Minneapolis and St. Paul are teeming with new, versatile sports venues that double as destination event spaces. Whether you’re planning a tournament or a corporate meeting, these six Minnesota sports centers (in no particular order) will help you score big with attendees.
U.S. Bank Stadium, the new jewel of downtown Minneapolis sports venues, has already hosted blockbuster sporting events, including the NCAA Final Four in 2019 and Super Bowl LII in 2018.
And when it comes to meetings, the stadium offers an inside/outside aesthetic. “You can be indoors away from the weather and the challenge that presents at events, but the natural light coming through the stadium makes you feel like you’re outdoors,” said Matt Meunier, director of sales at Sports Minneapolis, referring to the facility’s 200,000 square feet of glass around the building.
“Its downtown setting and walking distance from hotels, light rail and skyways is big too,” Meunier added.
Outdoor spaces can be used in conjunction with a stadium event, including the Medtronic Plaza, the Commons green space and the Downtown East Plaza, which can accommodate up to 3,000 guests. The stadium can also host corporate meetings, conventions and trade shows in a variety of spaces including:
Stadium Floor: The 136,600-square-foot floor of U.S. Bank Stadium can host sporting events, concerts, trade shows, conventions and other large events.
Hyundai Club: The largest club room in the stadium has an impressive view of the field and exterior landscape. It can accommodate 1,000 guests and is ideal for banquets, training sessions or speaking engagements.
Mystic Lake’s Club Purple: Sweeping views of the stadium field and downtown skyline make this purple-hued space a scenic event setting. Its capacity is 400 guests.
Cabin Suites: Experience Minnesota’s “up north” culture in four cabin-like suites that feature food service, operable partitions between cabins and 32-34 in-bowl seats each.
Situated right off a light rail stop near breweries and up-and-coming restaurants in the hip Minneapolis North Loop neighborhood, the Minnesota Twins’ home field offers many spaces for groups to meet:
- Thomson Reuters Champions Club, located directly behind home plate at field level, can host up to 380 guests.
- Field and city skyline views are plentiful from the 490-capacity Metropolitan Club.
- Large groups of up to 1,000 can fit in Carew Atrium—best used for conferences—and the Puckett Atrium.
Target Field | Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn
You can also arrange a private 90-minute tour of the field. During the tour, participants will view unique stadium artwork, displays of memorabilia, environmental and sustainability features of Target Field, and facts about the Twins’ history. Plus, areas normally not available to fans are part of the tour as well, including the press box, dugouts, suites and club rooms.
Multiple video boards within the park can be customized to your event as well.
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Target Field is also used as a concert venue and has hosted other sporting teams like Minnesota United FC when Allianz Field was under construction and Minnesota Vikings while U.S. Bank Stadium was being built.
Target Center is home to the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves and WNBA Minnesota Lynx and is located steps away from downtown Minneapolis’ entertainment district.
The venue just completed a $145 million renovation, which included new and improved spaces for meetings and events, with spaces ranging from 20 to 20,000 in capacity. Groups can also book backstage tours and get special access to group tickets for Target Center sporting events and concerts.
The Target Center floor can be customized for all types of events. It can be arranged theater-style, for example, which includes a floor-to-ceiling moveable curtain system with capacity up to 7,500 to create a spacious, but more intimate configuration for artists performing to their fans.
Allianz Field is the most recent addition to the Twin Cities sports venues portfolio. Opened in spring 2019, the $250 million soccer field stadium is inspired by the waters of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. The exterior mimics rippling water with its 88,000 square feet of translucent PTFE stadium skin and 1,700 emotive LED lights embedded in the exterior.
Impressive, too, are the spaces within for hosting events. Each space has a view of the field and is equipped with AV capabilities.
- The Stadium Club can host up to 400.
- The Field Club can host up to 250.
- The Brew Hall can host up to 250 for private events. If your event is in one of the other spaces at Allianz, the Brew Halls remains open to the public when no games are on the field, making it a convenient post-meeting happy hour meetup spot.
- The Roof Deck can host up to 200.
- For smaller groups, the Owners Suite (50) and Upper 90 Club (100) are available for rent.
Meeting hosts can work with the field’s in-house caterer Delaware North Sportservice. Food offerings emulate global cuisine sourced by local vendors to reflect both the diverse cultures of soccer’s fanbase and Minnesota’s food scene. Local favorites like Brasa and Hot Indian are among the vendor lineup, along with stadium-favorite eats like pizza and hot dogs.
Allianz MNUFC Opening Day | Credit: Visit Saint Paul
Allianz Field also offers the options of Minnesota United FC merchandise for guests, equipment rental, specialized branding and decor vendor contacts.
Josh Anderson, director of sports development at Visit Saint Paul, said the field itself isn’t just for Minnesota United FC soccer games. “They are really open to booking anything,” he said. “There’s a seven-day drone racing event coming up this year, and they are also hosting the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Soccer tournament games.”
Though CHS Field is home to the St. Paul Saints, the venue hosts more than 100 non-baseball events annually.
From corporate events to concerts and festivals, the Lowertown neighborhood venue can accommodate small and large groups for a variety of meetings and events.
- Securian Financial Club can host up to 200 for a business meeting or 250 for a cocktail networking event in its 4,000 square feet of indoor space and outdoor deck area.
- Larger corporate groups can rent out the park or Minnesoyta Lawn for outdoor teambuilding activities like bags tournaments.
- The field itself can host festivals and concerts, with the field level and fixed seating areas fitting 12,000 people combined.
Anderson noted CHS Field is open to hosting a variety of events. “They do races, like the Get Lucky races [7K, 14K and half marathon] that start and end at the field. The Beer Dabbler festival is held there every year, and they have movie nights on the field,” Anderson said. “Outside of game time, they are open to trying different things out.”
Minnesota is known as “The State of Hockey,” and Xcel Energy Center is the Minnesota Wild’s home turf.
“Our facility is unique in the fact that it’s attached to two others—Saint Paul RiverCentre [convention center] and Roy Wilkins Auditorium,” said Jora Bart, public and media relations senior manager for Xcel Energy Center. The two facilities are connected to Xcel Energy Center via indoor walkways.
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Saint Paul RiverCentre offers groups a variety of spaces for meetings and events including:
- William Morrissey Grand Ballroom, one of the biggest ballrooms in the St. Paul area, which can accommodate over 3,000 guests reception-style.
- 15 meeting rooms that can seat groups as large as 200.
- The Executive Board Room, located on the 5th floor of the RiverCentre with views of Rice Park, is equipped with a built-in screen projector and self-tinting windows.
- Two exhibition halls that combine 68,000 square feet of exhibition space.
Xcel Energy Center | Credit: Ryan Siemers
Bart explained that groups who book pre-game event space at the RiverCentre enjoy in-house catering and discounts on rental items like AV tech and table linens. Later, they can head over to Xcel Energy Center—without stepping outside—to see Minnesota’s favorite sport in action. Groups up to 300 can arrange an event and game package.
Whichever venue you host your next event at, these versatile Minneapolis-St. Paul sports venues are proof that the Twin Cities are both winning locations for the nation’s biggest events, and your next corporate meeting, too.
How Minneapolis Made Itself the Go-To City for Sports’ Biggest Events
Super Bowl LII. NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. ESPN X Games. These are just a few of the massive sporting events Minneapolis has hosted since 2017.
The “Bold North” has transformed itself into a premier sports event destination, thanks to its downtown facilities, connectivity, embracing its weaknesses, and community support according to Matt Meunier, director of sales at Sports Minneapolis.
Sports Minneapolis, the sports marketing arm of Meet Minneapolis, formed in 2014 when the city was in the midst of major sports venue openings and renovations.
“We were looking at all the investment in private and public dollars in venues and felt we really needed to align with those priorities and market to host events here,” Meunier said. “We wanted these event organizers to know we are here to support them all the way through from start to finish. We have really seen the number of sports events that have selected the Minneapolis region go up since then.”
When bidding for Super Bowl LII, Meunier explained that Minneapolis was up against Indianapolis and New Orleans, the latter coming to the table 10 for 10 in Super Bowl bids.
How Did Minneapolis Set Itself Apart?
By showing off its new U.S. Bank Stadium…and the weather.
“We knew it was different, but we didn’t shy away from it—we embraced it,” Meunier said, speaking to Minnesota’s infamous winters. “That’s where the “Bold North” concept came along. We get out in winter better than anyone else in the country. So, we used that as a big pitch—saying that bringing the Super Bowl here is going to be a unique experience.”
Community involvement during the event was a big success point, too. For Super Bowl LII, more than 30,000 people signed up to fill 10,000 volunteer shifts.
“There’s so much community pride. That’s one of the strong elements of feedback we get from events hosted here. We hear, ‘Your volunteers are some of the best we have seen.’ We’ve got this robust volunteer database now that’s ready to activate for any event,” he said.
Meunier went on to say that they see an 80 to 90 percent rate for volunteers showing up. And that’s not just for big events like the Super Bowl. This summer, a strong contingent will show up for the USA Taekwondo National Championships at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
And if there was any question of Minneapolis as the new go-to sports event destination, it was made official by nonprofit National Association of Sports Commission this spring, when it named Sports Minneapolis the Sports Commission of the Year. This award honors an organization that has “demonstrated exceptional impact on its community through sports and visitor spending during the previous calendar year.”
The sports event future looks bright in Minneapolis, which has already secured the following events:
- 2019-2020 ESPN X Games
- 2020 NCAA National Wrestling Championships
- 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four
The NCAA Wrestling Championships is returning to Minneapolis for the first time since 1996, and the NCAA Women’s Final Four is returning after an over 20-year hiatus. “For a lot of these event organizers it’s been years since they’ve hosted their events here,” Meunier said, proving the efforts by the city to bring sports events back are paying off.
“All the major venues, the mayor and the convention center are on board to help us become a championship caliber destination for sports.”
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