Last week I got a sneak peek into the newest stadium in MLS. No wonder tickets to Minnesota United's home opener (Saturday, 5 pm ET | ESPN2 in USA; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada) sold out in 90 seconds!
Giving my final recommendations to MNUFC CEO Chris Wright (just kidding) | Jillian Sakovits
We saw all the ins and outs with our tour guide, MNUFC CEO Chris Wright; you can catch those in a video out later this week. In the meantime, here’s 10 Things you should know about Allianz Field...
The Wonderwall, seen from below | MNUFC
MNUFC’s 2,800-capacity, standing-room-only supporters section is the steepest grade allowed at 34.8 degrees.
The Minnesota United crest is everywhere, uniquely intertwined throughout the stadium. That detail, combined with the baby blue seats, is striking.
With 96 beer taps, local food and garage doors that open to the concourse, what’s not to love? This beer garden-inspired restaurant and bar also has non-gameday hours, and will be open for special events like watch parties (Women’s World Cup, anyone?!) The big, big screen sits just across the pitch.
PS: I love the commitment to their local small business owners. In addition to food you would expect at a stadium like hot dogs, popcorn and pretzels, Allianz Field will showcase the diversity of culture and cuisine in Minnesota. Whether a fan’s favorite is a Freschetta pizza, Somali flavors from Afro Deli, traditional nachos from Los Ocampo or a chicken tikka masala rice bowl from Hot Indian, they have it.
What is with that analog clock?!
That is what I said, too, before learning about the story: It’s a very cool way to honor the NASL days of MNUFC. There was an analog clock and manual scoreboard at their old home, the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota. The idea came from members of the Dark Clouds supporters' group who journeyed to the 2006 World Cup and saw the old analog clock at FC St. Pauli's (get it?) Millerntor-Stadion.
The clock in the center keeps time, while the numbers on either side keep score, old-school style.
There really isn't a bad seat in the house!
The view from fieldside seating | Jillian Sakovits
The closest seat to the field is 17 feet away; the farthest, just 125 feet. While this sounded cool, I wanted to see what that means. I scoured for the most distant seat, climbed up to take a look – and it was, in fact, still right near the action. The view from close up isn't bad, either.
So fresh, so clean. MNUFC made sure the players were the first people to ever see their new home, via a private tour in early 2019.
The pitch | Jillian Sakovits
As I approached MSP by plane, I could spot this patch of green grass from 20,000 feet up. The Kentucky bluegrass surface looks stunning, and with 27.5 miles of heating pipe under the pitch, it will be that way year-round.
Allianz Field's skin | MNUFC
The PTFE exterior skin is incredible. This is the first time it has ever been used on a stadium; it can light up in all colors with varying moving, flowing light patterns. Drawing inspiration from Minnesota’s abundant waters and the Northern Lights that fill its skies, Allianz Field creates a stunning environment, inside and out, for the sport.
The red seat
Every match, this seat will be reserved for a very special guest. Stay tuned for more on that coming later this week from @MNUFC!
The fans! The team & St. Paul based stadium was inspired by the diversity of the fan base. This wall at the entrance pays tribute to them.
Quick Facts: Allianz Field - Saint Paul, Minnesota
- Capacity: 20,000
- Cost: $250 million (privately financed)
- Stadium Footprint: 296,193 square feet
- Groundbreaking: June 2017
- Ribbon cutting: April 2019
Watch: Allianz Field ready to for grand opening on Saturday in Minnesota