Super Bowl more than just a one-day event

I was “bowled” over as I heard Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead recently talk about plans underway for the Super Bowl LII two-week extravaganza that will affect the Twin Cities region and the entire state.
The game itself will be Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium, preceded by events expected to attract a million people, resulting in an estimated $400 million in direct economic purchases, the mayor said.
Naturally, the mayor said over 41,000 hotel rooms are rapidly being booked, including those in the 52 hotels in Bloomington. A typical $100 per night room will cost $300, on average, for the Super Bowl, according to the mayor.
In addition, 5,000 media from all over the world are expected to write and telecast stories about the state, publicity worth about $500 million, Mayor Winstead explained last week at a meeting of Bloomington Chamber of Commerce business members, hosted by the City of Bloomington.
The theme of that meeting was emerging trends that could affect their businesses in the future, but the mayor’s talk about how the Super Bowl events could affect their businesses focused on the “present.”
Speaking from a prepared script, the mayor said the theme of “Bold North” is meant to entice visitors to experience state treasures that are well beyond the scope of the Super Bowl, such as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
The big show will feature 10 days of events throughout the Twin Cities that are expected to attract one million people.
The Mall of America will be a hub of activities where visitors can expect to see media from around the world, NFL players and celebrities.
Here are just some of the events cited by the mayor.
The St. Paul Winter Carnival will be featured, highlighted by a bigger-than-ever ice castle at the State Capitol and the traditional ice sculptures.
Special free concerts throughout the 10 days will be played along Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.
One of the more fascinating events will be Opening Night, a ticketed event at a site to be announced when each patron will be able to watch the two teams address thousands of fans and media.
The ever-popular U.S. Pond Hockey Championships will be played at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis will host the City of Lakes Loppet, a cross-country skiing event that will start at Theodore Wirth Park.
The Taste of the NFL will feature famous chefs from National Football League cities. This event originated in the Twin Cities during the Super Bowl held here 25 years ago. Proceeds from this ticketed event will go to relieve hunger.
The convention center in Minneapolis will be turned into Super Bowl Experience, “Disney Land for Football Fans,” summed up a spokesperson for the Super Bowl Committee.
There will be more than a week of free concerts featuring both local and national acts, and you can expect some tributes to Minnesota legends like Prince, said the committee spokesperson.
An NFL Women’s Summit Conference is scheduled.
The mayor stressed grants from the Super Bowl Legacy Fund are being distributed to cities for 52 weeks benefitting health and wellness of youth. For example, Anoka has received funds to build a recreational facility for kids with special needs.
Even though you may not have a ticket to the Super Bowl game, the committee wants you to enjoy many festivities during the 10 days they claim will be a winner.— Don Heinzman (Editor’s note: Heinzman is a columnist for ECM Publishers.)