MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will spend $5.2 million to install curtains that will “blackout” U.S. Bank Stadium for the NCAA Final Four next April.
One of the man features of U.S. Bank Stadium is the giant retractable windows, which let in plenty of light and fresh air when the weather is right as well as views of the Minneapolis skyline. That was fine for Super Bowl LII, but not for the stadium’s next big event, the 2019 NCAA Final Four.
“The NCAA requires that a darkening solution be used in a venue that does not go dark by itself and the reason they do that is the games,” Patrick Talty, the general manager of U.S. Bank Stadium, said. “They have two games on Saturday and a game on Monday. All three games plus their practices on Friday all need to be in the same lighting condition as they will be played in for competitive reasons. You don’t want to have one in the sun and none and when they're practicing you don’t want them to have different conditions from when they are playing."
Minneapolis was selected to host the tournament in 2014—two years before U.S. Bank Stadium was even completed. Now, officials are starting the process of preparing the stadium to host the events.
On Thursday, the MSFA awarded contracts to install a reusable “darkening solution” inside the venue. Blue Media will be paid $3.2 million to design and install curtains to block the roof windows. Chicago Flyhouse submitted the winning bid of $1.4 million to do the same on all the vertical windows.
It is a big job that will take more than a half million square feet of fabric to get the job done. The local organizing committee will contribute $1.8 million towards the capital improvement, which can be used and again and make the stadium more competitive.
U.S. Bank Stadium has already booked two other future events that require the blackout shades.