City leaders celebrate winning Super Bowl bid

Credit: Image courtesy Meet Minneapolis

Community leaders are reveling the opportunity to have all eyes on Minneapolis in 2018 when the city hosts the Super Bowl in the new Vikings stadium.

Mayor Betsy Hodges, who has lobbied for increased bragging about the city to foster more growth, said she relishes the chance to use the game as a springboard to draw attention to Minneapolis.

“I am thrilled that Minneapolis will host the 2018 Super Bowl. This is our opportunity to shine on a nationwide and worldwide platform and to brag like crazy about how great we are for the next four years,” she said.

Minneapolis Downtown Council CEO Steve Cramer said the city is ready for the international spotlight. It’s a more dynamic place than it was two decades ago when it last hosted the game. 

“Just as the Super Bowl itself is a vastly larger and more all encompassing event today than it was when last we hosted in 1992, our city is a very different place,” he said. “[It’s] more diverse, more cosmopolitan, more urban and more green. The exposure this new Minneapolis will receive will cement our place as one of the great American cities.”

U.S. Sen. Al Franken said the state’s winning bid is exciting for the “entire Midwest region” and congratulated community leaders involved in putting it together. 

“Minnesota has a great story to tell and I’m sure we’ll all get to work to ensure that the 2018 Super Bowl  is an experience to remember for the hundreds of millions of people across the country and around the world who will have all eyes on Minnesota,” he said. 

City Council President Barb Johnson predicted the game will bring new visitors to the city who will return later. “We will get tremendous exposure for our region. I am very happy for the hospitality industry which will benefit the most,” she said. 

New City Council Member Jacob Frey (Ward 3), who represents the stadium area, said he’s “beyond pumped” by the news of the state’s winning bid. 

“We all know Minneapolis is a world class city. Now we have the opportunity to prove it to the rest of the world,” he said. “The Super Bowl could be the springboard that vaults us to the next level.”

Minneapolis officials estimate the city will incur $5.5 million to $6 million in expenses for services related to the Super Bowl, but private fundraising will cover the costs, said Matt Laible, a spokesman for the city. The projected expenses include $5.2 million for public safety, $240,000 for street closures around the stadium, $54,000 for traffic control and $9,000 in lost meter revenue.

The Minnesota Super Bowl Committee beat out Indianapolis and New Orleans for the chance to bring Super Bowl LII to the new Vikings stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2016.

The 65,400-seat stadium will be expanded to 72,000 seats to accommodate the Super Bowl. 

The last time Minneapolis hosted the massive sporting event was in 1992. 

U.S. Bank CEO Richard Davis, Ecolab CEO Doug Baker and Marilyn Carlson-Nelson, former chair and CEO of Carlson Cos., led the state’s Super Bowl Committee. They delivered a presentation May 20 to all 32 NFL owners in Atlanta.

“We are thrilled to bring the Super Bowl back to Minnesota,” Davis said. “We succeeded in making the best case to the NFL owners by pointing out the many strengths our region offers — a tremendous entertainment and hospitality industry, strong connectivity with both our light rail and skyway systems, and perhaps most important, a new, iconic stadium that will be among the best in the industry.”

Baker said event organizers plan to “set the bar high for all northern destinations that host the Super Bowl.” 

“The Super Bowl is the most-watched annual event in the world,” he said. “This unprecedented audience, along with the 100,000 people who come to experience it in person, will see this vibrant, engaged community that celebrates all that winter can be when we showcase everything from outdoor activities on Nicollet Mall’s Super Bowl Boulevard to an ice palace at the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.”

Boosters of bringing the Super Bowl to Minnesota have suggested the region could see a potential economic impact of $324 million from hosting the game and draw an estimated 100,000 visitors. Economists, however, who study the impact of Super Bowls urge people to be skeptical of projected gains, noting the figures are often overblown.

When Minnesota hosted the Super Bowl in 1992, the host committee proposed creating a NFL Legacy Program that provides money to local charities. As part of the 2018 game, Minnesota charities supporting programs for children will get $2 million.

“It’s only fitting that 26 years later we will once again have an opportunity to work with the NFL to carry out a new community legacy that will have a positive impact on Minnesota children,” Carlson-Nelson said.