This past week, I got a chance to tour the inside of our newest Viking Stadium…US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, with my brother Jim. He had gotten tickets through his financial officer from Ameriprise and Sandra was unable to attend, so I played the part of her. When we first arrived, we had to sign in and get our name tags. So of course, we said I’m Sandra Rolon Espinoza. Really? Good thing the gal didn’t look up at me, because I’m sure she would’ve picked up on the fact that a blonde haired, blue-eyed girl would not have a last name of Espinoza. ha! But, I made it in and got my tag.
On to the next step…as we approached the Ameriprise function, I noticed that they were taking pictures of everyone as they entered. Oh no, they are married couples. So Jim quickly told the girl, we are brother and sister so we won’t be posing like the others. Once that was all done, we could relax and have a little food before our tour.
Our tour guide was a very funny man who kept us walking briskly because he wanted to make sure we got to see everything in our 45 minutes. I loved the back of his shirt, it made me laugh.
The first part of the tour was mainly walking through the wide corridors on the outskirts of the stadium. They are very wide, like the Excel Energy Center and he said they copied that idea because it is very successful and people like that. I agree. He then talked about the roof of this place and the cool doors.
Similarly, the new stadium is a fixed roof stadium with a translucent roof and features the five largest pivoting glass doors in the world. The translucent roof and large wall panels allow natural light to enter the stadium, as well as giving fans a view of downtown Minneapolis. To allow for easier snow removal, the roof is slanted to allow snow to accumulate in areas that are more safely and easily accessible. Accumulated snow will move down the slanted roof into a heated gutter, which filters into the Mississippi River. The glass operable wall panels will allow the stadium to experience some of the outdoor elements while providing protection from the snow, rain, and the cold winter weather.
The stadium will seat 66,200 people for most games, slightly more than the Metrodome. However, it will be expandable to 73,000 for special events such as the Super Bowl. U.S. Bank Stadium is scheduled to host Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018. That will be pretty exciting for us here in Minnesota.
One of the most impressive things in this place has to be the ginormous scoreboard. I took some pictures of it, but it really is something to see in person. Their goal behind this, was to make it big enough so that everyone in this entire place can see the game from their seat. The main board is more than 8,100 square feet, accounting for about one-third of the stadium’s 25,000 square feet of high-definition LED displays. It is the 10th largest in the NFL; the total square footage of 13HD LED displays will be the most in the league. The 13HD refers to the size of the pixel, in millimeters, that is made up of one red, one green and one blue LED. They are assembled into programmable units that can display high quality video, crisp scores stats scores and other information.
It is approximately 10 feet above the main concourse, so regardless of what seat you’re in, you’ll have the chance to look slightly to the left, slightly to the right or straight ahead and you’re going to get a clear visual of the game action from a live perspective and replay.
As we walked around throughout the stadium, Jim and I were noticing the neat artwork. Most of the paintings were done by former Vikings, athletes, and local artists from Minnesota. Our guide said they really want to make this “our home”. Except that one in the right corner, has us playing the Packers. Hmm, not sure how that got in there.
Another item Jim and I spotted as we looked up, was the Viking horn. This blows each time we score a touchdown, so we are hoping to hear a lot from this horn this season, and especially tonight for our first home game against those dreaded Packers.
Next, it was on to the field! Our guide took us down the escalator and right onto the turf. It was spongy, soft and very green. I never got to walk on the field at the Metronome, so I was pretty happy to be on this field for my first time. A little fun fact I looked up about the turf… The field covering is 3.03 acres (132,000 sq. ft.). The playing surface is composed of more than 135 million blades of synthetic turf and more than 5,000 miles of Harmony fiber that weigh 46,000-plus pounds. The fiber could be stretched from Minneapolis to Moritz Boehringer’s hometown of Aalen, Germany with plenty to spare. Moritz is our wide-receiver and 1st-ever player to be drafted by an NFL team directly from Europe.
Before heading to our last stop on the tour, we walked through one of the nicest areas of the stadium and the most talked about as this was being built. It is an area where fans can sit and see the players as they walk out onto the field before the game. The seats are for the wealthy because Jim says they are $2200 per seat. Yikes! They are right on the 50 yard line and you are actually on the field. This would be the true VIP people. Glad I got to see it in person, cause chances are, I’ll never get back in this area again. Cha-Ching!
The last stop on our tour was the most exciting…we got to go into the Viking’s locker room! This is another first for me. Never seen the inside of a professional’s locker room, so we thought it was pretty cool and very VIP for us.
The locker room measures more than 4,600 square feet and is tucked inside the southeast corner of the Stadium. It is very spacious and the walls of the open area have 60 permanent lockers constructed of blackened metal, wood veneer and quartz.
As our guide was chatting a bit about this room, I snuck over to find Blair Walsh’s locker. He is our Fantasy Football kicker and we weren’t too thrilled with his first half performance last week. Thought I’d put a little note in his locker to step-it-up this week!
Something that every team has is their logo or mascot. The Vikings Norseman has a visible presence in the locker room as well, albeit one that is certainly out of reach. As opposed to being placed in the middle of the room’s floor, a large illuminated Norseman structure is installed in the ceiling. We didn’t get to see it lit up, so I found this on the web. Pretty neat.
This was an exciting evening and full of fun. It’ll be great to actually go see a game in here one day as well. All I can say now is….Go Purple!