Remember the time before Minnesota United’s 2017 season began? Cautious optimism surrounded the team in most regards—except for one. Everyone seemed to doubt whether TCF Bank Stadium, the 50,805 capacity football stadium for the University of Minnesota, could be an enjoyable place to watch soccer.
The numerous issues covered a variety of viewing aspects: no tailgating, an unfortunate lack of parking, bad sightlines, poor concessions logistics, an empty second tier of seats, and those god-awful letters on the pitch.
It was a small miracle that anybody showed up for the opening match in the supposedly unbearable ground, but fans did—in a blizzard as well.
But to me, the firsttwo seasons in TCF Bank Stadium went just fine. Tailgating is always a good thing at any sporting event, but United’s fans seemed to be fine with going to restaurants or breweries for their pre-match meal.
Parking didn’t end up being a nightmare either. A good chunk of attendees took the light rail to games, and the team was kind enough to provide free ride passes for some matches. Those who did drive to games had to pay for parking in a ramp a few blocks away, but that wasn’t unbearable.
Soccer isn’t a concession-friendly sport. Halftime is only fifteen minutes long, and there is a risk of missing the action by grabbing a snack while the clock is running. Lines can get long during halftime at TCF Bank Stadium, but that’s expected, and they’re usually short enough that you can get back to your seat for the second 45. If you’re willing to hurry up during play, the lines are nonexistent.
That empty second level isn’t an attention-grabbing eyesore. With the lower bowl mostly filled for the past few games, the stadium is loud, especially during the M-N-UFC chant. The stadium doesn’t feel too big with empty seats looming over the fans. And there were even a few times this past season where the upper bowl had a smattering of fans.
The letters on the field are still unfortunate. Having an “M” in the center circle isn’t bad at all, even though it’s maroon and gold. The “MINNESOTA” written in front of each goal is ugly, but it doesn’t detract from the action on top of it. I got used to and over it.
It’ll certainly be nice to move into Allianz Field, but until then, let’s enjoy the last match at the Bank.
What are your thoughts on how TCF Bank Stadium fared? Let us know in the comments below.