January 18, 2019 07:01 PM
The Minnesota Sport Facilities Authority Friday approved an increase of $186,870 to a $1,257,425 contract with Chicago Flyhouse, the company providing some of the blackout curtains required at U.S. Bank Stadium to host this season's NCAA men's basketball Final Four.
NCAA officials have said the drapes are necessary to ensure consistent lighting for teams. Authority members say the increase to the Chicago Flyhouse contract will allow for the addition of two "acoustical curtains" to improve sound quality in the stadium.
A second company is also doing blackout work for the stadium's roof and ceiling.
The authority board approved the purchase of the curtains unanimously at a meeting in June. At that time, it was said that 460,000 square feet of windows, along with the top and sides of the stadium, would be covered.
The MSFA argues the window coverings should not be counted as part of the cost of hosting the Final Four because the improvements will also be used during future events.
Mangers also dismissed public criticism that the $6.9 million operating cost for the Final Four is significantly more than the MSFA's cost to host the Super Bowl in 2018. For that event, the NFL offset many of the costs, leaving the Authority with a tab of just $627,000.
"The stadium is built for football, so doing a football game is pretty easy for us," said SMG general manager Patrick Talty. "We're putting a basketball game inside of a football stadium which takes a lot more coordination, a lot more build."
U.S. Bank Stadium is expected to seat as many as 70,000 people for the Final Four, which would be the highest capacity for the stadium since it opened.
A study commissioned by the Minnesota Local Operating Committee estimates the Final Four could have an economic impact on the region worth $142 million.
Updated: January 18, 2019 07:01 PM
Created: January 18, 2019 11:02 AM
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