An anchor of the Minneapolis skyline for more than thirty years, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome — which opened in 1982 — has hosted an impressively diverse roster of exciting events. The Super Bowl, MLB All-Star Game, Final Four, and an era-spanning array of world-renowned musicians have all taken center stage. Most memorably, the stadium was transformed into the thunderous “Homer Dome” for both the 1987 and ’91 Minnesota Twins’ World Series championships.
By the mid-2000s, however, despites its historic pedigree, the iconic structure had clearly been lapped by Father Time.
In addition to its antiquated aesthetic — nothing screams 1970s and ’80s architecture quite like a marshmallow-shaped dome — its amenities failed to meet the needs of today’s tech-savvy fans and suite-selling owners. Indeed, playing landlord to three high-demand sports franchises (the Vikings, Twins, and Gopher football) presents unique challenges for any single dwelling, state-of-the-art or otherwise.
A trio of luxurious stadiums have since been erected including the eco-friendly Target Field and open-roof TCF Bank Stadium. This month, U.S. Bank Stadium completed the modern triumvirate and officially opened its doors after nearly three years of construction.
Though the first thing one notices about the new structure is its sleek, eye-catching exterior — including signature 95-foot pivoting glass doors — U.S. Bank Stadium’s interior forges an inviting personality all its own, with luxury elements rivaling any NFL domicile. Wireless internet, LED lighting, six club lounges, and a restaurant all contribute to a comfortable, fan-friendly environment.
The new 1.75-million square-foot building also includes numerous upgrades over its dome predecessor. It features ten times the number of high-definition televisions, more than twice as many bathrooms, a hundred additional concession stands, and a substantially wider concourse. And, to the delight of the Viking ownership group, you’ll also find nearly 50 extra suites and almost 8,000 more club seats.
Finally, as the Metrodome’s archaic video boards were woefully inadequate, U.S. Bank Stadium — much like AT&T Stadium in Dallas, also designed by architecture firm HKS, Inc. — features a dazzling screen display with two monitors measuring a total of 12,560 square feet, nearly ten times that of its forebear.
The first event in the dashing new building came on August 3 when defending Premier League champions Chelsea christened the field against A.C. Milan. Versatile as it is, however, U.S. Bank Stadium also hosts musical concerts including its first two performers: Luke Bryan (August 19) and Metallica (August 20).
And, while two preseason NFL games will also be played on its field (August 28 versus the Chargers and September 1 against the Rams), the first regular season matchup comes on September 18 when the Vikings host their eastern rival, the Green Bay Packers, during a Sunday Night Football clash — a primetime event certain to be as raucously unforgettable as any in recent memory.
By Jacob Westlin