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Tech boosts the fan experience at U.S. Bank Stadium

Ann Bednarz | Aug. 1, 2016
Minnesota Vikings aim to deliver content and services to fans, from their driveways to their stadium seats

The app also allows fans to order food and drinks from their seats and select express pick-up service rather than waiting in line to order at concession stands. In the future, fans will be able to have food and beverage orders delivered to their seats. To enable all these features, the app integrates functionality from Ticketmaster, Aramark, point-of-sale solution Appetize, seat-upgrade tech Experience, loyalty company Skidata and content app developer Adept.

When fans are on the move throughout the stadium, they’ll find 2,000-plus TVs mounted throughout the building. There are also two giant LED video boards are positioned above the end zones – as low as possible so fans don't have to look far away from the action on the field. They're "very, very low to the field, about as low as we could possibly push it without getting a call from the league office," Penhollow said. The west video board measures 120’ x 68’ and ranks as the 10th largest in the NFL.

Still under construction is Vikings Voyage, a 10,000 square-foot interactive space for fans that will be free for all ages and open during Vikings events. Visitors to Vikings Voyage will be able to play games, including catching passes while wearing a virtual reality Vikings helmet; running a three-cone drill against a current Vikings player’s pace; and hitting a tackling sled that measures impact force. RFID wristbands will allow fans to track their scores and compete against other players.

Positioned outside the west entrance of the stadium, the Legacy Ship is a 160-foot long sculpture inspired by Viking ships. The ship’s sail functions as a stadium marquee; on the street-facing side is a 2,000 square-foot curved LED video board.

To maximize natural light, U.S. Bank Stadium features the only ETFE (ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene) roof on a sports facility in the U.S. – and it’s impressive. Transparent ETFE is designed to let in light, like glass, but it’s a lighter and more economical material than glass. It’s also self-cleaning, according to the stadium. ETFE is used on the entire south side of the stadium’s roof and 60% of the total roof surface, creating an light-filled atmosphere in a climate-controlled environment.

The exterior walls of the 1.75 million square-foot stadium are made from zinc metal panels, which will patina over time, and 200,000 square feet of glass and glazed curtain walls. A highlight of the exterior is Legacy Gate, which is made up of five of the world’s largest glass doors. The doors range from 75 to 95 feet tall, weigh 57,000 pounds apiece, and contain 10 smaller doors that can be used in inclement weather.

Dallas-based HKS Architects designed the stadium, which is slated to host Super Bowl LII in 2018 and the NCAA Final Four in 2019.


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