Posts Tagged ‘minneapolis’

Facility Roundup: Minneapolis-St. Paul

Friday, March 25th, 2011


NFL:

Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (Minnesota Vikings)

Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

The Skinny: Built in 1982, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was the primary facility used for hosting almost all Minneapolis area major sporting events up until the last several years. Now called Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome, the $68 million stadium was the second dome of its kind, featuring a self-supported fiberglass fabric roof. The climate-controlled stadium appeased both the Minnesota Vikings, who were looking for an upgrade from their home at Metropolitan Stadium, and the Minnesota Twins and University of Minnesota football. The Metrodome has hosted many premier events including Super Bowl XXVI in 1992, the MLB All-Star Game in 1985 and nine different NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournaments. It is recognized as one of the loudest domes in all of sports. With two of its three primary tenants already occupying new stadiums and the Vikings planning to move in the near future, now is a good time to visit the Metrodome, before it’s too late (after the roof is repaired, of course).

Year Opened: 1982

Capacity: 64,111

Fun Fact: Given the fact that the Metrodome has played host to nearly all of the teams in the Minneapolis area, it may come as no surprise that the Metrodome has hosted a number of premier sporting events. Did you know the Metrodome is the only stadium to host the Super Bowl, an MLB All-Star Game, an NCAA Basketball Final Four and the World Series?

MLB:

Target Field (Minnesota Twins)

Photo courtesy of MLB.com

The Skinny: Target Field represents the first stadium built specifically for the Twins in the franchises history. After 27 seasons sharing the Metrodome with the Minnesota Vikings, the Twins moved into their new home at Target Field beginning in 2010. The stadium which is an open-air facility represents a major change for baseball in Minnesota. Acclaimed stadium design company Populous, who are credited with the designs of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, PNC Park and AT&T Park, were in charge of making Target Field a modernized, state of the art facility. The stadium features Target Plaza which pays tribute to all things Minnesota baseball including monuments of Twins greats, a large “Golden Glove” recognizing all the Twins that have won the award and all the previous Twins stadiums. A Minnesota hometown feel is kept throughout the stadium with many concessions dedicated to some of Minnesota’s most famous restaurants including walleye and Juicy Lucy burgers.

Year Opened: 2010

Capacity: 39,504

The Great Gates: Instead of naming the gates of Target Field with the conventional numbers 1,2,3… or letters A,B,C… the Twins decided to throw a curveball. The gates at the stadium are named after retired numbers worn by Twins players. The center field gate is Gate #3 for Harmon Killebrew, the left field gate is Gate #6 honoring Tony Oliva, the home plate gate is Gate #14 for Kent Hrbek, the right field gate serves as Gate #29 in tribute to Rod Carew and the plaza gate is known as Gate #34, honoring Kirby Puckett.

NBA:

Target Center (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The Skinny: One of two stadiums in Minneapolis sponsored by the Target Corporation, the Target Center represents one of the Midwest’s premier sports and entertainment venues. Besides for being the home court of the NBA’s Timberwolves, the Target Center is home to the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA as well as a frequent venue for concerts, WWE wrestling, UFC martial arts and PBR bull riding. In 2004, the Target Center underwent major renovations which included the addition of 1,500 new seats, a state of the art scoreboard, an array of LED signage and the first ever “green roof”. In 2010 industry publication Pollstar ranked the Target Center the #1 venue in the Midwest, #14 in the United States and #30 worldwide.

Year Opened: 1990

Capacity: 19,356

Fun Fact: In the 1989-90 season basketball returned to Minneapolis where the Lakers franchise had previously won five championships before leaving for Los Angeles. The expansion team the Minnesota Timberwolves were set to begin a new era in Minnesota basketball history. The Timberwolves got their name from a regional “Name the Team” contest which decided on “Timberwolves” over “Polars” by a 2-1 margin.

NHL:

Xcel Energy Center (Minnesota Wild)

Photo courtesy of XcelEnergyCenter.com

The Skinny: Located just 9 miles from the downtown Minneapolis area, Xcel Energy Center is situated in the heart of St. Paul, Minnesota. The one of a kind arena has an exterior made of transparent glass that welcomes fans to a unique stadium experience. With four separate concourses on four seating levels, Xcel Energy Center has been strategically situated to create great hockey sightlines and provide a fan-friendly, open view of the ice. In 2004, ESPN the Magazine ranked the Xcel Energy Center the #1 Arena in the United States, stating it had “the best stadium experience.” In the hockey capital of the United States, you will not find a better arena to see a hockey game. The Xcel Energy Center will be the host of the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four Tournament.

Year Opened: 2000

Capacity: 18,064

“Streaking!”: While it’s not uncommon for teams to post sellouts, the Minnesota Wild achieved quite a feat at Xcel Energy Center. Upon opening its doors on September 29th, 2000, Xcel Energy Center boasted a sellout crowd for 409 consecutive games. This streak was finally broken on September 22, 2010. It was third longest home sellout streak in NHL history.

NCAA Football:

TCF Bank Stadium (University of Minnesota Golden Gophers)

Photo courtesy of GopherSports.com

The Skinny: TCF Bank Stadium represents the first Big Ten football stadium constructed since the 1960’s. Designed as an open-air, horseshoe shaped bowl, the modern stadium still possesses an old-school collegiate style, look and feel. TCF Bank Stadium has all the amenities you need to enjoy the college football experience on the Twin Cities campus. The state-of-the art Daktronics HD video scoreboard is the third largest in all of college football measuring 48 feet high by 108 feet wide (comparable to the size of the basketball court in nearby Williams Arena).

Year Opened: 2009

Capacity: 50,805

“The Great Outdoors”: Due to a collapse of the Metrodome’s roof, the Minnesota Vikings’ Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears was held at the TCF Bank Stadium on December 20, 2010, marking the Vikings’ first outdoor home game since 29 years earlier when the Vikings old home Metropolitan Stadium was closed. The game ended with the Bears defeating the Vikings, 40-14.

NCAA Basketball:

Williams Arena (University of Minnesota Golden Gophers)

Photo courtesy of GopherSports.com

The Skinny: Affectionately known as “The Barn” to Gopher fans, Williams Arena is located in the Stadium Village section of the University of Minnesota’s campus. The 80-year old arena has an historic aura and is credited with being one of the first arenas to use the “raised floor”, which allows fans to feel closer to the court. The student section aptly known as “The Barnyard”, adds to the intimate feel inside Williams Arena

Year Opened: 1928

Capacity: 14,625

Fun Fact: While it’s not uncommon to see a stadium renovate and change its capacity, Williams Arena has done its fair share of adjustments to the seating over its 80+ year history. Its original capacity started at 14,100 in 1928 and expanded to 16,000 shortly their after. After further expansion, Williams Arena was the largest capacity arena in college basketball from 1950 to 1971 with over 18,000 seats. The capacity has been reduced to 14,625 in recent years due to renovation, fire-code restrictions and handicapped-seating construction.

NCAA Hockey:

Mariucci Arena (University of Minnesota Golden Gophers)

Photo courtesy of GopherSports.com

The Skinny: Named after John Mariucci, the legendary Golden Gopher hockey coach and “the godfather of Minnesota hockey,” Mariucci arena represents one of the best atmospheres for college hockey anywhere in the United States. Aside from being the home of the men’s hockey team, Mariucci arena has served as the host to a number of prominent NCAA Frozen Four matchups and an array of international skating competitions. The intimate 10,000 seat arena allows for the “the greatest fans in college hockey” to have an exceptional view from anywhere in the arena.

Year Opened: 1993

Capacity: 10,000

Best Moment: In 2007, Sports Illustrated on Campus named Mariucci Arena one the top ten venues in college sports. The facility was the only ice hockey arena to make the list.

Top Sports Power Weekends: February 25-27

Monday, February 21st, 2011



You would think it would be hard for Los Angeles to follow up an NBA All-Star Weekend, but the upcoming weekend is more well rounded and brings a lot of star power itself. Other cities around the country feature weekends headlined by Spring Training, the NFL Combine, and basketball and hockey action. As February comes to a close and March Madness approaches, much will have to be settled on the court this weekend.

I present to you the 10 best Sports Power Weekends of February 25-27. To purchase a Sports Power Weekend package, please contact us at info@SPWtravel.com.

1. Los Angeles

Friday
  • Clippers at Lakers
  • Wild at Ducks
Saturday
  • Celtics at Clippers
  • Avalanche at Kings
  • Arizona at UCLA
  • Arizona State at USC
Sunday
  • Avalanche at Ducks


You can read more information about this weekend in the link below, but the short story is that the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Ducks, and UCLA and USC basketball are all home this weekend. This could be one of the best regular-season SPWs all year, following up on a hugely successful NBA All-Star Weekend in LA. The City of Angels is closing February strong.

Also see: Sports Power Weekend Destination: Los Angeles

2. Tampa Bay-Orlando

Friday
  • Thunder at Magic
  • Devils at Lightning
  • Spring Training
Saturday
  • Spring Training
Sunday
  • Bobcats at Magic


With Spring Training now underway, central Florida is a great place to be on the last weekend in February. The Magic bookend the weekend with home games at the newly minted Amway Center, and MLB exhibition games are taking place at various locations in the area. Take your pick of Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater; you can’t go wrong.

3. Washington, D.C.

Friday
  • Rangers at Capitals
Saturday
  • Mavericks at Wizards
  • Syracuse at Georgetown
Sunday


The New York Rangers are fighting for their playoff lives, but that won’t mean that Alex Ovechkin and the Caps are going to take it easy on them. The Verizon Center is the place to be this weekend with Friday night and Saturday dates getting the fans going. The Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry is always heated, and Big East and NCAA Tournament positioning is on the line.

Also see: Washington, D.C. City Guide

4. Portland

Friday
  • Nuggets at Trail Blazers
Saturday
  • Stanford at Oregon
  • Cal at Oregon State
Sunday
  • Hawks at Trail Blazers


The Denver Nuggets are bound to have a different roster composition by this weekend with the impending Carmelo Anthony trade, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from checking out the Rose Garden, one of the NBA’s best arenas. From there, check out Oregon’s sparkling new Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene for a Ducks game against Stanford.

5. Miami

Friday
  • Wizards at Heat
Saturday
Sunday
  • Knicks at Heat
  • Devils at Panthers


NBA All-Star Weekend has concluded, but the stars still shine at American Airlines Arena with Heat home games against John Wall and the Washington Wizards, and Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks this weekend. Throw in the beautiful weather and Spring Training not too far away and you have got yourself a great weekend.

6. Indianapolis

Friday
  • Jazz at Pacers
  • NFL Scouting Combine
Saturday
  • Seton Hall at Notre Dame
  • NFL Scouting Combine
Sunday
  • Suns at Pacers
  • NFL Scouting Combine


Even though the NFL Scouting Combine is closed to the public, there is a decided NFL feel to the weekend in Indianapolis. You will see future NFL stars and current coaches and GMs in and out of restaurants and the mall throughout the weekend. On top of that are two Pacers games at the spacious and fan-friendly Conseco Fieldhouse.

7. Louisville-Lexington, KY

Friday
Saturday
  • Florida at Kentucky
Sunday
  • Pittsburgh at Louisville
  • UConn at Cincinnati


Similar to last weekend’s Louisville-Lexington SPW, the Cardinals and Wildcats will be holding court again this weekend in Kentucky. An SEC showdown between Florida and Kentucky takes place at Rupp Arena on Saturday night, and top-10 Pitt visits Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday. Not a bad weekend to be in the Bluegrass State.

8. Minneapolis

Friday
  • Hornets at Timberwolves
Saturday
  • Michigan at Minnesota
Sunday
  • Warriors at Timberwolves


Every day of the weekend offers something for sports fans in Minneapolis. Check out Kevin Love and the Timberwolves twice on the weekend, and a game with big NCAA Tournament implications between Michigan and Minnesota on Saturday.

9. Oklahoma City

Friday
Saturday
  • Kansas at Oklahoma
Sunday
  • Lakers at Thunder


Two very high-profile teams make visits to Oklahoma this weekend. On Saturday in Norman the top-five Kansas Jayhawks clash with the Oklahoma Sooners, and on Sunday Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers take on the young and energetic Oklahoma City Thunder, led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. There is some great basketball to be seen here this weekend.

10. Toronto

Friday
  • Suns at Raptors
Saturday
  • Penguins at Maple Leafs
Sunday
  • Mavericks at Raptors


Our friendly neighbors up north provide some action at the Air Canada Centre throughout the weekend with the Raptors hosting two games to bookend the Maple Leafs taking the ice on Saturday. Throw in a trip to the top of the CN Tower and you can call yourself an honorary Canadian for the weekend.

Top Sports Power Weekends: January 14-16

Monday, January 10th, 2011


With college football completely done, it is the four NFL playoff games this weekend that anchor the best Sports Power Weekends. College basketball begins to assert itself more as January turns to February, and the NBA and NHL still provide a strong base for an SPW.

I present to you the 10 best Sports Power Weekends of January 14-16. To purchase a Sports Power Weekend package, please contact us at info@SPWtravel.com.

1. Boston

Friday
  • Bobcats at Celtics
Saturday
  • Penguins at Bruins
Sunday
  • Jets at Patriots


I wrote about this weekend in depth last week, and you can read that article here. This could be one of the best Boston Sports Power Weekends of the entire year.

2. Chicago

Friday
Saturday
  • Heat at Bulls
  • UConn at DePaul
Sunday
  • Seahawks at Bears
  • Predators at Blackhawks


LeBron, DWade and Bosh invade the United Center as the Miami Heat visits the Bulls in a battle of Eastern Conference powers. Earlier on Saturday, beast of the Big East UConn faces DePaul at Allstate Arena. Sunday at 1 PM, the Bears make their 2010 postseason debut against the Seattle Seahawks at Solider Field. They’ll try to emulate the Blackhawks in becoming champions; the Blackhawks host the Predators at 7 PM on Sunday night.

Also see: Chicago City Guide

3. Pittsburgh

Friday
Saturday
  • Ravens at Steelers
  • Seton Hall at Pitt
Sunday
  • Purdue at West Virginia


Here we go! The Steelers aim for their third Super Bowl title in six years after yet another AFC North crown. They’ll face their rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, in what promises to be an extremely hard-fought battle at 4:30 on Saturday. As the Steelers game concludes, Pitt will be underway against Seton Hall. That game begins at 7 PM. In nearby Morgantown (1.5 hour drive from Pittsburgh) on Sunday, West Virginia will face a ranked Purdue team from the Big Ten.

4. Atlanta

Friday
  • Flyers at Thrashers
Saturday
  • Packers at Falcons
  • Rockets at Hawks
Sunday
  • UNC at Georgia Tech


The Georgia World Congress Center area will be buzzing with a game on Friday night (Philadelphia Flyers at Atlanta Thrashers) and two games on Saturday night (Houston Rockets at Atlanta Hawks at 7 PM at Philips Arena; Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons at 8 PM at the Georgia Dome). The top-seeded Falcons hope to ride their home success all the way to Dallas for Super Bowl XLV. On Sunday, UNC travels to Georgia Tech.

Also see: Atlanta City Guide

5. Los Angeles

Friday
  • Nets at Lakers
Saturday
  • Oilers at Kings
Sunday
  • Lakers at Clippers
  • Oilers at Ducks


It seems like every weekend the Staples Center is putting on multiple games and Los Angeles finds itself on this list. With visits to the Staples Center on Friday for the Lakers, Saturday for the Kings, and Sunday for the cross-town Lakers vs. Clippers matchup, you’ll know the arena like the back of your hand.

Also see: Los Angeles City Guide

6. New York

Friday
  • Kings at Knicks
Saturday
  • Sabres at Islanders
  • Georgetown at Rutgers
Sunday
  • Flyers at Rangers


The buzz is back at Madison Square Garden, with the Knicks showing they are a legit playoff team in the East. The Sacramento Kings come into town on Friday night, powered by some young talent. Saturday can take you either to Long Island or New Jersey for the Islanders or Rutgers basketball at the RAC. Sunday pits rival NHL teams the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers against each other at Madison Square Garden.

Also see: New York City Guide

7. Philadelphia

Friday
  • Bucks at 76ers
Saturday
  • Maryland at Villanova (Philly)
Sunday


Wells Fargo Arena is hosting a two basketball games within 18 hours of each other as the Milwaukee Bucks take on the 76ers on Friday night, and at 1 PM on Saturday Villanova welcomes Maryland from the ACC. You’ll have plenty of time on Saturday afternoon and Sunday to get a cheesesteak and check out the Liberty Bell.

8. San Francisco

Friday
  • Clippers at Warriors
Saturday
  • Blues at Sharks
  • Washington State at Stanford
Sunday
  • Washington at Cal


The Bay Area offers a lot of variety for this mid-January weekend. Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers visit the Golden State Warriors in what promises to be a high-scoring affair. Saturday features the St. Louis Blues taking on the San Jose Sharks or a Pac-10 matchup between Washington State and Stanford in Palo Alto. Sunday in Berkeley, Cal hosts Washington in another important Pac-10 game.

9. Minneapolis

Friday
  • Avalanche at Wild
Saturday
  • Magic at Timberwolves
Sunday
  • Iowa at Minnesota
  • Canucks at Wild


Normally Minneapolis would not be a place you would want to visit in the middle of January, but with the Wild, Timberwolves and Golden Gophers holding court (or ice) each day of the weekend, there are certainly worse places to be. Now which place has a better Jucy Lucy, Matt’s Bar or the 5-8 Club?

10. Toronto

Friday
  • Pistons at Raptors
Saturday
  • Flames at Maple Leafs
  • Cincinnati at Syracuse
Sunday


Rounding out the list this week is a treat of a city north of the border. Canada’s only NBA team takes on the Detroit Pistons, a team residing just across the river from Ontario. Make it a hockey doubleheader on Saturday by visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame and checking out the Leafs, one of the “Original Six” and among the most storied franchises in North American sports.