The new Minnesota Vikings
' stadium will open prior to the 2016 season. (Courtesy of Minnesota Vikings)
In what amounts to a substantial upset, Minnesota was chosen on Tuesday as the host of Super Bowl LII in 2018 over Indianapolis and perennial favorite New Orleans.
The main draw for the Minneapolis-St. Paul pitch: the Vikings' new stadium, which is expected to open in time for the 2016 NFL season at a cost of close to $1 billion. Unlike this past year's Super Bowl host, New York/New Jersey, which featured an open-air venue at The Meadowlands, Minnesota's upcoming home will include a retractable roof -- a must given the winter climate.
The MMQB's Peter King earlier laid out the reasons New Orleans was expected to beat out Minnesota and Indianapolis for this honor. Chief among them was the city's past successes hosting the game, as well as the fact that New Orleans' 300th birthday coincides with the 2018 game.
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However, the NFL has taken an interest in rewarding the sports's championship to teams who procure new stadiums. This coming season's host, the Phoenix area, was handed the game after opening University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale; San Francisco will welcome the 2016 Super Bowl to its freshly-minted Levi's Stadium; and Detroit, Dallas-Fort Worth and New York, among others, have won the annual vote for Super Bowl hosting duties following construction of sparkling facilities.
All three finalists made 15-minute pitches to the league's owners on Tuesday. Indianapolis was eliminated first in the balloting, leaving Minnesota and New Orleans. The first attempt at a final vote fell short of the required super majority, meaning that a city need only gain a simple majority from among the owners to be deemed the victor. Minnesota cleared that hurdle.
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This will be the Minneapolis area's second time hosting the Super Bowl. The 1992 game, Super Bowl XXVI won by Washington over Buffalo, was played at the now-demolished Metrodome.
New York/New Jersey's ability to pull off Super Bowl XLVIII without any significant hitch surely played to the benefit of Minnesota, another cold-weather location. According to Weather.com, average February temperatures in Minneapolis range from a high of 29 to a low of 13. The site also named Minneapolis/St. Paul the coldest major American city. Minneapolis averages upward of 50 inches of snow per year, meaning that travel and outdoor activities could be a challenge come Super Bowl week.
A snowstorm hit the New York/New Jersey area mere hours after Seattle's victory over Denver concluded, with travel out of the city grinding to a halt on the following Monday. The NFL also reportedly had a contingency plan in place, with the possibility of moving the game to another day, in the event of a major winter weather event landing on Super Bowl Sunday. Minnesota's Super Bowl likely will come with a similar backup plan, even though the game itself will be indoors.