Updated: 04/18/2014 6:36 AM
Created: 04/17/2014 6:54 PM KSTP.com
By: Tom Hauser
The new Minnesota Vikings stadium will be ready for the 2016 NFL season. It will also be ready to host a NCAA Final Four sometime between 2017 and 2020.
"They had a lot of good questions for us that indicated they were pretty serious about us," says Michele Kelm Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. She traveled to the Final Four in Dallas this month to see the event in person and to meet with NCAA officials about the preliminary bid submitted by Minneapolis.
Minneapolis is one of eight metropolitan areas bidding to host Final Fours between 2017-2020. The others include Indianapolis, Atlanta, New Orleans, St. Louis, Dallas, Phoenix-Glendale and San Antonio.
Kelm Helgen says Minneapolis has several factors working in its favor. An extensive light rail line will connect many Final Four venues with hotels where fans will be staying; there will be a new skyway connection between downtown and the stadium and there will be the new stadium itself. "I think they see it as something that a lot of people will want to come to see and experience," Kelm Helgen said.
NCAA officials will visit the Twin Cities and the other cities that are bidding this summer. They are expected to name hosts for the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 Final Fours in November.