As the current Super Bowl week begins in New York, top officials in Minnesota are also kicking off their own campaign to lure the biggest football spectacle in the country to Minnesota in 2018. Gov. Mark Dayton held a Capitol press conference Monday morning to inaugurate that effort and announce the steering committee that is tasked with landing Super Bowl LII.
Minnesota is one of three finalists competing for that event, which could also be located in New Orleans, La. or Indianapolis, Ind. New Orleans has been the site of a record-tying 10 Super Bowls, and Indianapolis is coming off a successful hosting effort earlier this decade.
A pair of Dayton appointees will lead the public side of the team, with Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) chair Michele Kelm-Helgen and Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben picked to represent Minnesota’s delegation to the NFL. Clark Sieben said follow-up studies had shown the 2012 Super Bowl brought $324 million in total economic impact to Indianapolis and the surrounding area.
Clark Sieben added that the steering committee planned to rally labor and private sector support for its appeal to the NFL owners before their vote in May, but said public enthusiasm would also be crucial.
“We need everyone involved in this effort to bring the Super Bowl,” she said.
Dayton also introduced three business executives who will help woo the National Football League owners: Doug Baker, CEO of the technology and chemical company Ecolab; U.S. Bancorp president Richard Davis; and Marilyn Carlson Nelson, a philanthropist and former CEO of the Carlson hospitality corporation who is consistently ranked among the wealthiest Americans.
The steering committee membership is rounded out by Vikings vice president Lester Bagley, Minnesota Timberwolves CEO Rob Moor, and Melvin Tennant of Meet Minneapolis, a tourism and marketing organization that boosts the city as a destination.
Davis said the business community is firmly behind the bid to win hosting rights for the national television event, which he called “a chance to put us on the world stage.”
“We’re focused on making sure that this place is showcased, as it needs to be, in more places than just locally,” Davis said.
Almost instantly, concerns were brought up about how weather conditions might affect the Minneapolis campaign. High temperatures over the coming weekend are expected to be in the teens, and the relatively harsh conditions in the New York area have been a major storyline in the run-up to this year’s contest. The NFL has typically chosen to locate the game in a warm weather area: Aside from New Orleans, cities in south Florida and southern California have dominated among chosen venues. Bagley pointed out that the pro football league had begun to stray from that formula, and was now using the game as something of a reward for cities that had reached a financing deal to build a new stadium.
Kelm-Helgen said winter weather should not be a concern in the new Vikings stadium. Though the specialized, translucent roof will allow sunlight in, the stadium’s conditions indoors will still be perfect.
“You’ll feel like you’re outside,” Kelm-Helgen said, “even though it will be totally climate controlled.”
Dayton added that the NFL had initially been wary about locating its championship game in a cold weather locale, especially after a brutally cold Super Bowl held in Detroit in 1982. But the league came around on the idea after Minneapolis successfully hosted the 1992 Super Bowl at the Metrodome.
“People had a great time here, and as a result, the league’s been more receptive,” Dayton said.
The MSFA is also in talks with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to bring the Final Four college basketball event back to Minneapolis, and results of those negotiations are expected to be announced in November.
“We are beginning to actively market and sell our new stadium as we move forward,” Kelm-Helgen said.