U.S. Bank Stadium is a back-up plan if the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to move their Sunday night game outside Florida due to damage from Hurricane Ian, a National Football League official said Wednesday.
Jeff Miller, senior vice president of health and safety policy for the NFL, announced in a phone call. Miller said the 2020 Super Bowl rematch is still going on at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, but it will be moved to Minneapolis if necessary. He said there was no timetable for the decision.
“It’s literally a minute, hour by hour study and conversation with all affected parties, state and local authorities, disaster relief agencies and participating clubs – plus the Vikings,” he said.
US Bank’s 67,000-plus seats will be available because the Vikings will be far away, playing the New Orleans Saints in London. This match will be broadcast early Sunday.
The location of the Kansas City-Tampa Bay game depends on scope of destruction and turbulence caused by a very strong, slow-moving hurricane that made landfall on Wednesday in southwest Florida. Ian, a Category 4 hurricane, is the most powerful storm to hit the United States in decades.
Miller said the first priority is to make sure the league doesn’t do anything that “negatively impacts public safety efforts in affected areas.”
The possibility of moving the game from Tampa Bay to Minneapolis has first appeared publicly Online early Tuesday The enthusiasm was high because of the teams and players participating.
Governor Tim Walz said his staff are in regular contact with US Bank Stadium officials about the possibility of the game moving here and “all preparations are being made.”
He said the goal is to keep the game in Tampa Bay if possible. “But we are ready to help our neighbours,” he said.
The game will be a match between two of the biggest stars of the NFL and future Hall of Fame: quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. In the 2020 championship game, the Buccaneers team led by Brady defeated the Mahomes and the Chiefs in Tampa.
Staff and building can be mobilized and ready for Sunday evening, said John Drum, general manager of ASM Global, which manages US Bank Stadium operations.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the New York-based league has always had contingency plans and has been in contact with teams and local officials. But they are in no hurry to make a call. “We can make decisions later in the week, including on Friday,” he said.
The NFL is familiar with the operations and staff of the US Bank Stadium because the building is hosted Super Bowl 52 in 2018. Brady also played in that game as the losing quarterback for the New England Patriots.
The NFL has moved games for weather reasons before, but the notice will be much shorter this time. With 10 days’ notice last year, the NFL moved the home opening of the Saints against the Green Bay Packers to Jacksonville, Florida, due to Hurricane Ida.
Tickets for the Jacksonville game were sold through Ticketmaster with priority given to Saints season ticket holders, who were the home team. The reported attendance at the match was 35,242; TIAA Bank Field seats 67,164.
US Bank Stadium was sold publicly for Vikings home games. Despite the star quarterbacks, a unique opportunity and a relatively short drive from Kansas City, Sunday’s sale is unlikely for the two visiting teams.
Authors Ben Gosling and Jesse Van Berkel contributed to this report.
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