U.S. Bank Stadium’s purple seats are ready and waiting for the venue’s first event just four months away, according to an announcement Tuesday.
The $1.1 billion building going up in downtown Minneapolis, the largest public-private project in state history, will continue to hit major milestones as the effort speeds toward early completion.
In a joint news release, the Vikings, builder Mortenson Construction and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) revealed that 58,000 fixed and 6,000 retractable seats had been installed. The retractable seats, on the north side of the bowl, allow the interior to be reconfigured for high school and college baseball games.
Construction of the building began with the demolition of the Metrodome in January 2014 with an August 2016 deadline, in time for the NFL season. Taxpayers in Minnesota are paying just under $500 million for the project. The Vikings, who will be the building’s primary tenant, are paying the rest.
Total seating capacity of the stadium is 66,200, including wheelchair and limited-mobility spaces and seating in the Club Purple lounge. And yes, all of the seats have cup holders and Vikings logos on the aisles.
The seats will be the closest to the action in the NFL, only 41 feet from the sideline. The turf suites will be just 25 feet from the sideline with some fans able to high-five players at ground level as they run out of the tunnel onto the field.
Seat sizes range from 19-22 inches wide. To compare, 17-18 inches is a common width on airplanes. The stadium seats were installed with 33 to 35 inches between rows.
Team owner and President Mark Wilf said the design of the seating gives the stadium an “intimate” feel despite the size. “Along with a more comfortable seating experience, fans will have incredible views of the field no matter their location,” he said.
MSFA Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen touted the “sightlines” from the seats.
The Vikings have similarly noted the placement of the massive end zone video boards in relation to the seats so fans won’t have to strain their necks or eyes to see them.
Mortenson construction executive Eric Grenz said the configuration is “intelligently designed and will offer maximum flexibility for events.”
Typically, stadium seats are installed directly into the concrete, but not here. The seats are placed on a rail system that allows them to be pushed closer together for extra capacity.
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Irwin Seating Co. installed the seats.
The public will have a chance to tour the building for free at an open house event in July before the first soccer match Aug. 3.
The Vikings have sold more than 46,000 stadium-builder licenses, which are required to purchase season tickets. Fewer than 4,000 remain. Just four of the 131 suites remain available.
The 2018 Super Bowl will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium, as well as the 2019 NCAA basketball Final Four.