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Volume 20 No. 42
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Plugged In: Steve LaCroix, Minnesota Vikings

Steve LaCroix is in the midst of his 13th season as the Minnesota Vikings’ chief marketing officer/vice president of sales and marketing. LaCroix is in charge of marketing the team’s $975 million stadium project that opens in the fall of 2016 on the site of the Metrodome, the Vikings’ current stadium in downtown Minneapolis. He also is in charge of the team’s temporary relocation to the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium for the next two seasons.

We might be the first team to play two years away from home while our new stadium is being built. It’s a very challenging process for season-ticket allocation and sponsorships, with significant conflicts in major categories.

Update on stadium development: One of the next big decisions will be picking a third-party operator, which will probably be in early 2014. We should be breaking ground in the next month, and then it’s full steam ahead to the fall of 2016. We opened a sales office across the street from the stadium site and are building a preview center that will house our new stadium offerings. It should open in January.

About the preview center: We will have two model suites and [examples of] various club-seat and general-seating products. It will be an interactive experience for our fans that we’re excited to talk about as we get a little bit closer. Every transaction related to the new stadium as well as our sponsorship offerings are all going to happen in that same facility. We will schedule thousands of appointments over the next 24 to 36 months.

On playing at TCF Bank Stadium: It’s almost like two different businesses we’re running as we wind down at the Metrodome. We’re going to a smaller venue, close to 15,000 seats less. We’re going to look to expand TCF with bleachers that may add a couple thousand seats. If every season-ticket holder renews, we would have to juggle some numbers, but I think it’s all going to work out.

About the Vikings’ game in London this season: We felt like this was a way for us to bring the Vikings brand to the international stage. For them to shut down Regent Street on the Saturday before the game and have half a million fans on their version of Fifth Avenue in New York was impressive. We won the game, which was icing on the cake of a week that took a lot of work.

Wembley takeaway: It seemed like the vast majority of fans traveled by mass transit to the game, so with our new stadium having a significant transportation hub outside the front door with our light-rail system that will be expanded over years to come, it was a good learning experience just to see how people can get in and out very smoothly via mass transit.

— By Don Muret