The $975 million indoor stadium that Minneapolis is scheduled to open for the 2016 National Football League season won a three-city bidding battle to host the 2018 Super Bowl.
Minneapolis has hosted one previous Super Bowl, in 1992 when the Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills at the Metrodome. In yesterday’s vote of team owners in Atlanta, Minneapolis won out over New Orleans, a 10-time Super Bowl host, and Indianapolis, which staged the NFL title game in 2012 when the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots.
Construction began in December on the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium, which will receive about $500 million in taxpayer funds.
“It was the centerpiece of our Super Bowl bid,” Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf said in a news conference. “We emphasized that we’re at a critical juncture of our stadium. It will help the community realize that this is a world-class venue. I think the league has recognized that as well.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the new stadium increased the appeal of the Minneapolis bid among owners.
“It’s a big factor and drives influence from an owner’s perspective,” Goodell said in a news conference. “The size of this event and the impact it has on communities is creating more interest. It’s much more competitive.”
U.S. Bancorp Chief Executive Officer Richard Davis, who served as co-chairman of Minneapolis’s bid committee, said he anticipates at least 100,000 visitors will come to the city for the game, where the average temperature in February is 29 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 Celsius).
While Goodell said hosting a game in a cold-weather city can present logistical challenges, he said he doesn’t think it will discourage football fans from attending the game.
“People make the choice,” he said. “If people want to play golf, it might not be the first choice they’re going to make, but people come to the Super Bowl for a variety of reasons. Minneapolis will be prepared for it.”
New Orleans, which will celebrate its 300th year in 2018, hosted the game in 2013, when a blackout at the Superdome delayed play for 38 minutes. Indianapolis will host college basketball’s Final Four in 2015.
Next year’s Super Bowl will be in Arizona and the 50th Super Bowl will be at Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers. The 2017 game is set for Houston.
While owners also discussed the possibility of expanding the playoffs to 14 teams from 12, the expansion won’t happen before the 2015 season, Goodell said.
Currently, 16 of 30 teams in the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association qualify for the playoffs. In Major League Baseball, 10 of 30 teams advance to the postseason.