Something weird was going on at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota this past weekend. Photos were floating around Twitter that purportedly showed the Jumbotron and other screens at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, displaying not Vikings graphics and signage... but ones for Tottenham Hotspur!
Speculation was rampant. What does it mean? Is there collaboration between the Vikings and Tottenham that is some way connected to a future NFL franchise? Or could this a dry run for a possible preseason tour to the United States this summer? Vikings and Cockerels, what?
Either way, this was darned peculiar. So after GN Punk alerted me to these tweets, I reached out to Matthew Fitzke, the author of the second tweet. He, in turn, put me in contact with Chris Long (@ChrisLongKSTP), a sportscaster with Minneapolis TV station KSTP-TV, and a proud member of the Minneapolis Spurs supporters group to help me figure out what the heck was going on.
It turns out there’s nothing especially secretive about what was happening, but it (obviously) does involve the NFL. Here’s what Chris had to say on Twitter:
The pics of all the Spurs signage at U.S. Bank Stadium weren’t mine. They were taken by a couple beat writers (both good friends mine who have accepted my offerings of the Spurs gospel and become fans) who were there working on filing Vikings postgame stories from the press box.
However, I was able to learn why all the signs were there. A source told me the Spurs game operations folks from White Hart Lane were visiting to watch how an NFL “show” looks from in-stadium. It’s ahead of all the NFL games slated to be hosted at the new WHL.
Have to figure they are looking into things like pregame festivities, in-game promotions, public address, commercial opportunities, etc.
This makes total sense. Starting in 2018, the new White Hart Lane will be hosting at least two NFL games per year. It’s in Tottenham’s interest to put on a display for the attending fans that’s as much of a “NFL experience” as they possibly can. What better way to do that than to have an actual NFL team in an actual NFL stadium give them an idea as to what it might look like?
Nobody’s sure why or how Spurs got connected to the folks at U.S. Bank Stadium. However, U.S. Bank is the newest NFL home ground, which would make it the closest thing to what Spurs are going to debut in 2018, and would give the most modern NFL experience. Of course, the Vikings probably didn’t have to use Tottenham graphics, but why not impress the visiting officials and give them a little taste of home?
And who knows, perhaps this could open the door for the Vikings to visit Spurs’ new stadium when it opens. I can’t imagine Spurs coming to the USA and playing football in a fixed roof stadium on artificial turf, but knowing Daniel Levy he’s already working on some sort of collaborative partnership with NFL franchises to help the brand.
Many thanks to Chris for helping solve the mystery!