View Full Version : Minnesota Vikings Pre Season Training camp.

08-29-2003, 01:04 PM
I found this story at the KELO TV website. It does not mention SDSU as being the host for this camp, but there seems to be strong politcal support to get this camp to South Dakota.

South Dakota Leaders Hope To Draw Vikings Training Camp
(Sioux Falls, South Dakota-AP) -- South Dakota doesn't have a National Football League team.

But state leaders hope to bring the Minnesota Vikings to the state for training camp next year.

Governor's spokesman Mark Johnston, says the state received a proposal from the team Wednesday on the requirements for hosting the pre-season camp. He says the next step is to get a group together to go through it and see what sites around the state would work.

Johnston says South Dakota would get a boost in tourism if it earned the right to host the Vikings.

The team now trains in Mankato, Minnesota, but is looking for a new town to go to next summer.

2003 Associated Press.

09-01-2003, 07:18 PM
Very interesting stuff. I wonder if a finished Coughlin-Alumni (Wellness Center) would help make this a reality. ::) Good stuff SDSUFAN!


10-12-2003, 01:02 AM
State pursues Vikings camp
Stu Whitney
Argus Leader

published: 10/12/2003

Sioux Falls dangles stadium complex, hotel, money for a shot at NFL prestige

More than 40 years after the Minnesota Vikings played their first-ever game in Sioux Falls, Gov. Mike Rounds and a group of local business leaders are trying to lure the National Football League team back across the border.

Rounds and Kelby Krabbenhoft, Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health System president, are heading an effort to bring the Vikings' annual three-week training camp to Sioux Falls. The move could pump as much as $3 million into the local economy each summer.

"It will change the landscape of sports in this town," Krabbenhoft said. He has assembled a panel of civic leaders who will meet Monday to discuss the possibility of hosting the Vikings at a renovated Howard Wood Field complex.

For 39 years, the NFL team has held training camp at Minnesota State University- Mankato, about an hour southwest of Minneapolis. But that contract expired in August, and the Vikings are accepting bids in an effort to increase the appeal and profitability of the camp, which typically draws 50,000 fans a summer.

"Sioux Falls represents a place where the business community, the city and the state can join together to do something they can't get done in Mankato," said Krabbenhoft, a Mankato native who was asked by Rounds to enlist Sioux Falls corporate support for the bid. The proposal must be presented by Oct. 31. The team is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.

"The Vikings have reached a saturation point in that broader metro area, and the highest concentration of season-ticket holders outside that area is Sioux Falls," Krabbenhoft added. "This is a chance to go where their brand is appreciated."

South Dakota is competing against Mankato as well as Duluth and St. Cloud, which is exploring a bid in conjunction with nearby St. John's University.

Two other Minnesota cities, Blaine and Rochester, recently dropped out of the running.

Mankato civic leaders estimate that hosting the Vikings in July and August adds $2 million to $3 million to their local economy while also giving the city national visibility. That's why they intend to put up a fight.

"It's the Minnesota Vikings, not the South Dakota Vikings," said Mankato Chamber of Commerce president Dave Schoop. "People here feel that for 39 years, we've been a good host, and we will work hard to continue that. We feel like the Vikings' training camp is synonymous with Mankato."

But Vikings owner Red McCombs has encouraged a competitive bid process, and Rounds and his staff hosted a visit last Monday from a group of Vikings officials led by executive vice president Mike Kelly.

After touring athletic and lodging facilities in Brookings and Sioux Falls, the team informed Rounds that Sioux Falls was a more legitimate option than holding camp at South Dakota Dakota State University.

The plan centers around Howard Wood Field, which was built in 1960 and hosted the Vikings' inaugural exhibition game against the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 5, 1961.

"There's some history here," said Ron Williamson, a Sioux Falls businessman and state representative who will serve on Krabbenhoft's panel. "And obviously it would be a real boon for the city and state. My personal concern is that we understand completely what the Vikings are looking for and make sure it is not merely an attempt to put us in a bidding war."

Howard Wood Field was recently fitted with a $650,000 synthetic FieldTurf surface, which the Vikings are considering as a replacement for their artificial turf at the MetroDome.

At least two NFL-size practice fields would have to be added to the main stadium - as well as major locker room improvements - to fit the Vikings' criteria, which are spelled out in an 11-page Request for Proposal (RFP).

Krabbenhoft, who grew up in Mankato and worked as a ballboy at Vikings training camps, said major enhancements to Howard Wood Field can be achieved through a combination of state, city and corporate funding.

10-12-2003, 01:04 AM
One plan, he said, is to "capture part of a parking lot" to create three side-by-side practice facilities with FieldTurf surfaces.

He added that players and staff would stay at the Sheraton Hotel, while team meeting rooms and offices would be set up at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

"We're seeking to completely inhabit the convention center and the Sheraton from July 10 to Aug. 15," said Krabbenhoft. "The NFL has evolved into a situation where living quarters are expected to be more like the Sheraton than a college dorm room."

Sheraton general manager Bill Bennett confirmed that Vikings officials toured the hotel last Monday.

Krabbenhoft also opened the possibility of putting a cover over Howard Wood Field so the Vikings could practice "indoors" during inclement weather.

Mark Meile, who operates the football stadium for the Sioux Falls School District, said officials from the Vikings toured the facility last week.

"I don't know that we overwhelmed them," said Meile. "If I was trying to sell my house and got that sort of reaction, I would probably say they weren't very interested. My guess is that they might be posturing to get a better deal out of Mankato."

Still, while there are serious hurdles regarding the suitability of facilities, South Dakota's bid is being taken seriously because of the financial commitment Rounds appears willing to make.

"The governor is very committed to working with the community of Sioux Falls to attract the Vikings to South Dakota," said press secretary Mark Johnston, adding that Rounds recently visited the NFL team's headquarters in Eden Prairie.

"This is an opportunity to draw thousands of people to the state to watch the Vikings, and the strong corporate culture in Sioux Falls makes it an attractive choice."

Added Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson: "There really isn't a lot of time, so we're going to have to rely on the expertise that the state has to offer. (Rounds) has put a lot of time and effort into this."

Johnston denied a source's claim that Rounds had already verbally committed $3 million to the training camp proposal.

But Minnesota State athletic director Kevin Buisman, who helps host the camp in Mankato, said South Dakota's bid has drawn attention because of potentially lucrative overtures being made to Kelly and McCombs.

"From everything we've heard, South Dakota is maybe the front-runner in terms of putting together the best financial package," said Buisman. "They intend to be very aggressive financially, but one thing you can't replace is 39 years of experience. Our strength lies in our operational expertise and our facilities. The revenue component is one thing we wanted to shore up in our proposal, and I think we've come up with a good plan."

According to Kelly, the Vikings pay about $500,000 in food and rent expenses to hold training camp in Mankato, and the team has made it clear that it wants to cover those costs and turn the three-week camp into more of a festive, money-making event.

While the team has the right to revenues from ticket sales, parking and concessions, the host city benefits from the influx of summer visitors.

McCombs, who is from San Antonio, is well aware that the city paid an up-front fee of $400,000 to host the Dallas Cowboys' training camp this summer - money that was drawn from that city's hotel occupancy tax coffers.

"One of the strong messages from the Vikings was that they wanted to have some or all of their camp expenses reduced or eliminated, and they wanted to explore additional revenue opportunities," said Buisman. "There are models in place that Mr. McCombs is very familiar with."

But in Minnesota, where Gov. Tim Pawlenty has bristled at Rounds' overt attempts to lure business across the border, some question the wisdom of the Vikings' South Dakota dealings.

"The sentiment here is that it's a political hot potato," said Buisman. "A lot of folks will wonder how the Vikings can present a new stadium bill asking for taxpayer support and yet move their training camp out of state. That's somewhat hard for people here to reconcile. The buzz on the street is, 'Are they really willing to sacrifice a $300 million stadium to make small revenue gains during training camp?' "

Though most NFL teams stay close to home for summer camps, one notable exception is the Kansas City Chiefs, who have trained 400 miles away in River Falls, Wis., for the past 13 seasons and are currently in the option year of that deal.

Krabbenhoft believes Sioux Falls has a chance to establish its own rewarding tradition with the Vikings, who debuted here as an expansion team 42 years ago when local businessmen raised enough money to lure the team across the border.

"There would be busloads and plane-loads of people coming here to see their favorite team," said Krabbenhoft, who will try to meet with McCombs at the MetroDome when the Vikings play Denver next Sunday.

"There would be one or two scrimmages a week when Howard Wood Field would fill up with 10,000 fans. We're trying to sell different aspects of South Dakota to our young people, and they love this kind of stuff. If we want to excite and ignite creative, youthful minds, this plan is consistent with what we've got to do for the future of South Dakota."

10-12-2003, 07:59 PM
Looks like SDSU is not part of the deal, but with everything else going on maybe that is a blessing in disguise.

10-12-2003, 10:18 PM
That may be true. Maybe after we get our facilities in order and on our way in DI they will look at us again. A new wellness center, an indoor training center, and a new dormitory couldn't hurt our chances.