Vikings Look To Work Out Kinks At TCF Before Regular Season
On Friday, the Vikings faced the Oakland Raiders for this year’s first home game at TCF Bank Stadium. While the team won on the field, was it also a success for their temporary home?
Vikings spokesman Jeff Anderson told TCB that Friday “was a very successful first game with an excellent crowd.” The attendance based on tickets sold and handed out was 51,752, coming close to the 52,525 capacity (1,720 bleacher seats were added in the west end zone to accommodate the Vikings). Anderson said the team was also happy with the number of tickets sold via walk-ups.
There were a few shortcomings, however—namely, congestion around the stadium at rush hour on Friday night, a problem that is expected to abate once regular season games on Sundays commence and fans become more aware of alternatives, Anderson said.
Parking lots and ramps around the stadium are under the management of the University of Minnesota and at least one lot’s season pass is already sold out. The Vikings have encouraged fans to take the new Green Line light-rail as well. Although, Anderson said about 25 percent of spectators used public transit for the preseason game, which caused congestion afterward as many people attempted to leave at once.
“There will be some challenges as we all get used to this—for the university, for the fans, for the neighborhood,” Anderson noted. “It’s been extremely collaborative and we’ll be meeting more this week with the university and Metro Transit to work out issues and make any tweaks as early as this Saturday.”
Anderson also said the team will meet with Aramark, the concessionaire at TCF and at the Vikings’ under-construction stadium, to ensure that it is equipped with enough products such as bottled water and beer to better handle the large crowds. The Vikings added numerous mobile concession and beer sales points as part of the $6.6 million in stadium modifications that were made to accommodate the professional team.
Other modifications included new turf with a heating system below, as well as increased storage space. Several modifications have yet to be completed including heating in some of the premium boxes and in concourse restrooms.
The Vikings’ terms with the University of Minnesota include a $250,000 per-game rental fee and $50,000 per game share of revenue and sponsorship. That’ll total about $3 million, Anderson said.
After the August 16 preseason game against the Cardinals, the organization will have about a month before the regular season opener to have everything ready, he added.