Under standards to host the 2019 NCAA Men’s Final Four, U.S. Bank Stadium will need to be outfitted with large blackout curtains to eliminate sunlight.
Home to the Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium has already hosted several major events in its two seasons of use, including the most recent Super Bowl. Its next major event will be the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2019, and the stadium will have to undergo a specific modification in order to stage the games.
Standards require that all four teams receive the same lighting regardless of the time of day, which requires a change to U.S. Bank Stadium. The facility’s unique design includes a translucent material that is used for much of its roof, as well as a large glass window that offers view of downtown Minneapolis. Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) officials hope that a suitable solution can be found not only for the Final Four, but possibility for future events at the venue. More from the Star Tribune:
“The primary use will be for the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four,” the request said. “Permanently installed hardware to facilitate repeated use of the system is preferred where possible.”
In an interview Wednesday, [MSFA Chairman Mike] Vekich declined to provide a price range for the project, although he said, “It will be expensive — obviously.”
It’s truly a tall task, because U.S. Bank Stadium was designed to be airy and light. The 19-month-old building has 200,000 square feet of glass, according to the MSFA website. Then there’s the roof, half of which is a translucent plastic polymer. All the light sources must be draped to meet the NCAA specifications. The NCAA requires lighting to be consistent for the shoot-arounds and the games of all four teams, regardless of time of day.
The MSFA’s current budget for 2018 building improvements is projected to be $7.25 million. Vekich said the blackout drapery would come from that account. As to whether the MSFA would seek more money from the Legislature, meaning taxpayers, to cover the cost of the drapes, Vekich said, “At this point, I don’t see that.”
The MSFA issued a request for proposal in February to design, manufacture, and install the curtains. The 2019 NCAA Men’s Final Four will be the first to be played in Minneapolis since the Metrodome hosted the Final Four in 2001.
Image courtesy Minnesota Vikings.