When the Minnesota Vikings saw the success of the construction of the Detroit Lion's Super-dome (Which present day is no longer used by the Detroit Lion's), the Vikings quickly wanted something better themselves. Over time in the 1970s, the Twin-Cities metro area devised a plan to build a new facility that could house the Vikings & the Twins in a climate controlled venue. With the recent departure of the Minnesota Twins to their new venue located near the current site of the H.H.H. Metro-dome, the Vikings are now pursuing their own new place to call home.
Construction for the Metro-dome started on December 20, 1979 when construction crews broke ground. After its completion, it was first opened on April 3rd, 1982. The dome itself has had many tenants that have included the well-known Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, and on occasion the Minnesota Gophers. The cost of building the stadium came to about $68 million dollars, which fell about $2 million under budget. Local architect Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, known for building other local buildings, designed and constructed the Metro-dome. The Metro-dome has hosted the 1985 MLB All-Star game, 1987 & 1991 World Series, Super Bowl XXVI (1992), NCAA Final-Four in 1992 & 20001, and the 1998-1999 NFC Championship. It is the only known venue to hold the All-Star game, the World Series, Superbowl, and NCAA Final Four.
The roof is made of two layers of Teflon coated fiberglass fabric that needs 250,000 ft/min of air to keep it inflated. To maintain the air pressure, revolving doors for spectators entering and leaving the dome are used. The use of the two layers is to keep warm air under the top layer to melt snow that accumulates on top of the dome. There have been several instances that the dome deflated due to a tear in the Teflon or heavy snow. Only one game was delayed due to the issue, which was a Twins game versus California in 1983. It is this type of roof that has created a very loud stadium that has seen points of 118 & 125 decibels (Recorded during World Series). This has given the Minnesota Vikings the edge in home-field advantage assuming that the the loud atmosphere has made it difficult for visiting teams to play. Some teams like the Packers & Falcons have accused the Vikings for pumping extra noise through the speakers.
The Metro-dome was funded by limited hotel-motel and liquor tax, local business donations. Some speculation still believe that some of the taxes introduced to build the stadium exist today. From 1977 to 1979 there was a 2% metro wide tax on liquor sales that raised $8 million dollars. In 1979, the tax was was moved to the city of Minneapolis and removed from the metro area where the tax was increased to 3% and included hotel accommodations In 1984, the tax was lowered to 2% and raised $15.8 million and the tax was also repealed in 1984. The rest of the debt was paid for after the sale of the Met Center land in 1998. Some may argue today that certain parts of any of the tax increases that were created to support the stadium may exist today and never retired.
Since the Vikings have said that they will not re-new their lease with the Metro-dome if a new stadium plan is not set in stone, the managers of the Metro-dome believe the the dome will be doomed. In 2004, the operating expenses were roughly $10.3 million dollars. The total revenue for the Metro-dome that year was $13.1 million dollars, but when you remove the revenue of the Twins & Gophers ($1.3 million by the twins & $287k by the Gophers), the income becomes much smaller. In 2004, the Vikings created $5.7 million in revenue for the Metro-dome (44% of the Metro-dome's annual revenue). It is safe to say that the Metro-dome would not be able to survive without the Vikings. In 2004, the Metro-dome was producing about 300 events annually, but at the time only about 100 of those events came in from the Vikings, Twins, and Gophers. The rest of the events are not high revenue producers.
Red McCombs, a former owner, was pushing for a new stadium in 1999. He was willing to put forth $100 million of his own money towards a $400 million dollar stadium. His argument that the team being profitable at the time, may not be profitable in a few years. Current owner, Zygi Wilf, was in talks with Anoka county to build a stadium with a re-tractable roof with a seating capacity of 68,000 (The Metro-dome seats slightly over 60,000). The Vikings would put forth $280 million, Anoka County would put forth $280 million, and the state would put forth $115 million of the legislature approved. If everything would have gone according to plan, the new stadium would have been finished in 2009 or 2010. After the agreement, Zygi decided to drop plans of a roof of any kind. This restricted the stadium to be used year round. Zygi than started to work with Minneapolis officials which caused Anoka county to withdraw from the project. As of recent, a Minnesota legislator wanted to sell the Metro-dome to the Vikings for $1 and eliminate the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and help the Vikings increase revenue off of concessions, naming rights, advertising, etc. But the Vikings found the idea feasible considering that the venue would not work long-term for the economics in today's world of sports and also for the fans. A new stadium would help secure a long-term issue for the team to stay in Minnesota for years to come.
The Metro-dome is the smallest and second oldest facility in the NFL. The Metro-dome employs roughly 2,500 to 3,000 people each year. Non-profits raise nearly $2 million that is invested back into the community by non-profit concession stands. It has hosted football games, baseball games, basketball games, monster truck shows, sno-cross, concerts, pageants, political conventions, and many more events. The Minnesota Vikings arguably bring in a lot of revenue to the state as well from in-state and out of state patrons. A new stadium could bring in big events such as a Superbowl & NCAA tournaments.
New stadium or not, I believe the H.H.H. Metro-dome is doomed if the Minnesota Vikings leave.... Leaving nearly 3,000 people without a job and revenue lost to the state. We have had nearly 30 years of memories to remember from moments in the H.H.H. Metro-dome, I hope for many new years in a new venue as I believe regardless the Metro-dome will soon be no more.Its time for the politicians of Minnesota to think on behalf of the citizens that it represents over what may best suit them on how to get elected again.
Thank you for taking the time read this..