In December 2010, the roof of the Metrodome collapsed, forcing the Minnesota Vikings to play in TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota.
Now, with the construction of a new Vikings’ stadium, the team will be back in TCF for at least one season, and excited business owners expect the move to help the area.
University President Eric Kaler is expected to sign a letter of intent in the upcoming weeks, which would allow the team to play at TCF Bank Stadium for up to four consecutive NFL seasons.
Although the deal is still a few years out, Nancy Rose Pribyl, president of the Stadium Village Commercial Association, said local business owners are looking forward to the boost in revenue generated by the new fans in the area.
“People that could afford professional athletic tickets have some spare money in their wallets,” she said
The event goes beyond the activities at the stadium, Pribyl said. She expects many fans will spend the day shopping and dining in the area.
“It’s a huge shot in the arm for businesses around here,” said Campus Pizza managing partner Jim Rosvold.
Rosvold and other commercial figures said future games will be better for businesses than the 2010 game, where general admission seating caused fans to wait outside the stadium long before the game. This time, fans have more time to go to local bars and restaurants before heading to their seats.
The University will also benefit financially from the deal.
Vikings will pay $250,000 to the University per game but along with profits generated from concessions, sponsorship and advertising, the University could make an estimated $300,000 every time the Vikings play in the stadium. With two pre-season games and eight regular season games, the University stands to make $3 million in one season, according to a University press release.
While having large crowds on campus can have a positive financial impact, local residents are concerned about increased noise and traffic to the area, said city Councilman Cam Gordon.
Residents told Gordon that when the Vikings played at the stadium in 2010, traffic was worse than regular Gopher game days.
“Everything just seemed a little bit more intense,” he said.
Overall, unfamiliarity with the area will be the biggest issue for Vikings fans who travel from all over the state, including from outside of the state, Pribyl said.
Many residents also worry about fan behavior, Gordon said.
Pribyl said residents are concerned with fan conduct on campus and worry that they will not be respectful of the area.
There will be “professional tailgaters” at the Vikings games, said Dinkytown Rentals owner Tim Harmsen. “You’re not just going to have these wannabes, you’re going to have some serious drinkers. They bring their own party with them, which is fun.”
Kaler said the University would work with surrounding communities to address concerns.
“We’ve been in conversations with representatives of the city, and we intend to be a good partner with them to help mitigate the Vikings’ impact when they play.”
Concerns have been raised within various neighborhood associations, but for most, the games are too far in advance to propose a definite plan of action.
“Ideas are percolating, but we haven’t formed a real plan yet,” said executive director of Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association Melissa Bean.
MHNA will most likely modify the plans set by the Stadium Area Advisory Group, which was developed prior to the construction of TCF Bank Stadium to address game day and stadium related issues, Bean said.
The advisory group is comprised of representatives from different business organizations in the neighborhood. Pribyl said the members are supportive of the local communities and plan to work with them to minimize problems.
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