SBD/September 19, 2012/Franchises

Vikings, City Officials Launch "Railgating" Initiative To Boost Game-Day Business

Minneapolis city officials and representatives of the Vikings “signed off Tuesday on a plan to allow more than a dozen food vendors to set up shop along a two-block stretch of the Hiawatha light-rail line Sunday in hopes of luring more fans" to the 49ers-Vikings game, according to Richard Meryhew of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Mayor R.T. Rybak said the experiment, dubbed "railgating," is designed to "add more sizzle" to pre- and postgame festivities. Meryhew notes the railgating idea is “part of a broader vision by Rybak and city officials to provide fans with an alternative to more traditional tailgating, and generate more game-day traffic and activity in advance of the opening of a new downtown stadium in 2016.” Rybak said that he “hopes the city and downtown restaurateurs can eventually turn Fifth Street ... into a 'Purple Path,' where fans gather at food and beverage trucks and celebrate” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/19).

GAME ON
: In Minneapolis, Jean Hopfensperger writes the arrival yesterday of the state of Minnesota's first video pulltab games created "a stir at five popular nightspots and launching an experiment expected to fund a new Vikings stadium while opening a fresh chapter for the state's charitable gambling industry.” Five games manufactured by a Las Vegas gaming company yesterday were “approved by the Minnesota Gambling Control Board.” Eventually, the games are “projected to fund about $350 million of the $975 million Vikings stadium” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/19). In St. Paul, Tad Vezner notes the games are “played on iPads distributed by bar workers, all tied to a central database of prizes unique to each bar.” Bars get “batches of 7,500 ‘tabs,’ purchased by charities and stored in a central database for each game, each with its own allotment of winning tabs.” The bars “receive another batch when the tabs run out” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/19).
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