The Final Four Will Cost U.S. Bank Stadium More Than The Super Bowl
The Vikings' shiny, new U.S. Bank Stadium was in the national spotlight when it hosted Super Bowl LII last year. But it's going to cost way more to host this year's Final Four tournament.
That's the word from the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority-- the group that runs Minnesota's U.S. Bank Stadium. In fact, they said last week that the MSFA might spend "millions of dollars" more to get U.S. Bank ready to host the NCAA Men's College Basketball Final Four Tournament than it did for the Super Bowl.
When I first heard that statement, I had a tough time believing it. I mean, when it comes to sports, what's bigger than the Super Bowl? (Heck, when it comes to pretty much ANY event, is there anything bigger than the Super Bowl?!?) So how can these costs be more than it cost to put on sport's biggest event?!?
But according to this Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Insider story, that's indeed the case. And, the MSFA could be on the hook for "tens of millions of dollars" needed to get U.S. Bank Stadium ready to host college basketball's biggest event.
And there's the rub-- while U.S. Bank Stadium is certainly a big enough venue to host the Final Four, it's not an event for which it was specifically designed. Preparations for the Super Bowl were concerned with those logistics because the stadium regularly hosts Vikings football games.
But now, the MSFA-- and who are we kidding, us Minnesota taxpayers-- have to pay to transform the stadium into a basketball venue. For example, the story says, "The NCAA also required the MSFA to buy and install huge blackout curtains for U.S. Bank Stadium's glass walls, a move that will keep the lighting consistent. Those curtains are expected to cost $5.2 million," it noted.
Meanwhile, the story said the MSFA spent "just" $627,000 to get the stadium ready for the Super Bowl last year. Which, given these new million dollar costs, almost seems like a bargain, doesn't it?