues and a lot of discussions about logistics and they also met with our corporate leadership and our civic leadership."
The group visited various Minneapolis and St. Paul hotels, team practice facility sites, and potential venues for Super Bowl hospitality and event spaces. Those venues included the Union Depot, Minneapolis Convention Center, the Minneapolis Depot, the Armory, Orchestra Hall, and others. Also scheduled during the site visit was a trip to the New Stadium Preview Center, where the reps heard from HKS Architects on the new stadium design, particularly as it relates to security procedures and expanding the seating.
"I found Frank, as well as the rest of the NFL staff, to be very specific about things we should focus on, things we should think about and ways we could improve our bid and, kind of from the NFL perspective, what really it is they're going to be looking for," said Michele Kelm-Helgen, Chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, said about the experience.
The NFL reps will also conduct a site visit at the other two finalists for Super Bowl LII, Indianapolis and New Orleans. The final vote by the 32 NFL team owners will be held in May 2014.
"It's been a terrific experience," Supovitz said. "The hospitality has been tremendous and the venue tours have been exactly what we need to see. You've got a great new stadium that is being developed here and is actually under construction. It's great to see it out of the ground, and there are a lot of great new things in the Twin Cities area that have been wonderful to rediscover while we are here."