Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis

Minneapolis will be hosting Super Bowl LII in the new U.S. Bank Stadium, Sunday, February 4 at 5:30 PM CT. The Super Bowl is the final game of the NFL season, played every year for the past 52 years in a different state, and is the biggest annual sporting event in America according to Sports Illustrated. This is the second time Minneapolis has hosted a Super Bowl; they also hosted Super Bowl XXVI in 1992.

It was first announced that Minnesota would be hosting in 2018 in 2013, just after the Minnesota Vikings went 5-10-1 (5 wins, 10 losses, and 1 tie in a season). Since then, the team has improved tremendously, going 7-9, 11-5, and 8-8 in 2014, 2015, and 2016 respectively (Check out Pro Football Reference for more stats).

We will not know who will be competing in the Super Bowl until the end of the playoffs, which continue on January 13, and end on January 21. It is possible that the Vikings, who are headed to the playoffs with a win-loss ratio of 13-3, will make it to this Super Bowl, and as MPR reported, it would be the first time in over 25 years that a Super Bowl participant would be competing in their own state.

As MPR points out, if the Vikings can survive the playoffs by defeating the New Orleans Saints, and then winning their conference championship game, they will become the first franchise in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in their hometown. It would be the team’s fifth Super Bowl (their last was in 1977), having won not a single previous one.

But, while this may sound nice to Vikings fans, to the organizers of Super Bowl LII, it could create a great “headache,” according to Sports Illustrated. Hosting a Super Bowl is already a technical feat, but the logistical problems that would arise from the Vikings reaching the Super Bowl would make it even more impressive. Just by making it this far, the Vikings must host a divisional-round game at home on January 14, making it the first time a Super Bowl host city has also hosted a divisional-round game, and if Philadelphia loses, the Vikings will also host the NFC title game. According to CBS Minnesota, Downtown Minneapolis will be revoking parking permits in the area on the day of the game, in order to free-up parking space for attendees. If the Vikings do make it to the Super Bowl, the facilities which they, and their competitors use, will have to be swapped, to allow the Vikings to use their home facility as noted by Sports Illustrated.

The Super Bowl is more than just an annual football game and cultural event. For local and national businesses, it is a big commercial opportunity. It receives 100 million American viewers annually, more than three times more than the Oscars, the second largest TV event in America. Thus, the cost of a Super Bowl advertisement is roughly $5 million for a thirty-second spot, not including PR, digital promotion or contests. In total, a good campaign can cost around $10 million, according to ForbesA pop-up marketplace called North Local Market, displaying over 20 local brands, will be set up in City Center in downtown Minneapolis, from January 26 through the Super Bowl (for more information see  the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal).

But, not everyone is happy with the Super Bowl. According to the Minneapolis StarTribune, A coalition group has organized a protest march on the day of the game, from Peavey Park to U.S. Bank Stadium, in a route as of yet unrevealed. Activist Jess Sundin, a head organizer, said she expects to see “several hundred protesters.” They will be protesting against, in their own words, the “racism and corporate greed,” they perceive in the Super Bowl and the various side-acts connected to it.

Individuals interested in attending Super Bowl LII, who do not already have tickets, will be disappointed; the going price on StubHub, one month away from the game, is upwards of $3,200. Fortunately though, according to MPR, the Super Bowl host committee has announced Super Bowl Live, a 10-day festival leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. It will be held outside in Nicollet Mall, and will include free concerts, ice sculptures, and food.

The Vikings must win only two more games in order to make it to Super Bowl LII, and fans will be impatiently waiting until they next play. If they do make it, it will be a historic moment for the Vikings, the NFL, and Minnesota. If they win the Super Bowl, it will be a historic moment for American sports history in general.

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