I recently highlighted the history of Bills Stadium as well as all of the renovations that have taken place over the past four decades. Over the coming weeks, I will take a deep dive into the newer stadiums around the league. I’m going to explain the history, what makes them unique, and how they relate to a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. This week’s stadium review is the home of the Minnesota Vikings: U.S. Bank Stadium.
A Brief History of U.S. Bank Stadium
In May of 2012, the Minnesota Legislature and the Minneapolis City Council approved funding for a new $975 million stadium to replace the Minneapolis Metrodome, then the Vikings’ home. Construction on the new stadium began in late 2013 and the project was completed in two and a half years. The total cost of the stadium was $1.1 Billion. U.S. Bank Stadium opened on July 22, 2016, as the stadium hosted a two-day public open house, welcoming over 190,000 local community members to check out the new facility.
On February 4, 2018, U.S. Bank Stadium hosted Super Bowl LII. U.S. Bank Stadium also hosted the NCAA Men’s Final Four in April of 2019. The event was a success. More importantly, it proved that Minneapolis could host major sporting events. U.S. Bank Stadium was awarded the bid to become the first NFL stadium to host the NCAA DI Wrestling Championships in March 2020.
What Makes it Unique
U.S. Bank Stadium has many unique features that make it stand out from other stadiums in the NFL. First off, the stadium features a mostly clear roof. 60 percent of the stadium’s roof is made of ETFE (ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene), giving fans an outdoor experience despite it being an indoor stadium.
Another unique feather to the stadium’s signature design is the Legacy Gate. It is made up of five of the world’s largest glass doors, each of which is 75 to 95 feet tall and 55 feet in diameter. The stadium also features 1,300 Wi-Fi access points throughout the facility. Each access point is mounted in the handrails of the stadium, allowing fans to have a fast internet connection. U.S. Bank Stadium also has 23 Turf Suites that put fans 25 feet away from the field. This gives fans a unique and close game-day experience.
The stadium also includes a 10,000 square-foot interactive area where fans can participate in combine-like activities like catching passes while wearing a virtual reality Vikings helmet, running the three-crone drill against a current Vikings player, and hitting a tackling sled that measures impact force. This area is free to fans of all ages during Vikings games.
Lastly, the stadium has a world-class menu from many local restaurants. The Vikings wanted to showcase some of the great food of the region, as they partnered with 20 local restaurants to make this happen.
What the Bills Could Make of U.S. Bank Stadium
I feel like I have repeated myself time and time again, but natural light for indoor stadiums is becoming more common. U.S Bank Stadium is no different with its 60/40 clear roof. I would have to suspect that this will be a feature for Buffalo’s new stadium.
Additionally, the fan interaction and experience were very much a priority when building the stadium. The interactive fan area, the local food, and even field-level seats all make the fan’s game-day experience extra special and unique. Although most fans would rather stay in their seats and watch the game, it’s things like this that are becoming more important in stadium construction.
I believe that if any stadium were to be the most like a potential new stadium for the Bills, it would be U.S. Bank Stadium. It’s modern and well built, yet nowhere near the price tag of SoFi Stadium and Allegiant Stadium. It seems to cater well to the Minneapolis community.
Time will tell on what the Bills do with their stadium. We can learn a little from U.S. Bank Stadium and what made this stadium special. What do you think? Is U.S. Bank Stadium a good starting for the Bills?