New Super Bowl Records Show NFL’s Reach, But Yield No Bid Document

By Matt Ehling and Mike Kaszuba

The National Football League took wide-ranging control of U.S. Bank Stadium for Super Bowl LII – including being given 75 percent of the luxury suites at the facility, and having local officials pay to add temporary seating for the game, according to newly released documents.

But a spokesperson for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), which released the records on Tuesday and owns the stadium where the Super Bowl was played, said that the organization did not have a copy of Minnesota’s bid document submitted to the NFL.  To date, the formal bid document for the event has not been publicly released.

Documents reveal NFL requests

The newest records, obtained by Saint Paul-based non-profit Public Record Media (PRM), show that the NFL asked for police escorts “to move the media to/from interview sessions” at no charge to the NFL or the media.  The records also indicated that the NFL wanted a list of all union contracts covering the stadium – and whether they had no-strike clauses – and even asked that a “coin toss talent holding room” inside the stadium be made available for the game.  The NFL’s requests were contained within a “bid response questionnaire” related to the Super Bowl event.

The questionnaire document also noted that “access to video and surveillance systems in the Stadium and all NFL Official Events shall be provided at no cost to the NFL.”

The records showed that Minnesota’s Super Bowl Host Committee provided $1.25 million for Super Bowl staffing and expenses.  The documents detail how the NFL asked for “suitable” hotels with “star ratings [using] the Diamond Star Rating system” for the NFL/Media headquarters – and how the local bid committee offered the Hilton Minneapolis and the W Hotel, both of which it said came with four-star ratings.

The records also included this request: “All convention centers, arenas and concert sites in the Host Community with one thousand (1,000) or more seats must be reserved until September 1 of the year prior to the Designated Super Bowl, for potential events during the week leading up to the Game, including a Super Bowl Concert Series, NFL-sponsored sporting events, etc.”

The documents were released by the MSFA as part of a government data request first filed by PRM in 2014.  PRM had renewed its request for Super Bowl bid documents following the game.

Bid document not included in newest record production

An MSFA spokesperson stated in an e-mail to PRM that the agency did not have the official bid document that was submitted by Minnesota officials to host the game, which was played on February 4.

“The MSFA has searched its files but has not been able to locate a copy of the Super Bowl bid,” an agency spokesperson said via e-mail.

The newest documents indicate that representatives of Meet Minneapolis, the city’s convention and tourism arm, formed a substantial portion of Minnesota’s bid committee.  The committee also included Katie Clark Sieben, the then-commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.  The questionnaire document lists Steve Gordon of Meet Minneapolis as the “bid preparer.”

Story updated April 11, 2018 at 1:45pm; April 17 at 7:29pm