Mpls Taps Execs As It Tries To Lure Super Bowl, Final Four

Doug Baker, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, and Richard Davis will lead efforts to attract the 2018 Super Bowl to Minneapolis, which is also a contender for attracting a future NCAA Final Four tournament.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said Monday that an “organized campaign” is underway to attempt to lure the 2018 Super Bowl to the new Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis—and the effort is being led by three prominent businesspeople.

Meanwhile, the city is also formalizing a bid to try to attract an NCAA Final Four men's basketball tournament to the new stadium, after learning that Minneapolis is one of eight finalists being considered for the tournaments that will be held between 2017 and 2020.

Dayton announced Minneapolis’ bid for 2018’s Super Bowl during a Monday press conference, and the news comes several months after the NFL revealed that Minneapolis was among three cities under consideration. The others are Indianapolis and New Orleans. The NFL is expected to select its choice for the 2018 Super Bowl in May.

Doug Baker, CEO of St. Paul-based Ecolab; Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former CEO of Minnetonka-based Carlson; and Richard Davis, CEO of Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp were selected co-chairs to oversee Minneapolis’ campaign to attract the Super Bowl. In a press release, Dayton said that all three of them are “known for their leadership and success in the business world and their philanthropic community involvement.”

It appears their role will largely be that of lobbying, and they will lead a “Super Bowl bid committee” that is charged with developing an official proposal for bringing the game to Minneapolis.

The committee also includes officials from the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is overseeing development of the new Vikings stadium, which is slated to open in time for the 2016 season.

Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and Melvin Tennant, CEO of Meet Minneapolis are also participating in the process, as are various other “business, labor, and community leaders” from the state, according to Dayton's office.

Dayton said in a statement that hosting the Super Bowl would bring “enormous economic benefits to many Minnesota businesses,” and his office cited a study that indicated that the 2012 Super Bowl has a $324 million “economic impact” for Indianapolis.

Minnesota has hosted the big game just once before, when Super Bowl XXVI was held in 1992 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which is being demolished to make way for the new Vikings stadium.

The Star Tribune, citing a Vikings spokesman, said that a local private fundraising effort would also be needed in order to host the Super Bowl; in fact, Indianapolis reportedly raised at least $25 million for its recent Super Bowl.

Familiar Faces

It’s likely unsurprising that Baker, Carlson Nelson, and Davis—all of whom have been prominent players in other large-scale projects (and are members of Twin Cities BusinessMinnesota Business Hall of Fame) —are helping to spearhead the Super Bowl effort.

Baker has chaired Greater MSP, an economic development group, and has helped lead the Minnesota Business Partnership. Too, he chaired the 2012 Twin Cities United Way fundraising campaign. (Read a recent Q&A with Baker from TCB’s “Interview Issue” here.)

Carlson Nelson was chair and CEO of global travel and hospitality company Carlson and has served on a wide variety of boards; in fact, she received a lifetime achievement award during TCB’s “Outstanding Directors Awards” for her exceptional board service.

Davis has also served on a long list of boards, ranging from the American Red Cross to the Minnesota Orchestra, which recently resolved a drawn-out labor dispute with musicians.

Both Baker and Davis were also vocal about their support for building the new Vikings stadium in order to keep the team in Minnesota.

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to bring the Super Bowl back to Minnesota,” Baker said in a statement. “Greater MSP has so much to offer and hosting the 2018 Super Bowl will shine another spotlight on our region and help us share our great story with the world.”

Davis added that the Twin Cities are home to 19 Fortune 500 companies and have a “robust business community.”

“While the global spotlight is already on our region for all that we have to offer, the Super Bowl would highlight our ability to showcase our community and to welcome thousands of visitors to the state,” Davis said.

Trying To Lure The Final Four Too

Shortly after Dayton's announcement about the Super Bowl bid, the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority said that it had learned that Minneapolis—and the planned multi-use stadium that will be home to the Vikings—is one of eight cities being considered to host NCAA men's Final Four basketball tournaments between 2017 and 2020.

The University of Minnesota and Meet Minneapolis will assist in formalizing a bid for that event, the group said.

The 2013 men's Final Four tournament helped generate more than $70 million in economic impact for Atlanta last year, according to the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority, which cited data from the Atlanta Visitor and Convention Bureau.

While the decision about the 2018 Super Bowl location will be revealed in May, the city won't learn until November whether it will host an NCAA Final Four tournament. In addition to Minneapolis, the NCAA is considering Atlanta, Indianapolis, New Orleans, North Texas, Phoenix/Glendale, San Antonio, and St. Louis as hosts.