Minneapolis to host 2018 Super Bowl
ATLANTA -- Shouts of "history, history," rang out from the room where the Minnesota Vikings delegation huddled together after the news was revealed.
Minneapolis, the supposed underdog city with frigid temperatures in the winter, came out on top in the race for the Super Bowl in 2018 when the final announcement was made Tuesday afternoon.
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Minneapolis beat out Indianapolis and New Orleans in a secret-ballot vote by NFL owners for Super Bowl LII.
"We're very proud to host Super Bowl LII," Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said. "It'll be an exciting time. I know we'll do a great job and we'll be proud. Working very hard right now to build a world-class venue."
New Orleans appeared to be the front-runner to host the Super Bowl. The city had been 10-for-10 in Super Bowl bids, and 2018 marks the tricentennial for the city of New Orleans.
Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl in 2012 and received high marks for hosting the event without major problems.
Each city was allotted 15 minutes to give a presentation and talk up why it deserved to host Super Bowl LII. Minneapolis' presentation to the owners included video of Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and former coach Bud Grant.
Its theme was "Built for the Bold" and included a pledge from the city of St. Paul to build a new ice castle if a Super Bowl came to town. The decision came on the team owners' fourth and final ballot. The first ballot didn't receive the 75 percent supermajority.
Indianapolis was knocked out of the running on the second ballot, leaving New Orleans and Minneapolis nervously waiting to see which city would be called. There wasn't a supermajority on the third ballot, sending the vote to the fourth ballot.
"All three bids were outstanding," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. "They each did a terrific job presenting. I think the distinguishing factor was the stadium."
The Vikings are scheduled to begin playing in a $1 billion stadium at the site of the old Metrodome in 2016. Minneapolis follows Dallas, San Francisco, Houston and Arizona as cities that were rewarded Super Bowls in the year of being eligible with a new stadium.
"The new stadium was absolutely the deciding factor," Jay Cicero of the New Orleans bid committee said. "Any time that there is so much public support for a $1 billion stadium, the NFL owners are impressed. We did everything we were supposed to do, had a fantastic presentation. In the end, we think the stadium did it."
Colts owner Jim Irsay said he will gladly offer assistance to the Vikings in preparation for Super Bowl LII.
"We have a proven track record of not having a glitch," he said. "I don't know how much of our weather we can give, which was almost 60 degrees at game day. I don't know if that's possible. We'd help out any way we could in terms of advising them."
Civic leaders worked to turn Minnesota's legendary winters into a selling point even though this past winter was the coldest in 35 years.
"We didn't shy away from it. We embraced it," Vikings president Mark Wilf said.
Details are still taking shape, but plans call for turning downtown's Nicollet Mall pedestrian area into a nearly mile-long Super Bowl boulevard to showcase outdoor activities. There also will be links with the St. Paul Winter Carnival, which is usually held in late January. The carnival has embraced winter for more than a century, featuring ice and snow sculpting, community sledding and parades. An extreme ice skating course has been a big hit in the capital city for the past two winters.
Only five Super Bowls have been played in cold-weather cities, including at the Metrodome in 1992 and this year's in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The Super Bowl is expected to draw 100,000 visitors to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, while more than 100 million people across the U.S. watch it on TV. Civic boosters and business leaders see it as a huge opportunity to lure conventions, meetings and other business that go elsewhere in the winter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.