A contentious court battle between the Minnesota Vikings and Wells Fargo has ended in the Vikings favor, as Wells Fargo has been ordered to remove signage around U.S. Bank Stadium.
At the core of the issue were illuminated, elevated signs that Wells Fargo had installed on office towers near the stadium. The Vikings contended that the signs were effectively a photobomb of U.S. Bank Stadium, where sponsor U.S. Bank has exclusive access to branding on the facility’s roof.
One of the contingencies of the stadium plan is that the Vikings can control signage in the surrounding area, which includes the two 17-story office towers where the Wells Fargo signs were mounted. In 2014, the two parties signed an agreement that allowed Wells Fargo to place a painted, flushed sign on the building. Wells Fargo, however, proceeded with plans for illuminated signs, prompting the Vikings to file for legal action last December.
While U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank ruled in favor of the Vikings, he took shots at both parties in his summary. More from the Star Tribune:
In the judge’s summary in the order, Frank said he “continues to have difficulty understanding the parties’ inability to resolve this matter” outside of court. He pointed out that both the Vikings and Wells Fargo claim “public interest” because they are partners of the state and city in redeveloping the eastern end of downtown.
“In light of these partnerships, each party proclaims its contributions and commitment to the community, yet neither seems to comprehend the possibility that spending vast time and resources on this litigation might disserve the public interest,” he wrote.
As part of the decision, Wells Fargo will not only have to remove the signage, but is on the hook for the Vikings’ legal fees.
For the Vikings, this win reaffirms their control over the surrounding area, which is crucial for their agreement with U.S. Bank, particularly over the next few seasons. The stadium’s grand opening is set for July, with the first pre-season game in August, and the regular season opener on September 18. U.S. Bank Stadium will be on perhaps its biggest stage on February 4, 2018, when it hosts Super Bowl LII.
Images courtesy Minnesota Vikings.