Before it even opens, U.S. Bank Stadium added another major sporting competition to its roster of upcoming events.
The new home of the Minnesota Vikings will host ESPN's X Games in July of 2017 and 2018.
City leaders made the announcement on the western plaza of the stadium as four Moto X riders sped up ramps to turn flips in the air and land on a second ramp. The X Games target and appeal to millennials. The four days of events feature skateboarding, BMX and the Moto X competitions as well as music and cultural activities.
Minneapolis City Council Member Jacob Frey said the city can use the games to showcase how hip, healthy and beautiful the region is. Council President Barb Johnson said once the games are held here, they'll never find a better venue.
The games are a "chance to showcase Minneapolis' vitality," she said, then thanked organizers for selecting her city and promised, "We will do it up really well."
Frey said, "I am beyond pumped right now."
The stadium already has won bids to host the 2018 Super Bowl and the 2019 Final Four.
For the past two years, the X Games were held in Austin, Texas. The X Games have an average daily attendance of 45,000. Overall attendance the past three years ranged from 100,000 to 160,000. The Minneapolis convention bureau has estimated the economic impact on the region to be about $100 million each year.
If the demonstration at the news conference is an indication, the games will be a thrill for even Gen Xers and baby boomers.
Rich Kearns, 31, who lives in Temecula, Calif., was one of the bikers doing the jumps and somersaults, already spends much of his summer in Minnesota on tour doing events. Kearns was the only American to participate in the "best trick" category at the recent games and he confirmed the jumping is no easier than it looks, saying, "The first jump is always terrifying."
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747