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Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

Aerial View

  Venue Particulars  
Address 500 11th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone (612) 332-0386
  Venue Resources  
Official Website
Seating Weather
Satellite View
Vikings Gear
Hotels, Dining & Deals in Minneapolis

  The Facility  
Date Opened April 2, 1982
Date Demolished April 2014
Metropolitan Sports Commission
(City of Minneapolis)
Surface SuperTurf
Cost of Construction $68 million
Stadium Financing City bond issue.
Stadium Architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Setter, Leach & Lindstrom, Inc
  Other Facts  
Former Tenants Minnesota Vikings
(NFL) (1982-2014)
Minnesota Twins
(MLB) (1982-2009)
Minnesota Golden Gophers
(NCAA Baseball) (1985)
Minnesota Strikers
(NASL) (1984)
Minnesota Timberwolves
(NBA) (19891990)
Minnesota Golden Gophers
(NCAA) (1982-2008)
Population Base 2,870,000
On Site Parking 500
Nearest Airport Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport (MSP)
Retired Numbers #10 Fran Tarkenton
#53 Mick Tingelhoff
#70 Jim Marshall
#77 Korey Stringer
#80 Chris Carter
#88 Alan Page

Capacity 64,035
Average Ticket $67.94
Fan Cost Index (FCI) $361.72
The Team Marketing Report FCI includes: four average-price tickets; four small soft drinks; two small beers; four hot dogs; two game programs; parking; and two adult-size caps.
Baseball 46,564
Luxury Suites 113 Suites
Club Seats None
  Attendance History  
Season  Total  Capacity Change
1993 458,424 89% 1.1%
1994 474,744 93% 3.6%
1995 448,779 88% -5.5%
1996 449,944 88% 0.3%
1997 486,921 95% 8.2%
1998 510,741 100% 5%
1999 513,051 100% 0.45%
2000 513,394 100% 0.1%

2001 2002 2003 2004
513,344 512,517 513,417 512,969

2005 2006 2007 2008
511,960 509,743 506,046 506,136

2009 2010 2011 2012
510,203 470,009 502,529 485,802

2013 2014
448,135 417,906

1993-2014 - Attendance figures are for Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
2010 Attendance figures are skewed as the Vikings had to play at Ford Field and TCF Bank Stadium for one game each due to the roof of the Metrodome collapsing.
2013 Attendance figures are for seven games as the Vikings played in London.

Sources: Mediaventures

History of the Metrodome
The road to creating the Metrodome followed a number of twists and turns. The Dome was almost derailed a number of times. We invite you to learn more about the road people traveled on the way to making the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome "Minnesota's Rec Room."

What Was Wrong With Metropolitan Stadium?
Bloomington's 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 played games there, the field at its core was a baseball stadium. It only seated 47,000 fans for football, and provided limited fan amenities and team revenues. The Vikings desired a new state-of-the-art home built for football, and the City of Minneapolis wanted to have that home in their downtown. Others had their eyes on wooing the Vikings, too, including Bloomington, St. Paul, the University of Minnesota, Eagan and Brooklyn Center.

A Rock of Ages

When one considers that the rock supposedly found its way to Minneapolis a mere 11,000 years ago, who can blame it for not wanting to move again? After all, a change of scenery every eleven thousand years can be unsettling. So, the rock resisted all attempts to dislodge it, move it, crush it, blast it. In short, it had the excavators between a rock and... well, you get the idea. Meanwhile, it captured local public sentiment and substantial media attention.

By coincidence, First Bank Minneapolis was opening a branch in the western Minneapolis suburb of Plymouth. Bank officials decided that a more natural landmark could not be found for the new branch than... "Plymouth Rock."

Nearly two months after it exhibited a will of its own, the rock became a major exhibit as it was loaded onto two side-by-side flatbed trailers, a railroad car, again onto the flatbed trailers and transported to First Bank Minneapolis's Plymouth branch.

And today? The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is complete. Players play. Cheerleaders cheer. Crowds applaud. And the rock breathes a sigh of relief that it may not have to move for another 10,998 years.

Mark Hequet is a freelance writer living in St. Paul.

Reprinted with permission of MSP Communications.

Robert Cerny's Futuristic Vision
The idea for a domed stadium was actually conceived in the late 1960s when a Minneapolis architect named Robert Cerny introduced a concept of a domed football stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Over the next decade Cerny's idea became a political football. There was talk of a domed Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, a dome at the State Fairgrounds, a dome over Memorial Stadium and several other places in between. In the early 1970s, talk about a new stadium began to get serious. It had to. In 1975 the Minnesota Vikings' and Minnesota Twins' Metropolitan Stadium use agreements were set to expire.

A Move by Minneapolis
With the teams' use agreements about to expire, Minneapolis city leaders saw an opportunity to bring professional sports downtown and perhaps put Robert Cerny's vision to work. In 1972, downtown stadium advocates developed a proposal for a $49.1 million stadium and parking ramp. Nearly 1,000 people showed up at a public hearing in 1973 to roundly shoot it down. Minneapolis Mayor Charles Stenvig promised to vote down the dome proposal (although many said he actually supported the project). He was following the sentiment of many taxpayers who saw it as an unwelcome financial weight that they'd have to bear. Mayor Stenvig followed through on his veto promise. However, the Minneapolis City Council overrode his veto by a vote of 10-3. The proposal then went to the 7-person Board of Estimate and Taxation (which had to approve the bond sale for the project) where things began to get really interesting.

Minneapolis' Move Stalls
The Board of Estimate and Taxation had 7 members, 5 of whom had to vote "yes" for the Metrodome proposal to pass. Mayor Stenvig, who served on the board, had to uphold his city council vote and vote against the proposal. Board member Donald Hanson also indicated he'd vote against it. The remaining five members said they were in support of the proposal. It looked as though the proposal was a done deal. However, it was then discovered that board member Alfred Hum no longer lived in the City of Minneapolis and had moved to Golden Valley.

Mayor Stenvig had to appoint a replacement. All of his nominees were either against the stadium or refused to say how they would vote. The City Council turned down each of Stenvig's nominees. Mayor Stenvig then told the City Council that he would not appoint another member to the board, effectively blocking the stadium vote. Later that year an amendment was passed after a petition drive. It required public approval on all projects over $15 million, which required borrowed money to pay for them.

Task Force Formed
With the stadium proposal stalled in 1973, Minneapolis business leader Harvey Mackay recruited 26 people to serve on a Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce Stadium Task Force. The executive director of the Task Force was Charles Krusell. He played a vital role in the success of the Task Force. Meanwhile, as the issue moved into 1974, Bloomington city leaders were working to make the case for keeping the stadium in their community. The Minneapolis Chamber Stadium Task Force conducted a $25,000 feasibility study. Bloomington held a lavish football weekend for lawmakers and others to see a game, stay at a Bloomington hotel and learn about the issue.

The football weekend and feasibility study didn't move some legislators. "The proposal for a new multi-purpose stadium is dead," said St. Paul Senator John Chenoweth, "and the reason is that taxpayers are unwilling to sign a blank check. We're interested in having the Vikings stay, but the question is: what is the price?"

In April of 1975, Governor Wendell Anderson said that he was convinced that the Twins and Vikings would leave the state without passage of stadium legislation.

The Vikings' general manager-vice president Mike Lynn wanted a new stadium -- not a shared stadium with the Gophers or a renovated stadium. "The idea of playing in the college stadium is even more repugnant than playing in Metropolitan Stadium," Lynn said.

The No-Site Bill
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
After much wrangling in the 1975, 1976 and 1977 legislative sessions, a no-site bill -- the idea of Rep. Al Patton (DFL-Sartell) -- was finally passed in 1977. The bill created a seven-member citizens commission appointed by Governor Rudy Perpich. This commission selected the stadium site and design. A revenue bonding package was developed to finance the stadium. If revenue streams to support the bonds were not sufficient to retire the bonds, a two-percent metropolitan area liquor tax would be imposed to generate additional bond revenues. The commission was held to certain financial parameters:

* It could spend up to $37.5 million if it chose to build a new football stadium in Bloomington and improve Metropolitan Stadium for baseball.

*It could spend up to $25 million if it chose to remodel Metropolitan Stadium as a multi-purpose stadium.

*And it could spend no more than $55 million if it decided to build a new domed stadium anywhere else. In effect, if any other city than Bloomington wanted the stadium, it would have to provide for a way to get the land at no cost.

Minneapolis Makes its Move
Following passage of the bill, the Minneapolis Chamber formed the Stadium Site Task Force, chaired by John Cowles, Jr., president of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Company. It called for the creation of the Industry Square Development Corporation, which would provide the City of Minneapolis with a locally owned development company. In exchange for the stadium land, the company would receive exclusive development rights in the Industry Square area. The Minneapolis City Council approved the plan. In late 1978, the Industry Square Development Corporation obtained $14.5 million from Twin Cities companies to purchase the land where the Metrodome now stands. Minneapolis became a competitor in the battle to be selected as the stadium site.

The New Stadium Commission
The newly formed Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission was designed to be geographically diverse. Two of the seven commissioners had to reside outside the Twin Cities. One each was to come from Minneapolis, Saint Paul, the southern metropolitan suburban area and the northern suburban area. The chair had to reside outside of the Twin Cities. The commission's appointees in 1977 were:

* Don Brutger -- A resident of Saint Cloud, Brutger served as the Commission's chair and was the owner of a St. Cloud construction company and numerous other business holdings.

* Solveig Premack -- A Minneapolis resident, Premack served as vice chair of the Capitol Area Architectural Planning Board.

* Richard Radman -- A Saint Paul appointee, Radman was vice president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO and secretary and business representative of the Saint Paul Building and Construction Trades Council.

* Marion Kennon -- A resident of Edina, Kennon was an elementary school teacher at Breck.

* Ron Gornick -- A resident of Chisholm, Gornick owned a Chisholm service station and motel. He had also served on Governor Wendell Anderson's Small Business Task Force.

* Josephine Nunn -- She was mayor of Champlin and a member of the Metropolitan Council's advisory committee on municipalities.

* Kelly Gage -- A lawyer from Mankato, Gage was a former state representative from Blue Earth County.

* Donald Poss served as the commission's first executive director. He had been the Brooklyn Center city manager.

Selecting the Stadium Site
The commission received eight proposals for a stadium. Two came from Minneapolis. One came from Bloomington and another from Saint Paul. Then there was the "Midway" area proposal for a site between Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Other entries came from Brooklyn Center, Coon Rapids, and Eagan. In the end, the choice came down to Minneapolis and Bloomington. The commission could either build a stadium on the site in Bloomington or sell that land and build on the Minneapolis site.

The vote passed 4-3 to make the Metrodome a reality.

Designing and Building the Metrodome
Construction of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis started in December of 1979. The commission wanted the Metrodome to be an "austere but a quality and aesthetically pleasing structure."

The design team included Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Minneapolis-based Setter, Leach & Lindstrom, Inc. SOM, one of the world's largest architectural firms, had designed the Pillsbury Center, Lutheran Brotherhood headquarters and Minneapolis City Center. Setter, Leach & Lindstrom, Inc., has done a number of major Twin Cities projects, including design of the Fairview-St. Mary's Medical Office Building, the Minneapolis Convention Center and the James J. Hill House restoration. New York-based Geiger Berger Associates designed the Metrodome's roof.

Overseeing Metrodome construction was Construction Management Services of Minneapolis and Detroit-based Barton-Malow. Approximately 80 companies were awarded contracts to participate in the construction of the Metrodome, with most of the labor from Minnesota construction workers. On January 2, 1980, shortly after excavation had started, bulldozers encountered an immovable force - a 250,000-pound granite rock, believed to have been there for about 11,000 years. The rock was eventually moved to a bank in Plymouth, Minn., dubbed "Plymouth Rock" and construction continued.

The Dome was inflated on October 2, 1981 and the stadium was completed in April 1982. The project was completed on time and unlike many new stadiums today -- under budget. The final price came in at $55 million.

The First Years at the Metrodome
Forty-eight days after the Dome was inflated, a major storm dumped more than 10 inches of heavy wet snow on the Dome. The weight of the snow caused the roof to partially deflate. A rip in the roof was caused when a bolt snapped, leaving a sharp piece of steel to tear through the fabric. Air escaped through the tear and the Dome deflated. The rip was repaired and the Dome was re-inflated within four days. The fabric roof has torn a few times since then, but it has only postponed an event or game once - in April of 1983, a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and California.

The first Twins regular season game at the Metrodome was April 6, 1982 versus the Seattle Mariners. The Twins fell to the Mariners 11-7. The first Vikings regular-season home game was September 12, 1982, when the Vikings beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-10.


Honoring Hubert H. Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey, former Minneapolis Mayor, U.S. Senator and U.S. Vice President, loved Minnesota. He was a big sports fan and rooted for the Vikings and Twins at every chance. Because of his dedication to the state and to teamwork, the Metrodome was named in his honor -- The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

Celebrating 20 Years as Minnesota's Rec Room
The Metrodome, as the country's only public stadium that does not rely on a continuing tax subsidy to finance operations, maintenance or debt payments, has truly established itself as Minnesota's Rec Room during the past 20 years.

* The Metrodome is the only stadium in the world to have hosted all of the following: the NFL Super Bowl (1992), Major League Baseball's All-Star Game (1985), two World Series (1987, 1991), and the Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship (1992, 2001).

* Out of more than 300 event days per year at the Metrodome, less than 100 feature professional or major college sports. The rest of the event days are used by high schools and colleges, concerts, community activities and other events.

* The Metrodome hosts boys' and girls' high schools from throughout Minnesota for athletic and other events and small college athletic competitions.

* More than half a million people have come to the Metrodome to see concerts by major performers such as Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Guns N' Roses, Faith No More, Metallica, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and The Grateful Dead.

  • * The Metrodome is the only major facility in Minnesota big enough to host major motorsports events.

    * The Metrodome draws more than 4,000 runners and 30,000 inline skaters per year. Co-ed volleyball and touch football leagues bring in 2,000 people per week to the Metrodome between October and February.

    The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which opened in 1982, is financially self-supporting. It is the only public stadium in the country that does not rely on a continuing tax subsidy to finance operations, maintenance or debt payments. The Metrodome is owned and operated by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC), which was established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1977. Its original purpose was to act as a nonpartisan body in selectiong a site for a new stadium thaat would serve the long-term interests of the metropolitan area. Although many interests competed for the stadium's location, in the end it was metrowide and statewide cooperation that got the stadium built.

    "Baseball purists complain about the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, but football fans like it better. The team has done well at home since moving here, and fans have been treated to what, in general, is a comfortable environment. Vikings fans tend to be much older than Twins fans, and sitting indoors on a December day in Minnesota is just fine with most of them. The Vikings crowd is notoriously quiet except during the most exciting moments of the games. In fact, many younger fans who like to get rowdy often are told to sit down and shut up by folks behind them. It's quite a departure from the old days at the Met, where tailgating was allowed and many fans kept warm with flasks.

    Despite seats angled for the best football watching, the Metrodome recently has become a somewhat annoying place to watch a game - even for football fans. That's because the huge color replay scoreboards show commercials at least as often as they show replays. And with the roof holding the volume in, the ads are very loud. That might be one big reason that attendance has declined steadily over the last decade, despite the team's success.

    Former Bears coach Mike Ditka often criticized the stadium, helping the Metrodome get in the news regularly. He once called it a big livestock hall, and the Vikings responded by putting huge fake cows and other animals on the field. When he called it the "Rollerdome", the Vikings had all their cheerleaders wear in-line skates. The Vikings miss Ditka."

    As written by The Sports Staff of USA TODAY in "The Complete Four Sport Stadium Guide" for Fodor's Sports

    The Day the Dome Went Down

    Just 48 days after an elaborate ceremony marking the inflation of the Metrodome, the first heavy snow of the winter season arrived and the Dome went down.

    The stadium's roof, after partially collapsing the day before, completely deflated under the weight of 10.2 inches of heavy, wet snow. Stadium authorities blamed the deflation on a large rip in the roof, caused by a puncture in the panel of the fabric on the north side of the stadium. There were no injuries, and the roof was repaired and reinflated four days later, before the next snow could have done more serious damage.

    The rip was caused when a bolt snapped, bending a piece of steel which slashed through the fabric roof. The roof is kept in place by air pressure from up to 20 fans inside the stadium, and the dome collapsed when air escaped through the hole.

    News of the deflation, along with the heaviest Twin Cities snowfall since Nov. 17, 1978, was carried on all three network evening news shows and was featured at halftime and before games the following Sunday and Monday on various National Football League telecasts.

    Marc Hequet is a freelance writer living in St. Paul.

    Reprinted with permission of MSP Communications.

    November 19, 1981 Metrodome roof deflated because of a tear caused by heavy snow.

    December 30, 1982 Metrodome roof deflated because of a tear caused by heavy snow.

    April 14, 1982 Metrodome roof deflated because of a tear caused by heavy snow and the scheduled Twin's game with California was postponed. It is the only postponement in Metrodome history.

    April 26, 1986 Metrodome roof suffered slight tear because of high winds, causing a nine-minute delay in the bottom of the seventh inning vs. California.

    January 16, 1999 - Ira Miller, San Francisco Chronicle
    Nothing is quite as noisy in the NFL as a small, indoor stadium with a good home team. The Metrodome is among the smallest of the NFL's domed stadiums. And the Vikings are good.

    In November, the Packers complained about on-field speakers that added to the din. The Cardinals complained about it last week. The Falcons, who have their own dome-field advantage in Atlanta, used four speakers to simulate noise at practice this week instead of the two they usually use before they go on the road.

    It's not a coincidence that the Vikings allowed 93 points in eight regular-season games at home, and 203 on the road. Visiting teams can't hear the signals called when it gets so loud. It's hard to change a play at the line. It leads to false start penalties and other confusion.

    And the Vikings aren't apologizing for it.

    "I think it's very difficult on the opponent," conceded Dennis Green, Minnesota's coach. "I think (new owner) Red McCombs felt he wanted a noisy stadium. As a dome team, that gives you an advantage. All the good teams have noisy stadiums."

    The Vikings played in four Super Bowls in the late '60s and the '70s when their home was outdoors at Metropolitan Stadium. That gave them a different kind of homefield advantage: frostbite. Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant wouldn't let his players use sideline heaters, and he never like the dome because he thought it made teams soft.

    But these Vikings - and, for that matter, the Falcons - are built to play indoors. Particularly on defense, they rely on smallish, quicker players who are made faster by the sure footing of artificial turf.

    May 6, 1999
    Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

    Red McCombs continued his grass-roots pitch for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings by telling auto and truck dealers gathered for a meeting that the team needs "a facility fix." A former car dealer, McCombs told the group that the team needs a new stadium with more luxury suites and club seats. He also said public financing would be needed to help build the stadium.

    McCombs, as new owner of the team, has been speaking before various groups, restating the team's need for a new stadium to be competitive.

    July 22, 1999
    Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

    Two thirds of Minnesota residents are strongly opposed to using public money to help build sports venues for the MLB Twins or NFL Vikings, according to a new poll conducted for the Star-Tribune and KMSP-TV. Four out of five are opposed to the idea. The results are 6% higher than similar polls taken last year during the legislative debate on funding a new ballpark.

    Both Minneapolis and St. Paul are developing plans to build a new ballpark and the Vikings are hoping to win support for a new stadium for themselves and the University of Minnesota. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which operates the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, has also announced a plan to renovate the facility for one of the teams, so the other could build a new venue. Officials of both cities did not dispute the results of the polls, but said the issue is far from dead. Legislators last year failed to show even weak support for public funding, saying their constituents were opposed.

    Meanwhile the Good Government subcommittee of the St. Paul Charter Commission is proposing a ballot initiative that would block public money from being spent on professional sports venues without voter approval. The subcommittee wants the measure to appear on the ballot this fall with the mayor's proposal, but the chairman of the group opposes the move and says the commission should not get involved.

    June 17, 1999
    Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

    While the NFL Vikings and MLB Twins say they need a new, individual stadia, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) says there is still life in the Metrodome and it can be renovated to meet the needs of one of the teams. The commission this week outlined two plans, one for each team, that it believes could provide a low-cost alternative to building two venues.

    Meanwhile a petition drive has started in St. Paul over a proposal to build a new Twins ballpark there and Minneapolis officials are trying to build support for a ballpark plan in that city.

    The baseball proposal from the MSFC would reduce the capacity of the Metrodome to 42,255 and realign luxury suites for baseball viewing rather than for football. The renovation would cost $200 million and would increase seating along the first and third base lines by 20%. Overall, sight lines would be improved for baseball.

    For football, the stadium would require $160 million in work that would increase the number of luxury suites to 122 and add a restaurant. Club seating and a business center would also be added.

    Bill Lester, the MSFC's executive director acknowledges the plan isn't perfect for either team, and he told the Star Tribune, "It may not be the MercedesBenz the teams want, but it's a highquality Buick."

    Twins officials were cool to the idea, saying the stadium held more promise as a football venue than as a ballpark. They also noted it would be more difficult to renovate the building for baseball and could delay the team's move into the venue until 2007 because work could not begin until a new stadium for the Vikings was built.

    The Vikings were also hesitant to endorse the proposal. The team has been lobbying for a new venue, hoping to share it with the University of Minnesota. University officials also seemed to prefer a new football stadium rather than the renovation.

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    While the MSFC has a plan for renovation, financing will be up to Minneapolis and Hennepin County. Both governments have been exploring a half-cent sales tax that could fund a new ballpark and renovation of the Metrodome for football.

    New Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura has met with officials from Minneapolis and St. Paul separately to learn about their plans to build a new ballpark for the Minnesota Twins. After the meetings, Ventura said he had no opinion on the issues and was not taking a position on the cities' efforts.

    The Hennepin County/Minneapolis proposal received a setback last week when the city council split 6-6 on whether to support the proposal. A new vote is expected next week when the council is at its full 13-member size.

    St. Paul is also considering a sales tax, but one limited to the area surrounding the ballpark site. The St. Paul plan does not include a new stadium for the Vikings. The Minneapolis proposal would need state approval, but no state money. The St. Paul plan needs $100 million in state money and limits the city to one-third of the venue's total cost.

    To get St. Paul's issue on the ballot, 5,000 signatures must be gathered by July 2, but on the first day of work, proponents found they made an error in the proposed ordinance language and 1,000 signatures had to be invalidated. Changes were made, new petitions were printed and workers went back on the street.

    State legislators, who last year rejected several plans to help fund new venues, predicted defeat for the proposals. Team owner Carl Pohlad has toured possible sites in St. Paul, but has not taken a stand on either proposal. He said he would make a decision well before voters go to the polls in November.

    July 1, 1999
    Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

    The Minnesota Vikings have rejected a plan to renovate the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome for them and instead want to build a new $400 million facility using $300 million in public money. The rest would be paid by team owner Red McCombs.

    The team plans to begin a campaign to win voters over to their way of thinking and build support for the 70,000-seat venue that could also host the University of Minnesota. The team has begun working with focus groups and polls to understand the public 's feeling about the team and the stadium issue.

    The team says the proposal from the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission would generate $8 million in new revenues for them while a new venue would bring in $15 million to $30 million new dollars. Team officials say they need the additional revenue to be competitive because they rank 30 out of 31 teams in total stadium revenue. The Vikings, like other NFL teams, are also required to pay between 50% and 63% of the league's average revenue per team on salaries. Without the new revenue, the team believes it could become unprofitable by 2004.

    The MSFC agreed a new venue was needed, but said the Metrodome could be renovated to meet the needs of either the Vikings or the Twins so only one new stadium would be required. The baseball proposal from the MSFC would reduce the capacity of the Metrodome to 42,255 and realign luxury suites for baseball viewing rather than for football. The renovation would cost $200 million and would increase seating along the first and third base lines by 20%. Overall, sight lines would be improved for baseball.

    For football, the stadium would require $160 million in work that would increase the number of luxury suites to 122 and add a restaurant. An estimated 6,400 club seats and a business center would also be added.

    The Vikings said they need at least 68,000 seats, 150 luxury suites, 8,400 club seats and more sideline seats. The MSFC said it would review its plan to see if it could changed to accommodate the team. The Vikings' lease at the dome runs through 2011.

    August 5, 1999
    Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

    A poll taken by the Minnesota Vikings finds 33% of voters are undecided on whether public money should be used to support a new stadium for the team. That compares to 40% opposed and 27% in favor. From that starting point, the team has now begun a campaign to convince voters that the Vikings are important to Minnesota and that they should support the team's efforts to build a new venue. The drive begins as the Twins try to float their own plan to build a new ballpark in St. Paul.

    Team owner Red McCombs said he was willing to make a $100 million investment in the new $400 million venue. The team would like to see the University build the stadium and lease it to the Vikings for NFL games or use money from a half-cent sales tax in Hennepin County. The sales tax issue would require voter approval.

    Meanwhile the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC), which operates the Metrodome where the teams now play, proposes building one new venue and renovating the dome for the other team.

    The baseball proposal from the MSFC would reduce the capacity of the Metrodome to 42,255 and realign luxury suites for baseball viewing rather than for football. The renovation would cost $200 million and would increase seating along the first and third base lines by 20%. Overall, sight lines would be improved for baseball.

    For football, the stadium would require $160 million in work that would increase the number of luxury suites to 122 and add a restaurant. Club seating and a business center would also be added.

    August 19, 1999
    Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

    Minnesotans who want to donate their sales tax rebates to a new fund to help pay for professional sports venues now have a way to make the contribution. All they have to do is send a check to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission which will accept checks through June 30, 2000. Few expect the plan to succeed, but Gov. Jesse Ventura offered the idea as a way of paying for a new stadium for either the MLB Twins or the NFL Vikings.

    Ventura is opposed to using tax money to build the venues. After the deadline, Ventura says he will determine if enough money has been collected to make the plan viable. If not, the money will be returned, without interest. The average rebate for Minnesota taxpayers is $652 and a recent poll shows 8% will contribute. The number represents 250,000 taxpayers. If those taxpayers donated half the average rebate, the fund could earn more than $81 million. In the first few days of the program, 36 people gave a total of $3,705.11, or an average of nearly $103 per person. The largest gift was $673 and the smallest was a penny given by several taxpayers.

    September 2, 1999
    Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

    Vikings owner Red McCombs says it's not likely that the Vikings will be in Metrodome if the team does not have a new stadium in five years. McCombs said during a speech that the team is profitable and probably will be for two more years, but after that it must have a new stadium plan.

    Many of those hearing the speech took the comments as a threat that the team could leave town, but the next day, McCombs denied that saying the team will not be in the Metrodome because it intends to get a new stadium built. He said the announcement is not a threat and he wants to keep the team in Minnesota, however he needs a venue that will allow the team to make money so it can be competitive. Observers who heard the speech agreed that McCombs did not say he would leave town, but they felt it was insinuated.

    McCombs said a proposal to renovate the Metrodome is not feasible and he is willing to invest $100 million toward a new $400 million stadium.

    The team has a lease at the Metrodome through 2011, but legal experts contacted by Minneapolis' Star Tribune say the lease has flaws in its drafting that could allow the team to escape early by paying only damages. The experts say the issue will be in the hands of a judge. The lease also includes a provision that says the NFL "will not voluntarily approve the geographical relocation of the Vikings' League membership with its rights and obligations if such relocation would be in violation of the agreement between the Vikings and the (Metropolitan Sports Facilities) Commission for the use of the Commission's facilities." The suggestion is that as long as the lease is in place, the Vikings will remain in Minnesota, but if the lease is broken, the team could be free to move.

    Before the team can move, it also must satisfy new league requirements that requires notification of a move to the NFL and the host city by Feb. 15 of the year it plans to move. New NFL rules also say a move would not be approved if it violates an existing lease.

    September 9, 1999
    Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

    The Minnesota Vikings will open their books to public review after a call from Gov. Jesse Ventura that the team validate its case for a new stadium. Team owner Red McCombs said it was a reasonable request and he will work with the state's Finance Department to set up guidelines for the review. McCombs did not say what information he would release.

    The team is asking for state support to help build a new stadium and says it must have the venue to remain competitive.

    Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

    By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

    Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome Ranking by USRT
    Architecture 2.5
    Concessions 6
    Scoreboard 3
    Ushers 5
    Fan Support 8.5
    Location 6
    Banners/History 8
    Entertainment 8
    Concourses/Fan Comfort 3
    Bonus: Tailgate Scene 1.5
    Bonus: Dome Souvenirs 1
    Bonus: Dome Dogs 1
    Bonus: Skol Theme Song 1
    Bonus: Vikings Mascot 1
    Total Score 55.5
    November 12, 2000 - The Metrodome is situated on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, and is almost adjacent to the University of Minnesota campus directly across the Mississippi River. Opened in 1982, it is the home of the NFL Vikings, the MLB Twins and the University of Minnesota Gophers football team. This building replaced the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, an outdoor venue which was razed and is now the site of the fabulous Mall of America. The Metrodome has also been home to a number of marquee events, including an NCAA basketball Final Four as well as Super Bowl XXVI (we Buffalo folks remember that one!). The Metrodome will also host the Final Four in 2001.

    The neighborhood surrounding the stadium is a mix of retail, office, warehouse, and open surface lots with no predominant theme. Tailgating is either prohibited or discouraged, and being a cold dismal weather day we saw none of it going on. We learned later that tailgating is permitted "only in designated lots". The going rate for parking anywhere within two blocks of the stadium is $25 and even $30!! $30.. to PARK, in Minneapolis folks! Yep, you disciples keep calling your beloved Coach on his talk show and whining about the prices in Buffalo.. again the Buffalo fan just doesn't have a clue.

    Nothing to do with the stadium, but we have to mention a great shop we visited one block north of the Metrodome across from Gate A.. it is called "Dome Souvenirs". Other than the great merchandise selection, there was also a "free Twins Hall of Fame Museum" adjacent to the store.. the store's crusty old owner actually moved with the team from DC to the Twin Cities when his beloved Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961.. he had a great display of old Senators memorabilia, pictures of the old Met stadium and mementos from their '65 World Series run and their '87 and '91 championships. There were even pictures of the old Nicollet Stadium which housed the Minneapolis Millers. The place is musty, cramped, really honky tonk, the owner is onsite serving sandwiches at a food bar, and it is a MUST SEE for out of town folk!

    The stadium itself has the design and feel of its peers like the RCA Dome in Indianapolis and the Pontiac Silverdome. Ample landscaping and many very colorful signs and banners augment what would otherwise be a very ordinary building. Once inside, we walked through two narrow concourses, one serving each deck. Along the ceilings are backlit panels with photographs of memorable Metrodome moments, and along the walls are small plaques showcasing inductees in the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame. Concessions feature only the standard ballpark dreck - although we saw people carrying the $4.50 Jumbo Dog, which had to be at least 12 oz of meat... hey, why not?  A viking builds up a big appetite after a long day of pillaging and plundering!

    With a little over 64,000 seats, the bowl is broken down into two decks.. and at the top of the lower deck are suites encircling the building. There are no club seats or upscale amenities anywhere in the stadium. There are also no team stores, restaurants or food courts although there are many merchandise point of sale kiosks. At each end are small video boards, and a one color LED dot matrix board at one end zone which also highlights out of town scores and statistics.

    Banners/Retired Numbers
    Six retired names are hung in one corner of the balcony, and the entire field wall is ringed with the team's division and conference titles.. like us here in Buffalo the ultimate prize still eludes the Vikings.

    The atmosphere in the building is just terrific... the team sells out all their games and has a waiting list for season tickets. Of course having a winning season for 17 straight years doesn't hurt. Everyone is dressed in their bright yellow and purple gear, helmets with viking horns are in abundance. The intro has the team running through an inflated viking ship, led by two mascots - big burly guys with long hair and scruffy beards and dressed in animal pelts - the first "viking" is riding a harley and the second a snowmobile - only in Minnesota! These mascots do a great job entertaining and jacking up the crowds along the sidelines (sorry "Billy Buffalo" you really oughta just hang it up!). The Vikings also have a great fight song "Skol - Vikings - Lets Go!" which they play after each score. Kind of like the Bills "Shout" song, the fans eat it up.

    The sound system in the building is just atrocious.. voice and music muffled and barely distinguishable. Also, the lines to the mens and womens restrooms were appallingly long. Probably the worst we have seen anywhere.

    This is one great football experience, but mostly because of the great fans and the great electricity in the building, and not because of the venue. The stadium is adequate, but in this day and age of sports we can not imagine the team continuing indefinitely without either a new facility or substantial renovations to this one. We do understand that there is talk of a new stadium. An actual design for a spectacular domed facility to be built close to the Metrodome has been developed, but at this time it is a ways away from happening.

    SKOL VIKINGS! We had a great time at your place... but our day is not done.... it is back to the hotel, time to throw on our Sabres gear and show off our Buffalo pride as we head over to St. Paul for an evening of NHL hockey!

    April 20, 2006
    Copyright 2006 MediaVentures

    As the Minnesota legislature begins considering a ballpark funding plan for the Twins and a new stadium for the University of Minnesota, officials at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome are studying the future of their building. Indications are the stadium could survive the loss of the baseball team and the university, but if the Vikings succeed in moving to Anoka County, the building would be in trouble.

    Internal figures obtained by the Star Tribune show that the Metrodome's future hinges most directly on the Vikings, which produced nearly $5.7 million in revenue in 2004 - 44% of the Dome's total annual revenue - and have a lease to play there through 2011. Unlike the Twins and Gophers, however, the Vikings do not get a rebate on the admission tax levied on tickets.

    The loss of the Gophers and the Twins would affect the Metrodome and significantly cut into profit margins. Total revenue for the Metrodome in 2004 stood at $13.1 million and total operating expenses came to $10.3 million. Subtract revenue from the Gophers - $287,020 - and the nearly $1.3 million provided by the Twins and the margin is much slimmer.

    Of the Metrodome's 300 events annually, only about 100 are held by the Twins, Gophers and Vikings, with the remainder coming from a hodgepodge including motor sports, trade shows, college baseball and high school football.

    A 2003 city study, looking at a future without the Metrodome, recommended that the property take advantage of its proximity to light-rail transit and new nearby housing and be redeveloped "as a new downtown neighborhood with high-density mixed-use and residential projects." The study added that the city should organize any new development "around a new 'central' park that includes a lake and new recreational fields that would serve nearby residents."

    A factor that could affect the building's future, other than the Vikings, is whether the city plans a bid for the 2008 Democratic or Republican national conventions or a bid for the Olympics in 2016 or 2020. If the city planned to use the building for any of those events, it would need upgrades.

    March 5, 2009
    Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

    The Minnesota Vikings could soon be selling advertising spots at the Metrodome. But not just at the Dome but even on top of it. For nearly 30 years, it's been called the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. But if the Vikings find someone to buy naming rights to the field, fans could call the dome something else on top of its official name. Team officials say the team is in last place in stadium revenues for NFL teams and annually it brings in $30 million less than it's NFC's North rivals. (WCCO)

    July 30, 2009
    Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

    Minneapolis, Minn. - Officials of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission want to work with the legislature to resolve the future of the Vikings and the building before the team's lease expires in 2011. They say the building now covers its expenses, but without the NFL franchise, it could begin to require subsidies.

    They also note that it's the state's only venue that can host large major events and that the community would suffer if the building had to be closed.

    The Metrodome, which was built without any state funding, had generated $246 million in tax revenue through 2008, including $234 million to the state, according to an analysis funded by the commission. The Vikings were the largest source of that tax revenue, generating $126 million. The commission is pushing to rebuild the Dome into a new, $954 million retractable-roof stadium on the current downtown Minneapolis site.

    Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has offered to foot $250 million of the bill, leaving taxpayers, one way or another, to pay the rest.

    Gov. Tim Pawlenty and legislators are not eager to pick up the tab. The Vikings have been seeking a new stadium for 10 years, making little progress so far. The situation is not expected to improve next year with a projected $6 billion deficit.

    The commission has presented its case at public hearings in 17 outstate cities and more than 75 civic and business organizations in an effort to win support.

    November 19, 2009
    Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

    Minneapolis, Minn. - The Minnesota Vikings say the offer of free rent at the Metrodome won't make up for lack of action on a new stadium. The offer so disturbed the Vikings that the team broke off relations with the Metrodome's owners.

    Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf sent a strongly worded letter to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission that said they were "shocked, exasperated and extremely disappointed" by the commission's attempt to keep the Vikings at the Dome beyond 2011, when the team's lease expires.

    The Wilfs have said they have no plans to move the team out of Minnesota, but the letter indicates that the team is tiring of the lack of progress on a new stadium even as the Vikings enjoy one of their best seasons on the field.

    The Wilfs point out in their letter that the Vikings are at the bottom of the league in revenues and "have the most uncompetitive stadium deal in the NFL."

    The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission is considering a proposal to give the team free rent for regular and post-season events retroactively from last year if the team will agree to a lease through 2014.

    Commission officials believe there is no chance the legislature will take up the issue of a new stadium in its upcoming session, but the Vikings said the matter must be resolved in 2010.

    Meanwhile, House Speaker Margaret Kelliher, a DFL gubernatorial candidate, is proposing a "Purple Ribbon" panel be formed to discuss a new stadium.

    Kelliher's proposal is the latest evidence that - even with a series of major state budget problems - the idea of possible public subsidies for a new Vikings stadium is gaining some momentum among top state officials. Most of the 2010 gubernatorial candidates have generally shied away from discussing the stadium, and a spokesman for Kelliher quickly said the House Speaker also believed Minnesota had higher priorities.

    But Kelliher, in a radio interview, again said that a special panel might be needed to push the topic out into the open because many Minnesotans are talking about it anyway.

    The Vikings, who have played in the Metrodome for more than a quarter century, have proposed building a new stadium on the Metrodome site but has seen its plans for public funding for a new stadium stall at the Legislature. The team's Metrodome lease expires after the 2011 season, and the Vikings have said they do not intend to renew it.

    February 18, 2010
    Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

    Minneapolis, Minn. - A Minnesota legislator wants to sell the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to the Vikings for one dollar and eliminate the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. Rep. Paul Kohls believes the move would allow the team to make more money off the building, including advertising, naming rights and the sale of concessions. The commission currently rakes in 85 percent of all concessions sales.

    Team executives said the bill stops far short of the Vikings' needs - namely, a new home.

    "The Metrodome no longer works in sports economics or for our fans' game day experience," Vice President Lester Bagley said. "We need to build a new facility to secure the long-term future of the Vikings in Minnesota. This doesn't get us there."

    Bagley said Vikings stadium revenues fall about $30 million below other NFL teams and pointed out that the Metrodome is the smallest and second-oldest facility in the NFL.

    Revenues from other teams supplement the team's bottom line, but that program's future is in doubt and the Vikings could soon be at a competitive disadvantage because of where the team plays.

    The team's Metrodome lease is set to expire after 2011. Bagley said team owner Zygi Wilf has indicated he's not willing to sign an extension without a stadium deal in place.

    The team has said it would pay for one-third of the cost of a new stadium, which starts at $670 million and would cost $200 million more if a roof is included. That puts the taxpayer obligation, including interest expenses, anywhere from $29 million to $42 million annually over the next 30 years.

    December 16, 2010
    Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

    Minneapolis, Minn. - More than a foot of snow that fell from Minnesota skies last weekend was too much for the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome's fabric roof and the structure ripped and collapsed about 5 a.m. Sunday morning, hours before the venue was to host the Vikings and the New York Giants.

    The Giants had been unable to get to Minneapolis for the game and were stranded in Kansas City, already pushing the game to Monday night. With the collapse of the roof, the NFL opted to play the Monday game in Detroit where a television crew was already in place and the domed stadium could be prepared for its second game in two days.

    The news started discussions in Minnesota about what impact the roof collapse would have on the team's efforts to convince the legislature to build a new stadium.

    Three days after the collapse of the roof, Sen. Julie Rosen, a Republican from Fairmont, told the Star Tribune she planned to introduce a bill in late January to build a new Vikings stadium with public subsidies.

    Rosen, a vocal advocate for a new stadium, said the proposal "might be very similar" to a plan that stalled in the Legislature last spring. That proposal, which was criticized at the time for being hastily assembled, relied in part on diverting sales tax money now being used for the Minneapolis Convention Center once the convention center's debt was repaid.

    With Republicans assuming majorities in the House and Senate in January, Rosen said she had already talked to Sen. Julianne Ortman, the incoming Senate Taxes Committee chair.

    "She's committed to hearing it," said Rosen, who said the proposal would likely face an end-of-session vote after the Legislature addressed the state's $6.2 billion budget deficit.

    Vikings President Mark Wilf told the Star Tribune it was premature to discuss whether the collapse changes the debate over a new stadium.

    "I'm not going to comment on [the stadium issue]. For right now, we're focused on the Giants game tomorrow. There will be a proper time to discuss such things."

    While the Metrodome's roof collapse is likely to add fuel to the stadium debate, key legislators told the Star Tribune that the episode should not leapfrog the state's budget deficit in importance. "It doesn't make the Metrodome more important than solving the budget issues, I can tell you that - no," Rep. Mary Liz Holberg who in January will become the chair of the influential House Ways and Means Committee, told the newspaper.

    Gov.-elect Mark Dayton, who has said he might support a new stadium if it made economic sense for Minnesotans, toured the Metrodome Sunday.

    Officials at the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, the Metrodome's owner, told the Star Tribune Sunday's collapse was the fifth incident involving the roof, but the first in nearly a quarter-century. Aside from total collapses in 1982 and '83 just after the Dome opened, they said, the roof had collapsed during construction and had partially torn in 1986 during a Minnesota Twins game.

    The newspaper said 28-year-old Dome roof was inspected earlier this year by Birdair, which found some holes in the inner liner - it has two layers - but reported that fabric strength was comparable to the original specs from 1982.

    Roy Terwilliger, who chairs the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, told the Star Tribune, that Birdair officials had not told the commission that the roof should be replaced, but had said instead that the roof was wearing better than expected.

    The NFL decided that any fans that held tickets to the Sunday game planned for Minneapolis would get priority seating if they traveled to Detroit. Fans that held stubs from Sunday's Lions game would get in free. Others could buy general admission tickets.

    Those tickets went quickly and the Associated Press reported that they were being scalped on the street for up to $100 each. The Detroit News said the Lions halted the free ticket offer at 10:40 a.m. because of the demand.

    The NFL is going to reimburse Detroit for the extra police costs associated with the game, Karen Dumas, a spokeswoman for Mayor Dave Bing, told the Detroit News.

    In Minneapolis, a crane was quickly built on the Metrodome turf to enable a crew from Birdair Structures crew to get a close look at the damage from inside the stadium.

    The Birdair team was flown in from Buffalo by the Minnesota Vikings, Terwilliger said.

    Terwilliger said the roof collapse apparently caused no damage inside the building, aside from a light fixture. Neither the seats nor the turf was damaged, he said, and a drainage system installed under the field for cleaning purposes a few years ago will help workers clear off and dry the turf.

    Nevertheless, the experts said it would not be possible to repair the roof in time for the team's next home game scheduled against the Chicago Bears. That view was reinforced Wednesday when another section of the roof ripped, further damaging the fabric. Four or five feet of ice still covers some of the roof and officials can't be certain other panels won't fail, Patrick Milan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, told the Star Tribune.

    The decision was made to revive TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota from its winterized state and play the game in the alcohol-free venue.

    One of the first issues, besides removing snow from the open-air venue, is how to fit a regular crowd of 63,000 into the 50,000-seat stadium. As the effort began, some questioned whether the job could be completed in time and Atlanta's Georgia Dome was mentioned as a possible alternative along with Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

    The Vikings and the NFL will cover the university's expenses for clearing the snowy stadium and hosting the game, which could amount to $700,000 or more, Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley told the Star Tribune.

    January 6, 2011
    Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

    Minneapolis, Minn. - The Metrodome will remain deflated and unusable at least through March, stranding the popular TwinsFest, dislocating shows and leaving several college and high school baseball teams scrambling to find other accommodation, according to the Star Tribune.

    Bill Lester, executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, told the newspaper it's not yet clear when the Dome's ripped roof can be fixed but that it won't happen before spring.

    Engineers are busy finding out how many of its 106 panels were irrevocably damaged in the Dec. 11 snowstorm, when snow and ice combined with high winds caused the Dome to deflate. At least nine torn fabric roof panels will need to be replaced, Lester said.

    "There was not a set of circumstances that would have us in there before the end of March," he said. "First the scope of the project has to be determined, then the fabrication and shipping [of the roof panels]. And installation is time consuming, too."

    For sports fans, the most noticeable effect of the collapse will be the change of venue for TwinsFest, which drew more than 32,000 fans to the Dome over three days in January.

    The Minnesota Twins are investigating other locations for the Jan. 28-30 event but have not finalized plans. Because Target Field's indoor spaces are not big enough and other large sites aren't available, it likely will need to be scaled back.

    "Some features, some of the interactive events, may go away, but the big thing is, the players will still be there and that's what everyone wants to see," Twins spokesman Kevin Smith told the Star Tribune.

    Other baseball teams are scrambling as well. More than 300 college and high school baseball games, many involving the University of Minnesota and other local teams, are in need of venues.

    Lester said he understands that canceling games at the Dome is "going to be a large inconvenience for them and throughout the Upper Midwest."

    Lester said that the commission is awaiting a final assessment of the storm damage from engineers with Walter P. Moore and Birdair Inc., which will make the new roof panels.

    Birdair installed the Dome roof nearly three decades ago and inspected it last summer, finding some wear but judging it in good condition overall.

    The engineers took a "laser shoot" of the underside of the Dome roof and also collected samples to test, Lester said.

    The commission doesn't yet know how much revenue will be lost because of the canceled events, he said. He said that the commission has event insurance.

    January 13, 2011
    Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

    Minneapolis, Minn. - Vikings vice president Lester Bagley has told the Associated Press that the team would pay about a third of the cost of a new stadium, not including a dome.

    Vikings officials, including owner Zygi Wilf, have said they prefer an outdoor stadium, but won't object to playing under a roof if someone else wants to pay for it. Bagley told the AP that a roof offered the team no advantages and would cost more in operation and maintenance.

    Supportive state legislators are now preparing a bill for consideration. The stadium itself is estimated to cost around $700 million with a roof adding $100 million or more to the cost.

    January 20, 2011
    Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

    Minneapolis, Minn. - Repairs to the roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome could run into August if engineers say the structure needs to be fully replaced, the Star Tribune reported. Much more of the air-supported roof was torn up in the Dec. 11-12 blizzard than in earlier snowstorms, Steve Maki, Dome facilities and engineering director, told the newspaper. And the once state-of-the-art roof is 30 years older and showing its age.

    "We've had much more damage, so we're being more cautious and prudent," said Maki, who has overseen the Dome's operations since the mid-1980s. "And given the age of the roof, we're trying to determine if there is any damage to other panels."

    Nearly five weeks after the roof burst open, Maki and other officials with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission are sending six 5-by-5-foot samples taken from various points on the roof's outer membrane to a testing lab in Buffalo, N.Y.

    The strength-assessment results will go to consulting engineers, who will recommend a fix by the end of January. That could range from replacing the five panels to installing a new roof, Maki said.

    Four panels were damaged by weather. A fifth was deliberately opened with a shotgun slug to relieve pressure from snow and ice. Birdair Inc., which makes the panels, has enough material for nine panels, Maki said.

    The Dome is already getting one big change: a large swath of the inner liner is being stripped from the central portion of the roof to let heat inside the stadium reach the roof faster and melt snow better, Maki said.

    The roof consists of two super-thin woven fiberglass fabrics, the outside one coated with Teflon. The inner liner is designed to absorb noise and improve sound quality in the stadium. To make up for its partial loss, acoustical batting will be hung from roof cables, Maki said.

    But the main focus is on the roof's durability. Last year an inspection showed that fabric strength was comparable to original specs. Maki said the inspection by Birdair "raised no red flags." Now a more intensive, safety-minded inspection is called for, he said.

    February 17, 2011
    Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

    Minneapolis, Minn. - The Star Tribune says the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is getting a new $18.3 million roof for the Minnesota Vikings' last season there, even though it's not entirely certain it can be ready in time for the team's August preseason schedule.

    And while the Vikings told the newspaper they supported the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission's plan to replace the stadium's 30-year-old storm-damaged roof, they reiterated that they don't see it as a long-term stadium solution and welcomed Ramsey County's plans to talk more with them about a possible stadium site in Arden Hills.

    "Nothing's changed in terms of the challenges of [the Dome] in terms of fan amenities and revenues for the team," Vikings vice president Lester Bagley told the Star Tribune. "We need to have a site and a local partner, and Ramsey County has stepped up. They have a viable piece of property, and we like it a lot."

    Bagley spoke shortly after the stadium commission voted unanimously to install a new 10-acre cover of Teflon-coated fiberglass at the Dome.

    Commission officials estimated that the total price tag for the project probably will be $19 million, including associated costs and fees. But they expressed confidence that the entire sum, save for a $25,000 deductible, will be handled by insurance.

    The goal: Completion of the new roof by Aug. 1, only two weeks before the NFL begins its preseason schedule. Toward that end, the commission will pick a contractor based as much on ability to finish the job on time as on price.

    Ads for contractors to tear out the old roof and install a new one have already appeared in newspapers, with bid proposals due by Feb. 23, interviews on Feb. 24 and a contractor selected by Feb. 25.

    "It's an aggressive timeline, but we need to take aggressive steps," Steve Maki, the Dome's facilities and engineering director, told the newspaper.

    Maki said they know of only three contractors who can do the job, including Birdair Inc., which made and installed the old roof and inspected it as recently as last summer.

    That inspection concluded that the roof was in need of some minor repairs but was essentially in good condition.

    All of that changed with the Dec. 11-12 blizzard and subsequent periods of severe winter weather, Mark Waggoner, a structural engineer with the Texas firm Walter P. Moore, told the board at its special meeting.

    The Star Tribune said five of the roof's 106 panels were ripped open, four of them by weather and a fifth by a shotgun slug aimed at relieving pressure from snow and ice. But ongoing heavy doses of snow and ice, mixed with strong winds and low temperatures, were found to have torn, scratched, creased and dimpled the roof's Teflon coating in thousands of places, Waggoner said. Engineers based their conclusions on more than a dozen samples cut out of the roof and tested for strength.

    The damage left the roof's fiberglass yarns exposed to water, jeopardizing the fabric's ability to handle snow.

    "While a number of them could be repaired through patching means and other repair techniques," Waggoner said, "their occurrence is so widespread that we don't know if it's feasible to reasonably, in the period of time that this building [needs to be] serviceable, commence upon a spot-based repair procedure."

    The board voted to certify the roof loss to its insurance carrier, FM Global. Officials said they expected FM to cover not just the roof but revenue lost for the period that the Dome has been unusable, under a separate policy for interrupted events. The commission paid an annual premium of nearly $260,000 for property insurance to FM last year.

    March 3, 2011
    Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

    Minneapolis, Minn. - The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission has selected Birdair to replace the roof on the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and the firm hopes to have the job completed by August, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

    The job will cost $17.9 million. Birdair, which installed the original roof, was the only company to bid on the job.

    Work could begin as early as March 17 and is likely to require at least 10-hour days from workers, Monday through Saturday, the newspaper said.

    "It's going to be a judgment call and a safety call," said Steve Maki, the commission's director of facilities and engineering.

    If Birdair makes the deadline, it will get a $500,000 bonus. If the company fails, there will be penalties that will vary, such as $20,000 per day and $700,000 for each missed Vikings home game. The newspaper said the team has asked the NFL to schedule its first several games on the road, just in case.

    Officials have maintained that nearly all of the cost will be reimbursed by the Metrodome's insurance carrier, FM Global. The insurer has yet to officially rule on the claim.

    "This building has been paid off (for) some time," commission Chairman Ted Mondale told the Pioneer Press. "There are no taxpayer funds here." He noted that the agency initially had estimated the replacement cost at $18.5 million.

    The Star Tribune quoted Birdair officials as saying the new roof will have a flatter profile and light brown panels that will bleach to white over time.

    The new panels will be made of a fiberglass material very similar to the old ones.

    But one difference fans will notice, Maki told the Star Tribune is that an inner liner will not be replaced in the roof's central area, so the interior of the Dome will be brighter.

    Baffles attached to the inside of the roof will improve the stadium's acoustics.

    And the new panels are designed in a way that will lower the overall profile of the roof and reduce snow drifting between panels. The new roof will have a life expectancy of "at least 20 years," Maki said.

    July 14, 2011
    Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

    Minneapolis, Minn. - The Star Tribune said seven months and several million dollars after its collapse, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome roof is set to re-emerge this week with a new look. Officials of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission told the newspaper that, weather and work schedules permitting, they're planning a "test inflation" of the brand-new fiberglass roof being installed since late March.

    If no problems emerge, the roof will stay up as crews finish securing and sealing the fabric. The first public look at the new roof will reveal a flatter profile than the puffy one that collapsed in a cloud of wind-whipped snow and ice in the early morning hours of Dec. 12. It also will appear somewhat tan in color before the new fabric is bleached by the elements.

    "I'm hesitant to say we're ahead of schedule, when you talk about all the detail work," Bill Lester, the stadium commission's executive director told the newspaper. "We've been fortunate with the weather. There have been some days of intense heat and high winds, but we've been able to stay on track and on budget through the entire process."

    The project's $22.7 million cost is covered by insurance. The only accident involved an ironworker who slipped on the roof and separated a shoulder.

    Crews directed by New York-based Birdair Inc. have worked more than 15 weeks - 10 hours a day, six days a week - to install 106 Teflon-coated fabric panels, each weighing 2.5 to 3 tons.

    Workers are nearly done installing new acoustic panels, which hang like sheets from the roof's underside. The panels were needed to modulate sound after officials decided to strip out the acoustic liner from the central part of the roof to aid in snow melting.

    In the coming days, crews will apply neoprene seals to the panel clamps, stick on moisture-proof tape and install lightning rods work can be done on an inflated roof, Lester said.

    The project's target completion date is Aug. 1.

    Steve Maki, the Dome's chief engineer, said that inflating the roof will be a slow and steady job, taking perhaps two to three hours, to ensure that cables properly adjust to the rising roof. They'll choose a time with little or no wind, he said.

    Once the roof is up and other tasks are complete, the Star Tribune said project engineers and a Minneapolis inspector will be asked to certify the stadium for occupancy.

    September 22, 2011
    Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

    Minneapolis, Minn. - Minneapolis officials want at least a $30 million slice of the Metrodome's value, a move that would significantly cut into the money being counted on to help build a new Vikings stadium in Arden Hills, the Star Tribune said.

    In a letter sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, city officials said that Minneapolis had "clear and demonstrable rights" to the proceeds of the Metrodome that should not automatically be used to help build a $1 billion stadium in Ramsey County.

    City officials said that a state law provides that Minneapolis and Hennepin County are due $5 million each should the Metrodome be sold, but added that the city also had poured many millions more into the facility, including nearly $16 million in revenues from liquor and hotel taxes.

    "We hit the roof when we heard there was a plan to take proceeds from the Metrodome and use it to build a stadium in Arden Hills," Mayor R.T. Rybak told the newspaper, adding that city officials learned only a week ago of plans to dedicate Metrodome sales proceeds to the stadium. The money "does not belong to someone trying to move a business out of our city," the mayor said. "And we will fight it every step of the way."

    Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president for stadium development and public affairs, downplayed the letter and said city officials were not being forthright. When the Vikings were considering building a new stadium in Anoka County five years ago, he told the Star Tribune, there was a clear understanding of what would happen to the proceeds from the sale of the Metrodome, the downtown Minneapolis stadium where the Vikings have played since 1982. If the Metrodome was sold, Bagley said, $10 million was to be split between Minneapolis and Hennepin County and the remaining money would "go into a new football stadium" wherever it was built.

    He said the city also was minimizing the team's tax contributions over its years at the Metrodome. Bagley said the city, in calculating the money it would be owed, relied on a consultant's study that also showed the Metrodome had generated $340 million in taxes since opening. More than half of the taxes roughly $186 million had come from Vikings-related events.

    "We'll leave it up to the governor and the state Legislature to sort this out," he added.

    Dayton spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci told the newspaper the governor had received the city's letter and that the governor was aware of existing law that required Minneapolis and Hennepin County to each get $5 million should the Metrodome be sold. "This is not a surprise to us," she said.

    The Vikings made little progress at the Legislature this year with their plans for a 1.6 million-square-foot stadium on the site of the former ammunition plant in Arden Hills. Although Dayton has held out the possibility of a special legislative session yet this year to consider the project, the governor also has ordered an in-depth study of the stadium's costs. That report is due to be completed next month.

    Under the Arden Hills proposal, the Vikings would pay at least $407 million of the project and the state would contribute $300 million. Ramsey County would add another $350 million, largely through a countywide sales tax that may or may not face a referendum.

    The Vikings, citing the current stadium's limited ability to generate new revenue, have said they will not renew their Metrodome lease when it expires after this year.

    October 27, 2011
    Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

    Minnesota, Minn. - The St. Paul Pioneer Press says a plan put forth by two lawmakers would give the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a 25-year commitment to play in the state.

    And Minneapolis re-entered the bidding by saying it would help finance any one of three proposed stadium sites.

    At the same time, Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson said she thinks the council will support a casino in the city's Block E entertainment district that could provide financing for the stadium and other city priorities, the Star Tribune reported.

    The statements came amid a swirl of stadium activity that is quickening as Gov. Mark Dayton prepares to release his own stadium proposal early next month.

    Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told the Star Tribune a citywide sales tax would be the main financing component and that there is support on the City Council to approve such a tax. He said he could support a downtown casino as part of a stadium package if some of its proceeds were directed to the city's impoverished Indian community.

    Johnson said there are votes on the council to approve a Block E casino and called it an "attractive option" for the city's entertainment district.

    A longtime developer told the Star Tribune that the Farmers Market site near the Twins ballpark is more viable than ever as an alternative home for a new stadium.

    Chuck Leer said that nine of 15 property owners in the Farmers Market area are interested in selling. The remaining owners are discussing sales prospects so that a 34-acre stadium site could be assembled between Interstate 94 and Target Field in the North Loop neighborhood.

    "We're hoping that people will see again that this is an excellent site. With this back on the table, maybe we can figure out a way to make this happen," Leer said.

    The goal is to consolidate a land sale and make the site an attractive option, said Leer, who is representing the owners in the matter. The site has been vigorously promoted since spring by investor Bruce Lambrecht and planner David Albersman, whose slide presentation has been seen by several business and political leaders.

    Leer is being assisted by former Minneapolis City Council president Jackie Cherryhomes, who also represents the interests of some of the owners.

    The plan to give the stadium to the Vikings, laid out at a Capitol news conference by Sen. John Marty and Rep. Linda Runbeck requires no public money and would allow the team to capture revenues from any events held at the Dome.

    "Rep. Runbeck and I recognize that the Vikings initial reaction to this will not be favorable, but we believe that when they conduct an honest assessment of the situation, they will understand the fairness of this proposal," Marty said in a statement.

    The Vikings' vice president of stadium development, Lester Bagley, declined an invitation to meet with Leer and reiterated to the Star Tribune that the team considers the Ramsey County proposal "the only viable plan on the table. ... We are 100 percent focused on the Arden Hills site."

    Dayton has given no details about his plan, but says he would not rule out using Legacy funds for the project. Legacy funding, approved by voters three years ago, has been bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars for projects involving the outdoors, clean water, parks and trails, and arts and cultural heritage through a sales tax increase.

    The use of Legacy funds angered some legislators who promised a lawsuit if the governor made that choice.

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