The Vikings are "saying they would like a retractable roof" on their new stadium, and the team "should know by this spring whether it's affordable" within the venue's $975M budget, according to Charley Walters of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. A stadium construction manager is "expected to be hired within the next few weeks, after which costs for design options, including a roof or a retractable window or retractable wall, will be determined." Also to be determined by a construction manager "as early as this spring is for how long the Vikings will have to play in the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium -- one or two seasons (a portion of 2014 or all of 2015)." Features for the new stadium that the Vikings are considering include "restaurants, a hall of fame, a merchandise store and a personal favorite of owner Zygi Wilf: a fantasy football league lounge with TVs on the walls." Potential naming-rights partners for the stadium include U.S. Bank, "which is considered the favorite," Target, General Mills and Cargill (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/31). The Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE lists its "top 12 Minnesota sports stories -- positive or negative," and ranks the Vikings' stadium bill passing as No. 2. It was a "huge story that dominated discussion for many months in 2012 and filled up online comment sections with spirited debate (a kind term) on both sides" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/31).
Sunday marked the College Football HOF's final day in South Bend, Ind., before it moves to Atlanta, and HOF officials estimated that "more than 4,000 visitors passed through the doors over the weekend," according to May Lee Johnson of the SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE. The HOF charged "only $2" for admittance. The National Football Foundation three years ago announced it would move the HOF to Atlanta after "failing to draw the crowds expected" when it moved the facility from Kings Mill, Ohio to South Bend in '95. The original plan called for the HOF to open in Atlanta in '12, but "because of funding setbacks, it is now expected to open in 2014." All weekend proceeds from admissions and gift shop sales will "benefit the football programs at the four South Bend public high schools as well as St. Joseph High School" (SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE, 12/31). In South Bend, Rachel Lake noted "money trouble plagued the facility almost from the get go." When it was first announced the HOF would be coming to South Bend in '92, then-Mayor Joe Kernan said that the attraction "would draw 200,000 people a year." Instead, it brought in "about 115,000 the first year and about 60,000 each year after that." Despite "disappointing attendance numbers, many say the Hall did help promote the downtown area" (WSBT.com, 12/29).