Super Bowl LII (2018)
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U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Super Bowl LII to be held in January 2018 will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the first time since 1992. The other two other cities bidding to host the Super Bowl in 2018 were Indianapolis and New Orleans, who last hosted in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Minneapolis is home to the Minnesota Vikings who play in the National Football Conference (NFC) North Division and is the 16th largest metropolitan area in the United States with a population of 3.5mm people. Alongside St. Paul, it forms the ‘twin cities,’ the largest business region between Chicago and Seattle, and offers a modern light rail system, international airport, and the acclaimed Mall of America, one of the largest malls in America.
The Minnesota Vikings have competed in the NFL since 1961 when they were an expansion team; however, they have yet to capture a championship, losing all four of their appearances in the Super Bowl to date.
The successful Minneapolis bid centered around a state-of-the-art new stadium and a legacy project for the local community. The strapline of the bid was ‘built for the bold’ and the new USBank Stadium, opened in July 2016 at a cost of $1bln, seems to have been the decisive factor, with NFL owners citing the award of the Super Bowl to a new stadium as a ‘great NFL tradition.’
The new stadium seats 66,000 for regular games and is expandable to 73,000 for events such as the Super Bowl, which comfortably meets the selection criteria of at least 70,000 seats. The stadium features a fixed roof, rather than a more expensive retractable roof, and is made of 60% translucent Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene. It spans 240,000 square feet, the largest in North America, and is able to endure heavy snow loads that are customary in this part of the country. The stadium houses 131 suites of 7 different types, including 23 ‘turf suites’ located directly on the field. In addition, there are also 6 club spaces, with private entry, restrooms, VIP parking and a la carte food and beverage options.
As well as the decisive factor of the new stadium, other key criteria for the winning bid were said to be the international airport, with a greater capacity than either New Orleans or Indianapolis.
Although details of the entertainment that will be on offer at the Super Bowl 2018 remain sketchy, initial plans indicate that the Mall of America will sit at the center of the fan action and will facilitate the ease with which the thousands of people that descend on the city will navigate the twin cities. The Mall of America will, in fact, double in size by 2018, to incorporate four new hotels. This was a factor that the other bidding cities were simply unable to compete with according to US Bank Corp CEO Richard Davis, a key member of the delegation. A further factor in the decision was the legacy fund to ensure that, beyond the single day of the Super Bowl itself, there will be a continuing program of improvement that focuses on kids’ health, exercise, nutrition, and interest in sporting activities.
It has also been reported that the NFL had a long list of expensive demands of the host city for this particular selection process, including 35,000 parking spaces within 1 mile of the stadium, free use of billboards around the city, free police escorts for team owners and presidential suites.