The opening of U.S. Bank Stadium resulted in not only a win for the Minnesota Vikings, but also a fitting debut for the hyped facility.
Facing the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football, the Vikings pulled off a 17-14 victory, despite a third quarter injury to running back Adrian Peterson. In all, the Vikings welcomed 66,813 fans to U.S. Bank Stadium, which allowed the team to return to downtown Minneapolis after spending the past two seasons at TCF Bank Stadium.
That the game was witnessed by a large crowd is not a surprise. Previous events at U.S. Bank Stadium–including a soccer friendly and Vikings’ preseason contests–drew high attendance marks, and the Vikings managed to sell out their slate of tickets for this season. As the Star Tribune noted in a feature prior to Sunday’s game, the team put several touches into place to make the atmosphere surrounding U.S. Bank Stadium’s debut a little different than the standard football game:
Jordin Sparks, who at 17 won “American Idol” in 2007, will perform the national anthem for the prime-time game against the Green Bay Packers. The Minnesota Orchestra scrambles onto the field to perform at halftime, a complicated enough feat that the team requested an extension of the standard 12-minute halftime break. The team also will honor Prince, a lifelong Vikings fan, with something so special that most staff haven’t seen a preview.
The franchise sold out the entire season even though fans had to pay a collective $100 million before they could buy season tickets.
The Vikings aren’t even trying to play it cool.
“We want to make the Green Bay game perfect for the fans,” team vice president Tanya Dreesen said.
To make that happen, some members of the Vikings’ staff convened with Walt Disney Co. staff to learn the approach that has made the brand a global leader in customer relations. They learned some tricks but won’t divulge them.
While U.S. Bank Stadium is the only brand new facility to open in the NFL this year, there is another notable stadium appearance to watch for next week. On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins will play their season’s first home game at Hard Rock Stadium, which was extensively renovated over the offseason.
Image courtesy Minnesota Vikings.