Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Minnesota Vikings stadium roof collapses under weight of heavy snow

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The 28-year-old Minnesota Metrodome, the home stadium of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, saw its roof collapse on Dec. 12th due to the heavy amount of snow on it. The roof collapsed at 5 a.m. after three fabric panels ripped under the heavy weight of over two feet of snow. Luckily nobody was injured during the accident, but the Vikings may end up losing millions of dollars in revenue.

Minnesota was expecting about 64,000 fans to the stadium that night as the Vikings were set to meet the New York Giants, with tickets ranging between $30 and $150 for season ticket holders. The game was moved to Detroit on Dec. 13th and the next scheduled home game against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 20th will need to be moved to another location.

The Vikings announced that any fans with tickets that travelled to Detroit would be given preferential seating on the 50-yard line and refunds will be given to ticket holders who wanted them. Officials from the company that made and installed the roof, which is supported by air pressure systems, were set to start repairing it right away. It’s the fourth time in the history of the stadium that the roof has been deflated and collapsed.

The last time was in April of 1983 after heavy, wet snow deflated it. It took four days to fix it. It also fell down in November of 1981, just a month after being first inflated, and a year later in December of 1982, just eight months after it was completed. The Vikings said it was a pretty complex move changing the location to Detroit for both teams as well as Ford Field, the home of the Detroit Lions, where the game was moved to.

Workers were on the roof of the Metrodome the day before it collapsed from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., as they were using steam and hot water to help melt and remove the snow and the heat inside the dome was cranked up. But the winds became too strong for the seven-man crew and they had to vacate it. The build-up of snow and ice eventually caused the fabric to stress and it ripped. However, it’s believed to be salvageable.

The incident has set off debates about a new stadium for the Vikings and that’s still a possibility. Some of the team’s losses will be offset by business interruption insurance, but it’s unclear how much it will cover.

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