The NFL made Minneapolis jump through hoops to get the 2018 Super Bowl


In this artist’s rendering, a Super Bowl LII logo covers a seven-acre space for an NFL tailgate party next to the new stadium, top right, which is under construction in Minneapolis. The image was part of the presentation made to NFL team owners before they voted to hold the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis. (Minnesota Vikings/AP)

Minneapolis beat out Indianapolis and New Orleans to score hosting duties for Super Bowl LII last month, but not without sifting through 153 pages of demands from the NFL that ranged from ticket sale revenue guarantees to free presidential suites at top hotels. The Star Tribune, which scored a copy of the hefty NFL document, reports:

“The NFL’s requests covered everything from free access to three ‘top quality’ golf courses during the summer or fall before the Super Bowl, to free curbside parking at a yet-to-be designated NFL House — defined as a ‘high-end, exclusive drop-in hospitality facility for our most valued and influential guests to meet, unwind, network and conduct business.’ “

It’s unclear how many of the “specifications and requirements,” as the document calls them, the Minneapolis host committee actually agreed to. Via a letter to the Star Tribune, the host committee indicated that it did not agree to all of the NFL’s Super Bowl bid specifications, but enough to “[guarantee] that [more than] 100,000 visitors will descend on this community, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity.”

Predictably, not everyone is happy with the murkiness surrounding the Minneapolis bid.

“This is wrong. This is a huge public event. It should be transparent. We should know how the NFL operates,”  former Gov. Arne Carlson told the Star Tribune, while reminding everyone that Super Bowl LII is set to take place in the new $1 billion Vikings stadium that was built with a large amount of public financing. The Super Bowl itself will be offset by roughly $30 million in private monies, however.

Here are a few of the other incentives the NFL asked for, according to the document:

  • At least 20 color pages of free space, in aggregate, in leading daily newspapers to promote the Super Bowl
  • Four weeks of free promotions on at least six local radio stations, including no less than 250 ads
  • Free police escorts for team owners
  • 35,000 free parking spaces
  • Free billboards across the Twin Cities
  • Portable cellphone towers to ensure that team hotels have strong signals
  • Installation of ATMs that accept NFL preferred credit and debit cards and deactivation of ATMs that “conflict with NFL preferred payment services.”
  • Free use of two “top quality bowling alleys” for the Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic
  • 65 limousines — of makes no more than five years old — available for exclusive NFL use
  • NFL approval of concession menus
Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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