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Minnesota wants to host Super Bowl: 'It's our time'

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is ramping up its campaign to get the 2018 Super Bowl in the new Vikings stadium at a time when construction has barely begun.

"It's our time, it's our moment and we are ready," said Richard Davis, chairman of U.S. Bancorp and one of three leaders of a committee to organize the effort.

Unlike Sunday's Super Bowl, to be near New York City in New Jersey, Davis today promised it will be "70 degrees and clear" in the new downtown Minneapolis enclosed stadium on Feb. 4, 2018. Forecasters say temperatures will be in the 30s for this weekend's Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.

Davis and others pushing for a Minnesota NFL championship game couldn't say how much money they need to make the pitch to land the game. However, community efforts to lure a Super Bowl elsewhere have cost up to $40 million. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said no public money would be spent.

Organizers of the Minnesota effort said they expect up to a $500 million economic impact from a Super Bowl. Indianapolis says it received a $324 million boost when it hosted the event in 2012.

Dayton and his economic development commissioner said they will do everything possible to include greater Minnesota vendors if the Super Bowl is played in Minneapolis. But they weren't specific about how they would do that.

The governor said added revenue to the Twin Cities will help the state, including provide more taxes to Minnesota.

One rural legislator was not convinced that Dayton should have made the Super Bowl announcement when temperatures were 12 degrees below zero in St. Paul and many in the state faced problems.

"At a time when greater Minnesotans are facing adversity due to a costly and crippling propane gas shortage, and the entire state is suffering thanks to his failed implementation of Obamacare in Minnesota, Gov. Dayton once again is distracted," Assistant House Minority Leader Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, said. "Bringing a Super Bowl to Minnesota was supposed to be a foregone conclusion with a new stadium agreement, so why is the governor attempting to put this back in the news?"

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said Minnesota has a good chance of landing the Super Bowl for a couple of reasons.

The NFL has been trying to reward communities that are building new stadiums, plus the other two finalists for the 2018 game, Indianapolis and New Orleans, have hosted Super Bowls since Minnesota's previous time hosting the big game. The only other Minnesota Super Bowl was Jan. 26, 1992, 10 years after the Metrodome opened.

The new stadium, due for completion by the 2016 football season, replaces the Metrodome, which workers have begun tearing down.

Dayton and others backing the Super Bowl bid will be in New York and New Jersey this weekend.

The governor plans to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Saturday, after attending the commissioner's ball Friday night. Minnesota committee members will meet with organizers of Sunday's game.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.