Vikings' Suit: Wells Fargo Is Photo-Bombing Our New Stadium

Team says bank is trying to sneak extra exposure with mounted, lit signage
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2015 12:27 PM CST
Vikings' Suit: Wells Fargo Is Photo-Bombing Our New Stadium
The new US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings NFL football team opening in 2016, looms in the background.   (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

In 2014, Wells Fargo agreed it wouldn't use mounted, illuminated rooftop signs on its two 17-story office towers that flank the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium in Minneapolis, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Instead, it would use two 56-foot signs painted flat on the roof, with no illumination, the Pioneer Press reports. But the NFL team claims the bank is flouting its contract in an "effort to permanently 'photo bomb' the image of the iconic US Bank Stadium," per a lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo on Tuesday. It's a signage skirmish that could significantly impact Wells Fargo's exposure: Millions can see the buildings near the stadium in national TV broadcasts for football and other events, and as host to the 2018 Super Bowl, that means even more limelight. "We met with them. We called them, we objected in writing," a Vikings VP tells Minnesota Public Radio. "This is our last resort."

After the initial contract with StadCo, the stadium's holding company, was signed in February 2014, Wells Fargo started trying to amend the deal, asking in August of that year for a change that would permit it to use rooftop signs with "raised, illuminated lettering … mounted on beams more than a foot above the roof," the Star Tribune notes. The bank informed the Vikings if they didn't OK this change, it would simply flood the roofs of its towers, including its signage, with light to increase their visibility. It's also likely that Wells Fargo is desperate to make sure US Bank isn't the only one being seen: The latter bank has what's believed to be a $220 million agreement with the stadium for the next 20 years to place its name on the stadium and splash its logo across the arena's roof, a prime positioning visible from airplanes. Per a Hennepin County District Court rep, a hearing will be held Dec. 30, MPR notes. (Last year's Vikings drama was all about Adrian Peterson.)

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