Team owners initially preferred an open-air stadium to return to the franchise’s cold-weather roots at suburban Metropolitan Stadium, where the Vikings played – and sometimes froze – from 1961 to 1981.
But the only way to get public help in paying for the project was to enclose it, ensuring the ability to host other sports and events. The Vikings have submitted a bid to host a future Super Bowl, and local leaders have envisioned hosting NCAA basketball tournament games, big-name concerts and the like.
With NFL attendance in a tough competition for customers with today’s in-home high-definition televisions, the Vikings have also focused on creating a fan experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere, from special lounges for following fantasy football results to intimate sightlines to the sidelines. Two giant scoreboards will measure more than 50 feet by 120 feet each.
“It’s very important that fans feel they’re not watching it from a blimp, that they’re watching it from close to the field,” chief executive officer Zygi Wilf said last year after the bill was finalized. “That’s very, very important. We underestimate that when we go to other stadiums, the fan experience, sit in those seats and see how it would be, and a lot of stadiums don’t have the closeness as we’re trying to get here.”
Dozens of purple-jersey-clad fans snatched up the limited amount of free tickets available to the public, singing a couple of bars of the team fight song, “Skol Vikings,” before the program began.
They cheered the handful of key officials who helped shepherd the project to approval through the tricky channels of state and city politics. One of the luminaries who appeared on stage to tout the design was former Vikings head coach Bud Grant, who took the team to four Super Bowls.
“I’ve always been an advocate of outdoor football,” Grant said. “Not anymore.”<< previous 1 2 3 4 next >>