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Judge Rules Against Vikings In Stadium Advertising Dispute

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Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

U.S. Bank Stadium, the future home of the Minnesota Vikings, has been the subject of a recent court battle. . .not really having to do with the stadium itself, mind you, but with some of the advertising around it.

Wells Fargo, one of U.S. Bank's chief rivals, has placed two large signs on rooftops near the stadium. The Vikings sued Wells Fargo over the signs, saying that the advertising is an attempt to "photobomb" the new stadium, as the advertising for Wells Fargo would be featured prominently in a lot of shots of the new stadium.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank ruled against the Vikings in their efforts to have a preliminary injunction granted that would have forced Wells Fargo to cover up the advertising.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Frank's ruling only covers whether or not Wells Fargo has to cover up the signage immediately, and said that the Vikings stand a good chance of getting the rival of U.S. Bank to do something about the advertising in the future.

U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank, who issued the ruling Thursday, tempered the bank's victory, however, by saying the Vikings have a "fair" chance at eventually prevailing and requiring that the signs be flush with the rooftop, not elevated 18 inches as they are now.

. . .

Under the two-year-old, 16-page agreement between developer Ryan Companies and the team, the Vikings say Wells Fargo was allowed to paint 56-by-56-foot logos on the rooftops of the office towers. In the past few months, Wells Fargo constructed signs on the rooftops that are raised 18 inches, which the Vikings say is a violation of the agreement.

Wells Fargo countered that the height of the signs makes little difference in their visibility and is within the bounds of the agreement. In his 15-page order, Frank said he found the bank's argument "inconsistent" with its assertion that the signs are important.

It's easy to understand why the Vikings think this is a big deal. U.S. Bank paid $220 million for the rights to have their name on the Vikings' new stadium, the primary purpose of which is to gain a whole lot of publicity as a result of it. Wells Fargo putting up a couple of big signs a couple of blocks away. . .signs that would be prominently featured in the aerial views of the stadium that football broadcasters enjoy using. . .would amount to them getting a whole lot of free publicity without having to pay the same price as U.S. Bank did.

Judge Frank has ordered that the case be set for trial, and will hopefully be settled before the stadium opens in late July.