Site Selection 2008
City of Minneapolis
City of St. Paul
Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association
St. Paul RiverCentre Convention & Vistors Authority
Xcel Energy Center
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN


Minneapolis is a city that works.  It is not only the business center of the Upper Midwest, but the hospitality center as well.  With more than 30,000 residents living Downtown, it has one of the largest downtown residential populations in America, and is thriving 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We know how to do conventions.  No other city boasts Minneapolis-Saint Paul’s event résumé. Through partnerships of citizens, city officials and the business community – and because of pure enthusiasm and deep experience – the cities successfully hosted virtually every major event imaginable in the last decade (with the exception of a national political convention).
• 1990 U.S. Olympic Festival
• 1991 U.S. National Figure Skating Championships
• 1991 U.S. Open Golf Championship
• 1991 NHL Stanley Cup
• 1991 International Special Olympics
• 1991 MLB World Series
• 1992 NFL Super Bowl
• 1992 NCAA Men’s Final Four
• 1993 Lions Club International Convention
• 1994 NCAA Women’s Final Four
• 1994 America Japan Week
• 1995 NAACP Convention
• 1998 World Figure Skating Championships
• 1998 International Telecommunication Union Plenipotentiary Conference
• 2000 International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous
• 2001 NCAA Men’s Final Four
• 2004 NHL All Star Game
• 2004 American Society of Association Executives Annual Convention
• 2005 Microsoft World Partners Conference

What separates Minneapolis from other cities is the unique delegate and donor experience we will create.  No other community provides as many options for delegates.  Plus, the projected dates of the 2008 national conventions coincide with the Minnesota State Fair, an event like no other and the largest urban state fair in the country.  A 2008 National Convention in Minneapolis would be surrounded by an active and vital downtown, with retailers such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, hundreds of restaurants, a music scene featuring everything from jazz to rock to orchestral - all within walking distance of two of the proposed convention venues.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul is walk-able and lively, urban yet lush.  Two of the proposed venues are on the new Light Rail Transit (LRT) line, which connects the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, Mall of America and downtown Minneapolis – providing easy access to attractions, restaurants, parks and the Mississippi River.  The area boasts more museums than any other U.S. city outside Chicago and Washington and can easily be reached by public transit.

Minnesota offers and recommends three viable venues for the convention site: the Metrodome, Target Center (both in downtown Minneapolis) and Xcel Energy Center (in downtown Saint Paul).

The Metrodome, opened in 1982, is home to the Minnesota Twins (MLB), the Minnesota Vikings (NFL) and University of Minnesota football team.  It is a multipurpose facility that has hosted numerous general assembly conventions and trade shows, such as a 1990 visit by former USSR President Gorbachev and the 2000 International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Target Center, opened in 1990, recently underwent a major renovation. Also a multipurpose facility, it’s home to the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA) and the Minnesota Lynx (WNBA).  Target Center has played host to many other special events, including the NFL’s Super Bowl Saturday Night, the 1993 Lions Club International Convention, the 1998 World Figure Skating Championships, as well as smaller events including Minnesota political conventions.

Xcel Energy Center opened in 2000.  It is a state-of-the-art, multipurpose, award-winning facility and home to the Minnesota Wild (NHL). In 2008 it will be host to the US Figure Skating Championships.

There are more than 35,000 hotel rooms in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area.  All rooms are located close to downtown Minneapolis. Minneapolis housed 65,000 attendees for the 1992 Super Bowl, 35,000 attendees for the 1992 and 2001 NCAA Men’s Final Four and 50,000 attendees for the 2000 International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous.  We also have the University of Minnesota adjacent to downtown as one of many lower-cost housing options.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is an international gateway with 18 major airlines providing nonstop service to 180 cities.  Once in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, numerous transportation options are available, including the new LRT line.

With an “arts explosion,” Travel + Leisure magazine named Minneapolis one of five up-and-coming places to visit in 2006.  During the past 18 months, Minneapolis has added more than a half-billion dollars in new cultural infrastructure to its already dynamic offerings.  These include spectacular new buildings for Guthrie Theater and the Minneapolis Public Library, and major expansions for the renowned Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts and The Children’s Theatre Company.

Minnesota is home to 19 Fortune 500 companies; the private sector gives willingly; and the City of Minneapolis enjoys an AAA bond rating, a distinction it has consistently held since the early 1960s.  Minnesota is the birthplace of the “Five Percent Club” of corporations that give that percentage of pretax profits back to the community.

Minnesota was a swing state in the 2004 national elections, will have close statewide elections in 2006 and will likely be a swing state in 2008.  Minnesota is also surrounded by the swing states of Wisconsin and Iowa (the land of the early caucuses).  We are a state that each political party needs to win in 2008.

The next presidential election will be hugely influenced by states on the banks of the Mississippi River in states like MN, WI, IA, MO, AR, and LA.  What better place to have a convention than on the banks of the Mississippi river?  Imagine the post-convention media coverage when the presidential nominee boards a paddleboat in downtown Minneapolis on the first leg of a trip down the Mississippi River that ends in New Orleans.  Minneapolis-Saint Paul is the nation’s 15th largest TV market (Denver is #18, New Orleans is #43) and our media market influences the swing states of WI + IA.

Minnesota is the middle of the heartland, where within a half-hour reporters and bloggers can cover nearly every aspect of American life: family owned farms, small town main streets, middle-American suburbs, and one of the most diverse, sophisticated urban environments in the country.

In addition to its experience in hosting large events and meetings – and its ability to meet all the needs for the Republican and Democratic National Conventions – Minneapolis is a city that astonishes convention-goers with its exceptional facilities, pristine environment, amazing service and pure abundance of things to do. Attendees who visit here consistently leave with one thing in mind: “When can I come back?!”

Minnesota, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area and the host city of Minneapolis meet all the specifications as set forth in the RFP.  There is a choice of venues and hotels, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area attractions offer an excellent variety for delegates and their families, and most important, Minneapolis provides an experienced team with resources to meet the financial requirements of the budget. The City of Minneapolis, the City of Saint Paul, and the entire state of Minnesota are enthused and committed to hosting a 2008 National Convention.

With a large base of Fortune 500 companies, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area knows how to entertain delegates and donors to provide them a premier, comfortable and successful convention experience. Minneapolis is an up-and-coming, can’t-miss destination.

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Announcing and Delivering the bid - May 19/22, 2006
(L to R) Greg Ortale, president & CEO, Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association; Donna Cassutt, DFL state associate chair; R.T. Rybak, mayor of Minneapolis; Chris Coleman, mayor of Saint Paul; Ron Carey, Republican Party of Minnesota chairman; and Karolyn Kirchgesler, President and CEO, Saint Paul RiverCentre Convention & Visitors Authority. (Photo courtesy GMCVA).
On May 19 at a press conference at Nicollet Island Inn Pavilion in Minneapolis, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced that their two cities will be bidding for the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions.  Also on May 19 Reps. Jim Oberstar (D) and Martin Sabo (D) hand-delivered the Democratic bid to the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.; on Monday, May 22 Sen. Norm Coleman (R) likewise delivered the Republican bid to the Republican National Committee. [press release]

Copyright © 2006  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action