So, after much fussin' and feudin'. . .sorry, just finished watching my DVR'd copy of Hatfields and McCoys. . .the Minnesota Vikings are finally getting a new stadium. That's all well and good. But, at the most, the Vikings will be using it twelve times a year (figuring eight regular season games, two pre-season games, and two post-season games). One of the big selling points of the stadium is that it would bring a lot of other great events to Minnesota.
Which events are we potentially looking at, and when could we potentially see them? Well, let's have a look.
This is the obvious one that people are going to point to. The Metrodome hosted a Super Bowl back in 1992. The game was relatively horrible, remembered more for Buffalo Bills' running back Thurman Thomas misplacing his helmet on the sidelines during the first series of the game than for the game itself, but it was the only time Minneapolis has hosted the game. The NFL schedules the locations for the Super Bowl a few years in advance, but if recent history is any indication, once the new stadium opens, it will be in line to host the big game in short order.
Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened in time for the 2008 season, hosted this past year's Super Bowl. Cowboys Stadium opened in time for the 2009 season, and was hosting the Super Bowl in February of 2011. University of Phoenix Stadium, which opened in 2008, hosted a Super Bowl in 2008 and will host the game again in 2015. If the stadium opens in time for the Vikings to use it for the 2016 NFL season, the earliest it would be able to host the game would be 2017, which would be Super Bowl LI (or 51 for you non-Romans). I'm not sure if it will get the game that early, but seeing the stadium host Super Bowl LII isn't an unrealistic expectation, in my opinion.
Big Ten Championship Game
The Minnesota Golden Gophers haven't really been a force in the national college football scene in a very long time. However, a shiny new stadium would be a perfect place to hold the game where the Big Ten determines its champion, and that could be something that comes to the new Minneapolis stadium in the very near future.
As it stands now, Lucas Oil Stadium is under contract to host the game until 2015. Since the game would take place during the same time frame as the pro football season, the new Minneapolis stadium could conceivably host the game in 2016, the first season of the stadium's existence.
NCAA Men's Final Four Basketball
This is another event that the Metrodome played host to back in 1992, and also hosted it again in 2001. The three games of the 2001 Final Four averaged about 45,000 people in attendance, which was a pretty good turnout considering that the closest team geographically to Minneapolis for the Final Four was Michigan State. They were joined by Maryland, Arizona, and the eventual champion Duke Blue Devils.
The NCAA already has their Final Fours scheduled out through the 2016 edition, which is good. Again, the earliest that the new Minneapolis stadium would be able to host a Final Four would be April of 2017. I'm sure they'll be in the mix for something like that.
For those of you that came to see our Wrestlemania coverage, you can probably figure that I'd be especially "geeked" (as the kids might say) over the Granddaddy Of Them All in the wrestling world making its way to Minneapolis. Given Minnesota's strong ties to the world of professional wrestling, it would seem natural for the event to make its way to Minneapolis. The closest it has been geographically is Detroit (WHERE HULK HOGAN BODYSLAMMED ANDRE THE GIANT, BROTHER!)
Wrestlemania has gotten a little more interesting with some of their locations in recent years. In fact, next year's event, Wrestlemania XXIX, will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on April 7, 2013. If the WWE is brave enough to schedule their biggest event of the year for an outdoor stadium in New Jersey in early April (average high temperature: 62 degrees), then certainly they could bring it to Minneapolis. Heck, if the stadium has a retractable roof, it could even be opened up for the event (or closed during it, if necessary). Since WWE only names the site for Wrestlemania a year in advance, it's possible that the earliest one that would happen in Minneapolis is Wrestlemania XXXIII, which would take place in the spring of 2017.