The road to building a new multi-purpose, people’s stadium followed a number of twists and turns. It will be the next great Minnesota sports facility in a line of memorable stadiums beginning with Metropolitan Stadium.
Metropolitan Stadium was built for the Minneapolis Millers minor league baseball team in 1956. It was expanded for major league sports when the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings came to town in 1961. While the Vikings did play home games there, the field at its core was designed for baseball. The stadium only seated 47,000 fans for football, and provided limited fan amenities and team revenues.
The Minnesota Vikings desired a new, state-of-the-art home built specifically for football, and Minneapolis officials wanted to have that home in downtown. Construction of a new stadium, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, began in December 1979 and was completed in April 1982. The final price was $55 million. The Metrodome is the only venue to host a Major League Baseball All-Star Game, a Super Bowl, a NCAA Final Four and a World Series.
Plans to replace the Metrodome began in 2007 when the Minnesota Vikings and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission made their first pitch to the Minnesota legislature at the end of the 2007 session. Conversations to replace the Metrodome continued through the next several legislative sessions. During the 2011-2012 legislative sessions, several stadium plans were introduced, including options to build a new stadium on the current Metrodome site, the Minneapolis Farmers Market and the former Twin Cities Army Ammunitions Plant (TCAPP) in Arden Hills.
In March 2012, Governor Mark Dayton announced a three-party agreement permitting a new people’s stadium to be built on the site of the Metrodome, pending approval by the state legislature and the Minneapolis City Council. The agreement required the Minnesota Vikings to pay more than 50 percent of the construction and operating costs during the stadium’s lifecycle, the most any team has invested for its own stadium. Additionally, the Minnesota Vikings committed to playing at the stadium for at least the next 30 years. The new stadium plan was financed using existing convention center and hospitality taxes in Minneapolis, and allowing electronic charitable pull tabs in bars and restaurants in Minnesota.
In May 2012, the Minnesota Legislature approved funding for a new multi-purpose stadium and Governor Dayton signed the bill. The Minneapolis City Council also approved the stadium plan.
The Minnesota Vikings will continue to play in the Metrodome during the first phases of construction. The team will then move to TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus for one season as the Metrodome is razed for the new stadium. Construction is expected to start in late 2013.
Photo courtesy of Gov. Mark Dayton's office