MN United to play at TCF in 2017, 2018

The University of Minnesota will host the Minnesota United at TCF Bank Stadium in the next two seasons.

Layna Darling

Minnesota United will play its
first games as a Major League Soccer team at the University of Minnesota.

The team will play 23 games at TCF
in 2017 and 11 games in 2018 under a contract approved Friday by the Board of
Regents. TCF Bank Stadium will host the team until the construction of its stadium
in St. Paul is finished. The team also has the option to use TCF Bank Stadium
for the entire duration of the 2018 season if the new stadium is not ready.

Regent Thomas Devine said there
wasn’t opposition from regents to the contract.

“It is all about being collaborative
and coming together for everyone’s benefit,” he said.

The University will receive game
fees, ticket fees, concession revenue and reimbursement for all costs and
services.

Susan Carlson Weinberg, Director
of Real Estate for the University, said the contract will create more funding
for intercollegiate athletics.

“With average attendance of
20,000 and $3 per attendee for concessions, we are estimating that the U will
receive $6.87 million,” Weinberg said of the projected revenue for the 2017
season. Of that sum, $2.4 million will go directly to intercollegiate athletics
at the University, while the rest will cover costs and fees incurred.

The University is guaranteed at
least $1 million for the 2017 season and $550,000 for the 2018 season.

In addition to reimbursing the University for
all services provided and costs incurred, Minnesota United will also refund the
University for the cost to replace the turf after the team concludes its use of
the stadium, an estimated $735,000.

“It will enhance the experience of living in the
campus area. It is another thing to do,” Devine said. “Any time we bring
people to the campus, it helps tell the story of the University of Minnesota.”

The contract ensures that Minnesota
United games won’t interfere with Gophers events, Weinberg said.

Minnesota United announced plans
to build a 20,000-person capacity soccer stadium in October last year. The team
is expected to play season and a half at TCF, then finish out the 2018 season
in what will be Minnesota’s first major league soccer stadium.