Minneapolis Keeps Scoring With Elite Venues
Scoreboards have lit up across Minneapolis over the past two years as the city played host to major sporting events during winter, spring, summer and fall.
Big doings are met with big hospitality in Minneapolis, aka the “Mini-Apple,” and fans have recently enjoyed Super Bowl LII in 2018, the 2019 NCAA Final Four Men’s Basketball Tournament, the 2019 X Games and the 2019 KPMG LPGA Championship.
And while Minneapolis is no stranger to accommodating sports’ grandest spectaculars, the City of Lakes is especially welcoming to rights holders and participants for several up-and-coming sports, junior and amateur events, including disc golf and quidditch.
Here’s a rundown on several of the city’s favored venues and their special approach to Bold North hospitality:
Soccer is the big game here as Allianz became the new home for Minnesota United FC in 2019. In July, the United States Men's National Soccer team opened the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup at Allianz and brought 19,400 fans to a frenzy.
A 360-degree canopy protects fans from the elements and a translucent polymer mesh rainscreen covers nearly 85% of the crowd. Allianz expands the playing season from early spring to late fall thanks to a special hydronic field heating system keeping the turf game ready.
Minneapolis Convention Center
Situated on the western edge of downtown, MCC has 475,00 feet of exhibit space, 87 meeting rooms, two grand ballrooms (18,070 and 9,452 square feet) and a 3,400-fixed-seat auditorium. It served as the venue for the NFL Experience for Super Bowl LII, Final Four’s Fan Fest and the 2019 Taekwondo Nationals at the end of June. Volleyball, dance, gymnastics, wrestling and many other indoor sporting events are easily accommodated here.
National Sports Center
Only 16 miles north of downtown Minneapolis in Blaine, NSC calls itself the world’s largest amateur sports facility with 50 grass soccer fields, eight-sheet ice arena rinks, a cycling velodrome, 100,000 square feet of indoor practice and meeting space, an 8,500-seat stadium, a 180-bed residence hall and is home to Victory Links Golf Course, the only PGA Tour-designed public golf course in the state of Minnesota.
The center hosts the annual Schwan’s USA Soccer Cup and recently the OneHockey Minnesota Gone Wild Tournament. The facility is host to the Minnesota Wind Chill, Minnesota’s professional Ultimate Disc team.
Theodore Wirth Park Trailhead
This lush park and newly built trailhead structure serves as the starting point for many outdoor events like cross-country skiing. The Loppet Foundation World Cup will be held here in 2020, which includes an off-road cycling and an Urban Trail Run—a half-marathon, 7-mile and 5K race through Minneapolis and a unique “triathlon” event that combines paddling, running and cycling through the city’s interconnected parks.
The trailhead is a gathering place, small event space (3,500-sq.-ft. great hall), café, an outdoor terrace and a workout facility.
The Armory gained fame as a sporting venue when the then Minneapolis Lakers began using it part time in 1947, making the Armory its primary home court during the 1959-1960 NBA season before moving to Los Angeles.
Today, the renovated building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as an 8,000-seat music and events venue. The Armory hosted concerts for the Super Bowl, X Games and NCAA Final Four. Late rock icon and Minneapolis native, Prince, shot his fabled “1999” music video here. The Amory maintains its historical ties to sports, most recently hosting a live boxing series.
Photo by Bill Kauffman, Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis