SBD/January 3, 2011/Franchises

Twins Move Fan Event To Smaller Space With Metrodome Unusable

TwinsFest is "surviving the collapse of the Metrodome's roof with a move" to the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., but it "might be a smaller affair" this year, according to John Welbes of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. The Twins last Thursday said that the event, which "attracts about 30,000 fans annually drawn by opportunities to meet Twins players," will take place as scheduled Jan. 28-30. But the "move to the Sports Center, a venue with less indoor space than the Dome, could limit the number of available tickets." The Twins said that they are "working with Sports Center staff to determine how many people can fit inside the Sports Hall and the Schwan Conference Center in Blaine at any one time." Twins Exec Dir of Public Affairs Kevin Smith noted that the Sports Hall has 58,000 square feet of space, compared to 100,000 for the Metrodome field. Smith said, "We'll customize what we do in there to fit the space" (TWINCITIES.com, 12/30). Twins President Dave St. Peter: "We are working on the scale of the event at the National Sports Center as we speak. Understanding we will have less total square footage to play with, the event's scope is going to have be altered" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/31).

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Exec Dir Bill Lester indicated that the Metrodome "can't stay open without the Vikings," whose lease to play in the facility expires after the '11 NFL season. In Minneapolis, Kevin Duchschere notes the Metrodome "takes in about $8.5 million a year; $6.6 million of that comes from the Vikings, and $1.9 million from other bookings." Lester said that MSFC officials have "had meetings with the Northern League about locating a minor league baseball franchise at the Dome, but that cash flow would still be an issue without the Vikings." If the Vikings were to leave the Metrodome, Lester said, "Our analysis shows that with current levels of income, we could probably last a couple years." Last year was the "first ever at the Dome without a Twins season," but Lester noted that the "newly opened dates didn't last long." He said, "The 81 Twins' home games were replaced by 240-odd other games. We fit the equivalent of three major league seasons (into one)" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/3).

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