SBD/Issue 64/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NFL Moves Giants-Vikings To Detroit After Metrodome Roof Falls

Watch Video From The Metrodome

The NFL rescheduled yesterday's Giants-Vikings game for 7:20pm ET tonight at Detroit's Ford Field after "snow and high winds ripped and deflated" the Metrodome roof yesterday morning, according to a front-page piece by DePass, Zulgad & McGrath of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The Vikings said that "any ticket holders to the original Vikings-Giants game who make it to Detroit will be admitted and given preferred seating along the 50-yard line." Vikings season-ticket holders and those who "bought tickets through the Vikings office or Ticketmaster will get full refunds if they can't make it to the game." An estimated crowd of 64,000 was expected to attend yesterday's game, so with "season ticket holders paying $30 to $150 a ticket and more money at the concession stand, potential losses could be high." Vikings officials yesterday were "collecting spray-painted advertising templates from the Dome that could be used in Detroit." The team's next home game is in just seven days, a "MNF" matchup against the Bears, and Vikings officials are "looking for an alternate site" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/13). In Detroit, Monarrez & Birkett note fans who want to attend tonight's game at Ford Field "won't be charged for admission." Fans will "need a ticket for the game," and those became available this morning at 9:00am at Ford Field, while "anyone with a ticket stub for Sunday’s Packers-Lions game can use that for admission to the game." All tickets are "good for unassigned general-admission seats, though fans with tickets to the originally scheduled game will have preferred seating." The Lions last hosted a Monday night game in '01 at the Silverdome, and team President Tom Lewand said, "We hope it's a great event. It’s free. Obviously that’s something that was important to us" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/13). Also in Detroit, Santiago Esparza reports the Lions stopped the distribution at 10:40am due to the "'overwhelming response' to demand for the tickets." Fans could obtain "up to four tickets per person," and hundreds of fans "braved frigid temperatures and biting winds to wait in line ... for a chance to snag" the tickets (DETNEWS.com, 12/13).

READY OR NOT, HERE WE COME: In N.Y., Borzi & Battista report "things were hectic" yesterday at Ford Field, where "minutes after the Lions concluded a 7-3 victory over the Green Bay Packers, workers began scrubbing Lions logos from the end zones to paint in those of the Vikings, part of an attempt to give the field the look of a home game for them." Lewand said, "We’re going to work to make this as accommodating of a game for both teams, but particularly the Vikings, since it is their home game that is being lost" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/13). Lewand stressed that Ford Field "would try to be as Vikings-friendly as possible." When asked if that meant he "would encourage Lions fans to cheer" for their NFC North rival Vikings, Lewand smiled and said, "Next question" (DETROIT NEWS, 12/13). Meanwhile, Metrodome concessionaire Aramark is "donating all the food prepared for the postponed game ... to a food shelf" (AP, 12/12).

Ford Field Was Selected As Host Of
Giants-Vikings Game Sunday Morning

SCRAMBLING OUT OF THE POCKET: In St. Paul, Brian Murphy reports the "hastily organized change of venue was made Sunday morning after a series of conference calls" involving officials with the Metropolitan  Sports Facilities Commission, the NFL, the Vikings and Giants. The league contacted the Univ. of Minnesota about using TCF Bank Stadium, but NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello said that UM officials "told the league the stadium already had been closed for the winter after the Gophers' final game Nov. 28 and that the school would need more than 24 hours to reopen." Still, UM Athletic Communications Dir Garry Bowman said that the university "could try to make TCF Bank Stadium available for next week's game against Chicago if the Metrodome remains unplayable." Saints Owner Tom Benson and Colts Owner Jim Irsay "offered their respective domed stadiums to the Vikings" for tonight's game, but Ford Field "proved the most practical alternative." Detroit is "closer to Minneapolis, and Fox Sports, which has broadcast rights for the game, already was in Motown to televise" yesterday's Packers-Lions game (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/13). Giants President & CEO John Mara said, "Detroit seemed to be the most logical, I think, primarily because it's fairly close by and because Fox already has its TV equipment out there" (NEWSDAY, 12/13).

SEARCHING FOR A PLAN: In Newark, Mike Garafolo reports Mara was "very much opposed" to playing the game at TCF Bank Stadium "because of subzero wind chills." The Giants "didn't have any of their cold-weather gear because they were expecting to play a game in a dome." Other "concerns -- college hash marks, lack of video replay equipment and the fact the stadium hasn’t hosted an event since Nov. 27 -- ensured that option was quickly ruled out" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 12/13). Mara yesterday noted that he "immediately suggested moving the game to New Meadowlands Stadium." Mara said, "I suggested that several times, but that didn’t get very far." The NFL in '05 moved the Giants-Saints game from the Superdome to Giants Stadium after Hurricane Katrina (N.Y. POST, 12/13).

WHAT'S IN STORE FOR NEXT WEEK? In Minneapolis, Zulgad & Scoggins note Vikings players and officials have "no certainty where they will be next Monday night when they are scheduled to play host to the Chicago Bears, a game that was supposed to be a celebration of their 50th season." MSFC officials yesterday "remained optimistic the roof could be repaired in time for the Bears game, which is the Vikings' regular-season home finale." But there already is "talk of moving the game" to TCF Bank Stadium. It would take "about four days to bring TCF out of hibernation" for Bears-Vikings (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/13).

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