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Zulgad: A three-item wish list of events for Vikings’ new stadium

By Judd Zulgad

The opening of US Bank Stadium next year already means several big-time events are headed to downtown Minneapolis.

The Super Bowl will make its second-ever appearance in the city in February of 2018 and will be followed by the NCAA Final Four in April of 2019.

There also have been indications that WrestleMania could be held in the stadium as soon as 2017, and while Minneapolis representatives got passed over for the 2020 College Football Playoff title game, it’s likely only a matter of time before US Bank Stadium is awarded that game.

That brings us to this question: What else should be on the wish list for the Vikings’ new home stadium?

This thought actually came from what wouldn’t be a good fit. That would be to add to the already overcrowded list of college football bowl games. A second- or third-tier bowl game that draws a couple average, or below average, teams holds no interest from this corner.

Here, though, are three events that Minnesota sports fans should hope to see held in Zygi’s Place.

Bring on the heavy hitters: It won’t always be a Final Four, but this stadium figures to get its share of NCAA tournament games. The push here is for a big-time college basketball tournament to open the season.

Yes, this means the Gophers don’t get to participate and it also doesn’t have to be conducted on a yearly basis in the Twin Cities. The prime example is the Champions Classic, which began in 2011, is an ESPN production, and this year featured Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State and Kansas.

Next year, the Champions Classic will be held in New York. It also has been played in Indianapolis and Atlanta. There’s no reason why Minneapolis couldn’t find its way into the mix, providing a fabulous evening of hoops.

Big Ten men’s basketball tournament: Yep, that’s right, more hoops.

This five-day basketball extravaganza began in 1998 and so far has been conducted either in the home arena of the Bulls or Pacers. It will be back at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis this season, before moving to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., in 2017 and Madison Square Garden in New York City in 2018.

So far there have been no football stadiums worked into the mix, but it’s likely only a matter of time before that happens. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority should at least make a phone call to offer up the March dates to the Big Ten to see if there’s interest.

Big Ten football title game: This one seems obvious and is 100 percent more attractive than any bowl game that could be created.

Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis has played host to the first five games that featured the winners of the Big Ten’s divisions and has a deal with the Big Ten that runs through 2021.

After that, it’s time to start moving this game around, something that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has mentioned doing in the past. Potential host cities mentioned, in addition to Minneapolis, have been Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Cleveland.

Considering Chicago, Green Bay and Cleveland don’t have indoor stadiums, and Detroit isn’t exactly an attractive host site, that would make US Bank Stadium a logical landing place. You could have an every other year rotation between Minneapolis and Indianapolis beginning in 2022.

The post Zulgad: A three-item wish list of events for Vikings’ new stadium appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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