Written by: Matt Dow, Ryan Companies US, Inc.
This article was written in January for the 2018 Super Bowl newsletter.
An entire generation has passed since Minneapolis last hosted the Super Bowl in 1992. Since then, the city and the region have grown by leaps and bounds. The population of Minneapolis alone has increased 13% since 1992, and the Twin Cities metro has grown by 41% to a population of 3.5 million people. That generation of growth catalyzed a renaissance in the core of the city, as young professionals flocked to Downtown, Uptown, Northeast, and South Minneapolis to live close to their work and great restaurants, entertainment and nightlife.
The downtown Minneapolis skyline was just as tall back in 1992, but many of the landmark office and apartment towers (Ameriprise, Target Plaza South, The Carlyle, LPM Apartments, US Bancorp Center, Fifty South Sixth, 4Marq Apartments, and The Ivy Hotel) were still years away. AT&T Tower and LaSalle Plaza had just opened, and Capella Tower and RBC Plaza were under construction. The skyway system connecting these buildings wasn't nearly as developed either, with less than half of today's routes in place, and no way to get from downtown to the stadium. In 2018, Super Bowl visitors can walk from the NFL Experience to Nicollet Mall to hotels to the big game without ever stepping foot outside.
That big game will be held in glittering US Bank Stadium, a billion-dollar state-of-the-art structure that looks like an intergalactic Viking longship. The stadium is surrounded by a revitalized and rechristened East Town featuring gourmet restaurants, gastropubs, parks, luxury apartments and condos, and dozens of new buildings. In contrast, the 1992 Super Bowl was hosted in the Metrodome, a budget-conscious multi-purpose marshmallow, more suited to hosting monster truck rallies than games and concerts. When the Metrodome opened in 1982, the city hoped it would revitalize Downtown East, but ten years later, the stadium was still a white island in a sea of surface parking and dingy warehouses.
That parking capacity came in handy in 1992, as many visitors used rental cars to get around. Today, visitors can take the light rail from the airport to downtown and can rely on fleets of Uber and Lyft drivers to get virtually anywhere else. The hospitality industry will also be competing with the sharing economy, as thousands of metro residents will offer rooms, apartments, condos, and even whole houses for rent. In 1992, every hotel and motel within 100 miles was booked at exorbitant rates, with rooms at the Super 8 in Brooklyn Center going for $2,409 per person for three nights.
Finally, on a lighter note, no discussion of the 1992 Super Bowl would be complete without mentioning halftime. Back then, Super Bowl halftime shows had more in common with college bowl parades and marching band concerts than with the megastar musical medleys of today. The 1992 show was themed "Winter Magic." It included a big band rendition of "Winter Wonderland," dancers in pastel Lycra tops and sparkly parachute pants, and kids rapping about snowmen. It was so hilariously cheesy and awful that it convinced the NFL to usher in the era of must-see superstar halftime concerts. Sometime between now and February 4th, check out the "Winter Magic" show on Youtube for a ridiculous trip down memory lane. It will remind you how far Minneapolis and the Super Bowl have come.