By Jon Krawczynski
AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota organizers submitted a preliminary bid Tuesday to host the 2018 Super Bowl, laying out a plan to host one of the biggest events in professional sports while also making thousands of visitors feel warm and welcome in what will almost certainly be a frigid February.
Minnesota is competing with New Orleans and Indianapolis for the game, hoping that the new indoor stadium that is due to be completed in 2016 will help put the bid over the top.
The Vikings revealed some details, including potential venues throughout Minneapolis, St. Paul and the suburb of Bloomington for various activities. The NFL Experience, a football theme park set up at the Super Bowl site each year, would likely be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, while more than 180 hotels and 19,000 hotel rooms will be available for the flood of visitors.
"Today, we put Minnesota's best foot forward, and we feel extremely good about our bid," said Richard Davis, the Super Bowl bid committee co-chair and U.S. Bank CEO.
The committee will meet with NFL staff in New York later this month to get feedback on the bid and make any final changes or clarifications before turning in the final version on May 7. A formal presentation will be made to team owners in Atlanta two weeks later.
Gov. Mark Dayton and several state Republican and Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter of support for the bid, which covered everything from practice sites for the two teams to 48 different venue options for events surrounding the game.
"The effort from the bid committee, as well as from Minnesota's business and community leadership, has been nothing short of outstanding," Vikings owner and team President Mark Wilf. "NFL owners will greatly enjoy this community's hospitality, venues and energy. Minnesota will deliver an outstanding Super Bowl in 2018."
One thing the bid does not contain, at least yet, is assurances of tax breaks that other cities have granted the NFL in years past, including players' salaries and tickets. State lawmakers are discussing the matter, with some expressing concerns that too many tax breaks will reduce the positive economic impact of bringing a Super Bowl to Minnesota. Chances that any of those tax breaks pass during this year's legislative session appear to be remote.
"This new stadium is being built to attract and host major events, some that will bring more than 100,000 visitors to fill our hotels and restaurants and to shop in our stores," said Michele Kelm-Helgen, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair. "Events like the Super Bowl provide national and international exposure to Minnesota as a place to live, work and do business. We hope this will be just one example of the many economic benefits the stadium will provide our great state."