Minnesota Wild Unveil Design for New Saint Paul Arena
SAINT PAUL, Minn., June 17, 1999 (PRNewswire) -- The National Hockey League's (NHL) Minnesota Wild unveiled their arena design plans for the New Saint Paul Arena at a press conference today at the Minnesota Club in downtown Saint Paul. The principal individuals of the arena project team include: Minnesota Wild CEO Jac Sperling, Wild Arena Project Director Ray Chandler, Populous Design Principal Chris Carver, City of Saint Paul Council President Daniel B. Bostrom, RiverCentre Authority Chairman Richard Zehring, City of Saint Paul Director of Planning and Economic Development Pamela Wheelock, and City of Saint Paul Special Projects - Program Administrator Department of Planning and Economic Development Jim O'Leary. Wild CEO Jac Sperling and the other members of the arena project team revealed the exterior and interior design plans for the new, multi-purpose arena.
At the press conference, the Minnesota Wild revealed a number of the New Saint Paul Arena design features. Highlights included:
* 18,600 seat arena with a transparent glass exterior.
* Four convenient atrium entrances at street level.
* Wide concourses.
* Open concourses.
* Large lower seating bowl with 9,000 seats.
* Upper deck with opera style seating at the ends offering great hockey sightlines.
* Unique club seating concourse and 64 suites.
* Arena lighting to accentuate the Saint Paul skyline.
In conjunction with the arena design, the Minnesota Wild will host a Historic New Arena Groundbreaking Ceremony on Tuesday, June 23rd at 11:30 a.m. on 7th Street (between 5th Street and Kellogg Boulevard) in front of the old Saint Paul Civic Center. The Minnesota Wild will showcase several special VIP guests for the fun-filled ceremony including: Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson, Saint Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, Wild lead investor Bob Naegele, Jr.
and a special participant from the NHL. The New Arena Groundbreaking Ceremony is free and open to the public. The Minnesota Wild invite you to join us on this historic day.
Visit the Minnesota Wild on the Internet at www.wild.com
NEW SAINT PAUL ARENA FACT SHEET
Description: The arena will be a first-class multi-purpose sports/entertainment venue. It will be the home of the National Hockey League's (NHL) Minnesota Wild and will host over one hundred spectacular entertainment events annually. Such events will include: concerts by top artists from around the world, ice shows, circuses, family shows, conventions, high school tournaments, trade shows and high-profile sporting events featuring hockey, basketball, tennis and more.
Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota
The new arena will be located on a 6-acre site in downtown Saint Paul on the site of the existing Saint Paul Civic Center Arena. The arena will be easily accessible by a number of exits off of the two major highways (Interstate 94 and Interstate 35E) with multiple alternative routes (Shepard Road and Kellogg Blvd) and easy-to-use entrances and exits.
Owner: City of Saint Paul
Operator: Minnesota Hockey Venture Group, LP
Size Capacity: The arena will encompass 650,000 square feet with four separate concourses and four seating levels plus a press level. The arena design provides for 18,600 seats for National Hockey League games. The arena will connect to the adjacent RiverCentre Convention Center and Roy Wilkins Auditorium Complex.
Project Cost: $130 million
Funding Partnership: City of Saint Paul, State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Wild
Particulars: Five separate levels with the main concourse at street level
* Level-000 Event Floor Level
* Level-100 Lower Seating Level (Main concourse)
* Level-200 Suite Level
* Level-300 Club Level
* Level-400 Upper Seating Level
* Level 500 Press Level
Architect: Populous Facilities Group, the worldwide leader in sports facility design.
Construction Manager: Mortensen/Thor, Joint Venture, composed of M.A. Mortenson and Thor Construction, both are Minnesota based companies.
Suites: Seventy-four suites located on two levels, the main concourse and an exclusive suite level. The suites will be sold on multi-year leases starting later in 1998 or early 1999.
Additional Information: This is a new and exciting addition to downtown and will be an outstanding sport and entertainment venue. For more information or to arrange a personal meeting to discuss the many possibilities the arena offers, please call 612-333-PUCK.
NEW SAINT PAUL ARENA FEATURES
The new multi-purpose arena in downtown Saint Paul has many distinct features. A few of the features incorporated into the new Saint Paul arena include:
* Multi-purpose design with great hockey sightlines.
* Transparent, glass exterior welcoming fans.
* Main entrance at street level - pedestrian friendly.
* Four convenient atrium entrances to the arena.
* Wide concourses.
* Open concourses (i.e. Mariucci Arena).
* Large lower seating bowl with 9, 000 seats.
* Upper deck with opera style seating at the ends offering great sightlines.
* Unique club seating concourse with club and dining opportunities.
* Arena lighting to accentuate the Saint Paul skyline.
* Direct connection to the Saint Paul RiverCentre, Convention Center and Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE MINNESOTA WILD
June 25, 1997
The National Hockey League announces that Minnesota Hockey Venture Group, LP has been awarded an expansion franchise to begin play in the 2000-2001 season.
July 7, 1997
Carin Anderson named Marketing Director.
Oct. 2, 1997
Matt Majka named Head of Retail Operations.
Dec. 3, 1997
Martha Larson named Chief Financial Officer, becoming the first female Chief Financial Officer in the history of the National Hockey League.
Dec. 19, 1997
Jac K. Sperling named Chief Executive Officer.
Dec. 22, 1997
Bill Robertson named Head of Communications.
Jan. 22, 1998
The new NHL team is officially named the Minnesota Wild. The unveiling occurred in front of a sellout crowd at historic Aldrich Arena.
Feb. 27, 1998
The Minnesota Wild launches its redesigned internet web site (www.wild.com).
Mar. 6, 1998
The Minnesota Wild announce its first major sponsorship agreement with the Minnesota Wild Mastercard card from First USA. It is the earliest that First USA has signed an agreement in advance of a team beginning play (31 months).
April 10, 1998
The State of Minnesota agrees in legislation to fund $65 million of the $130 million project costs for the new arena.
Arena deconstruction begins.
June 9, 1998
Ray Chandler named as New Arena Project Director.
June 17, 1998
Arena design announced.
June 23, 1998
Arena Groundbreaking Ceremony in Saint Paul.
Arena foundation begins to be poured.
General Manager of Minnesota Wild Hockey Operations to be named.
Minnesota Wild Head Coach named.
Minnesota Wild participate in NHL Expansion Draft.
Minnesota Wild participate in NHL Entry Draft.
Arena completed for 2000-2001 NHL season.
NHL Pre-Season Begins.
Opening Night -- first puck drops: Minnesota Wild inaugural NHL regular season begins.
NHL WILD SELLS ALL LUXURY SUITES
July 22, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures
The Minnesota Wild have leased all its luxury suites for the new arena it will open next year in St. Paul. All 64 suites have been leased at prices ranging from $75,000 to $140,000, including hockey tickets and other events. The venue's 2,800 club seats go on sale in August and will sell for $2,665 to $3,485.
Xcel Energy secures naming rights at St. Paul arena
Curt Brown, Star Tribune
Thursday, June 15, 2000
The hockey term "power play" likely will have a new meaning when the fledgling Minnesota Wild takes the home ice this fall.
Xcel Energy Inc., the new corporate name of Northern States Power Co. and a Denver power company with which it plans to merge, is expected to pay about $3 million a year in cash and services to place its name on St. Paul's new $130 million publicly financed arena, according to city, corporate and team officials close to the negotiations.
A formal announcement is expected today. Although neither company nor Wild officials would comment Wednesday, the team has scheduled a 4:30 p.m. news conference.
The entire fee for the naming rights would go directly to the Wild, helping offset $3.5 million in annual rent the team is required to pay to help the city and state recoup public funds used to build the 18,600-seat arena, part of the RiverCentre complex.
The National Hockey Team team also is on the hook for annual payments in lieu of property taxes that grow from $2.5 million to $6 million during its 25-year lease with the city.
The complicated naming-rights deal is believed to run for 25 years and include a sweeping advertising partnership, electricity costs, luxury suites and tickets. The team hopes fans will refer to the arena as "The X."
Xcel would be the latest power company to affix its name to a sports facility. In Houston, the energy firm Enron Corp. supplies power for its namesake, the Astros' Enron Field ballpark, under a $100 million, 30-year pact announced last year.
The Anaheim Angels named their ballpark Edison International Field under 20-year, $50 million agreement with the Edison International utility firm, according to Team Marketing Report, which analyzes naming-rights agreements. And the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals play on Cinergy Field under the terms of a $1 million annual deal.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to earn about $18.75 million over 15 years in the deal that named Target Center after the Minneapolis-based retailer, according to Team Marketing Report.
Calculating the precise value of the anticipated Xcel-Wild deal is difficult because it will be a private sponsorship deal and include utility services, promotions and tickets -- not just cash. In Nashville, where the NHL Predators joined the league two seasons ago, the Gaylord Entertainment Center was named as part of a 20-year, $80 million package.
And there's Touchstone
The Xcel arrangement wouldn't affect a 10-year, $2.25 million naming rights deal struck last year between the RiverCentre and an Xcel competitor, Touchstone Energy. Touchstone, the nation's largest consortium of rural electrical cooperatives, made that deal in exchange for the city's RiverCentre Authority renaming its $80 million convention center Touchstone Energy Place at RiverCentre.
"I don't believe there is a lot of precedent in the naming-rights world to having two competitors right next door to each other," said Pat Forciea, whose consulting firm earns $20,000 a year for brokering the Touchstone-RiverCentre deal.
Dick Zehring, chairman of the RiverCentre Authority, said: "It's very important to us that Touchstone receives the benefits it ought to to get in such a sponsorship situation."
So while fans might get confused passing through Touchstone Energy Place on the way to the Xcel Energy Center, experts and company officials aren't surprised.
"We expected the potential of another energy company possibly naming the arena," said Mark Laub, CEO of EnPower Services Inc., a Maple Grove-based firm representing 100 Touchstone co-ops in the Upper Midwest.
"It's uncertain the nature of competition deregulation will produce and what kind of competitor Xcel will be," Laub said Wednesday. "But one thing is certain: St. Paul's RiverCentre is a marvelous place and we're as committed as ever to introducing our business in that market."
The Wild's arena is scheduled to open in October and the team's first player draft is coming up later this month. The city provided $65 million in bonds to build the arena, while the state funded the other half of the construction costs with a $48 million interest-free loan and a $17 million grant made in exchange for the Wild opening the arena for public events, including the state high school hockey tournament.
Staff writer Kevin Duchschere contributed to this report.
For Immediate Release
July 6, 2000
Contact: Bill Robertson
MINNESOTA WILD ANNOUNCES XCEL ENERGY CENTER ENHANCEMENTS
SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The National Hockey League's (NHL) Minnesota Wild today announced that the club will make a substantial investment in the Xcel Energy Center for a variety of enhancements that will significantly improve the fan experience for hockey and other entertainment events. As dictated by the Wild's lease with the City, the Wild's investment is privately funded and will range from $30 - $40 million, depending on the final design. The public investment in the Xcel Energy Center will remain at $130 million.
The following are examples of the enhancements that the Minnesota Wild will make to the Xcel Energy Center:
* Electronic display system (360 degree video boards and scoreboard)
* Entertainment platforms in the lobby and four corners of the Arena
* Upgraded acoustical equipment for concerts
* Enhanced in-arena production studio
* State of hockey celebration displays featuring jerseys from each high school hockey team in the state (boys and girls), and displays from the United States Hockey Hall of Fame
* Upgraded finishes throughout the building
* Seamless dasherboard glass
* Upgraded food and beverage service facilities
* Added square footage for Club and upper level lounges with great views of downtown Saint Paul
* An NHL Alumni Lounge
THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
November 12, 2000 - The Xcel Energy Center is one of the league's newest arenas, having opened just a few months ago, and is the home to the expansion NHL Minnesota Wild. Located on the western edge of downtown St. Paul and adjacent to the Rivercentre Convention Center, this
beautiful new facility is also close to the magnificent Cathedral Hill and just blocks from the
Minnesota State Capitol. Seating for hockey is just over 18,600. The city of St. Paul owns the
arena and it is managed by a subsidiary of the team.
|Xcel Energy Center Ranking by USRT|
|Fan Support|| 9|
|Concourses/Fan Comfort|| 9|
|Bonus: Zamboni Organ|| 5|
|Bonus: High School Jerseys|| 2|
|Total Score|| 71|
Again, we have to talk in superlatives when describing this arena, for great lengths were
taken both inside and outside to make this whole building an experience in itself. To begin
with, the entire north side of the building is one huge glass facade, with the building
marquee at the top of the glass and a full color dot matrix board showing ads and listing
upcoming events. As you approach the main entrance, there is a smaller dot matrix
marquee illuminating the sidewalk beneath. The building is attractive, glitzy and
impressive, and the surrounding parkways and open lands looking out to Cathedral Hill are
serene and ambient. The other side of the building abuts the convention center, so even
though this building is right downtown it has more of a parklike setting feel to it than a
downtown feel. Nevertheless other downtown attractions are easily accessible by foot or
by shuttle bus. At night, the building is lit up to complement the adjacent St. Paul skyline.
The Concourses and Amenities
Once you walk inside this building and begin to get a feel for it, you eventually come to
realize that the colors and accents of the building are designed to give you the feel of the
forests and nature of Minnesota. Floors, walls, and fixtures are colored brown, copper and
tan with forest green accents. Doorways and concession stands all have a natural wood
finish and are designed to mimic the design of a ski chalet. Concourses are super wide,
even in the upper level, and all three concourses - lower, club, and upper have a view of
the arena bowl and the playing surface.
On the main concourse is a sports bar adjacent to the main lobby, and along all the walls in
the bar are showcases and displays of Minnesota's storied hockey history. The suite
concourse, the balcony of which overlooks the main concourse, is decorated with hanging
jerseys of every high school team in the state of Minnesota. While that is a great idea and a
nice tribute, we were disappointed that only those with suite tickets could get close
enough to these jersey displays to properly view and enjoy them. A large team store named the "Hockey Lodge" sells team wares and is adjacent to another
On the club concourse is an upscale restaurant called Headwaters, which serves a buffet
similar to our 100 Harbour Club setup. Here one can also find a cigar lounge complete with
fireplace and another bar/lounge on the other side of the club section. There is a separate
escalator for club ticket holders.
We did mention how wide the concourses were and this includes the upper level. This is
unusual in arenas that we have visited where the upper deck usually had a narrower
concourse. We figured out why - What we found up top were very high pitched seats similar
to those in the oranges in the Aud. Sitting in those seats put you right on top of the action
on the ice and offered a terrific view. (That's where we sat when we weren't touring the
building or sneaking down to the club section to check it out - and yes we did scam our way
A wide variety of concessions and great food selection.. including a "Buffalo Wild Wings" stand featuring our great contribution to the world's culinary delights.. Nice touch, St. Paul!
As in Columbus, it is the arena bowl that makes this place just outstanding. The seats are all
done in a soft forest green, and along the walls and trim are tan/brown accents. The
concrete aisles are not gray, but rather a copper/brown mix. Unlike Buffalo, the suites are
above the lower level, then the clubs, and the uppers. In each of the four corners are
green towers which are topped off by "crows nests". Each of the four platforms is unique -
one contains a lighthouse (commemorating Minnesota's rich naval history abutting Lake
Superior), the second the organ which was shaped like a zamboni, the third a platform for a
3 piece band and which also entertained, and the fourth for an emcee to open the game
and also host contests and entertainment during the media timeouts. Nice setup!
This arena also has the surround LED message board technology along the balcony rail. But
here in Minnesota, they take it much further. Their LED message board goes 360 degrees
around the balcony; furthermore, companion LED boards are also located on the sidelines
on the upper balcony, as well as at the top and the very bottom of the scoreboards. During
the action they just display stationary ads and game information, out of town scores etc. But
watch during the TV timeouts, intermissions, or when a goal is scored! These boards turn
into a dazzling special effects display which is a show in itself. This technology is just so
awesome it is hard to even describe - you just have to experience it.
They are a new franchise and there is no history to display, and the North Stars legacy is
somewhat muted, but there is one banner worth noting. The owner of the team decided
that the Minnesota fans were "#1", so he "retired" the #1 and hung the fans number to the rafters. Thus "Wild Fans - 1".......... We, of course, think this utterly ridiculous. If we want to be picky or mean spirited, we could say that this community let their first NHL franchise slip away, went through not one, but TWO versions of the WHA Fighting Saints,
and stayed away in droves when the Moose competed in the IHL. All this, in a state that is
the hotbed of hockey in the US. In our book, the number "1" designation is something that needs to be earned over time, not just announced and hung. Whether it's corporate
banners in Columbus, 7th man banners in Nashville or attendance champion banners in
Tampa Bay, these type of banners represent a disturbing trend to those of us who value
the sanctity of this distinction. So we say it again- do as they do in Toronto and in
Montreal... save the rafters of the arena to honor the gods of the sport who dazzled us with
their talent and brilliance on the ice and on the court... save the rafters to hallow the titles
and the Stanley Cups. And to the new teams we offer this advice -do as they do at the
Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim - until you win something leave your rafters empty!
They did it right here - capturing the great hockey tradition of the state, combining it with
indoor and outdoor design and architecture to reflect the flavor of the area, and an
amazing and unique seating bowl with the top notch dazzling special LED effects. Add all
the fixings and amenities and the Xcel Energy Center jumps to the top of the list as one of
the NHL's top venues!
Xcel Energy Center nominated for Arena of the Year
December 17, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures
Xcel Energy Center has been nominated for "Arena of the Year" for the seventh time in eight years by Pollstar Magazine, the leading concert-industry trade publication.
The downtown St. Paul arena was one of eight venues nominated for the honor as part of Pollstar's 20th annual Concert Industry Awards. The other nominees were American Airlines Center (Dallas), BankAtlantic Center (Sunrise, Fla.), Madison Square Garden (New York), Palace of Auburn Hills (Auburn Hills, Mich.), Sommet Center (Nashville, Tenn.), Sprint Center (Kansas City, Mo.) and Staples Center (Los Angeles).
Madison Square Garden won "Arena of the Year" last year, the 13th time it has won. The only other winners since the award's inception in 1992 are Staples Center (twice) and Palace of Auburn Hills (once).
In addition to its typical array of Minnesota Wild games and concerts, Xcel Energy Center also hosted the 2008 Republican National Convention in September and the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January. President-elect Barack Obama also staged a rally at the arena on June 3, at which he claimed the Democratic nomination.
This year, Xcel Energy Center's concerts included Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Neil Diamond, R.E.M. and AC/DC. It also hosted Walking With Dinosaurs: The Live Experience, a family-oriented show featuring life-size animatronic dinosaurs.
Since opening in September 2000, Xcel Energy Center has hosted more than 1,000 sporting events, concerts, family shows and special events. As the home of the Wild, the arena has sold out for every game in franchise history.
The Pollstar Concert Industry Award nominations were made by major agents, managers, promoters and other industry professionals. Winners will be determined by a national survey of industry professionals who subscribe to Pollstar, and will be announced Jan. 30 in Los Angeles. Source: Twin Cities Bizjournals
ST. PAUL WANTS NEW ARENA NEAR XCEL
March 5, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
St. Paul, Minn. - The city of St. Paul is proposing to build, own and operate an ice arena across
the street from the Xcel Energy Center, but first it needs the state of Minnesota to forgive a loan.
Bills introduced in the state House and Senate call for about $33 million in loan forgiveness,
which the city would put into the arena. The bill also would allow the city to issue up to $40 million in bonds to help finance the project.
The project is the Pond, a single sheet of ice housed in a three-story, 120,000- square-foot
building with seating for up to 4,000 people. Construction is estimated to cost between $35 million and $40 million.
The idea is to provide a place for the Minnesota Wild to practice, to host amateur ice hockey
and figure skating events, to handle overflow from Xcel Center events and to give downtown
visitors another reason to hang out and spend time and money.
Although the state and the city face drastic budget deficits, St. Paul officials say moving ahead
with the project will create 200 jobs and bring in more money. Early estimates call for the rink to make at least $4 million annually.
City officials are optimistic that the proposal will gain support in the Legislature, but past
attempts at getting the Xcel loan forgiven have not panned out.
The city's argument this time, however, is that the state would recoup more money from the rink's
existence than it gets in payments on the Xcel loan, said Wendy Underwood, the city's lobbyist.
The city would continue to pay on the loan for the next four years, for a total of about $7 million.
In all, the city would have paid back $15.3 million of the original $48 million Xcel loan if the
proposed legislation is approved.
The rink would be an addition to the Minnesota Event District, an area of downtown that
includes the RiverCentre complex and Xcel, the Ordway Center for Performing Arts and the
Science Museum of Minnesota. (Star Tribune)