SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If the Minnesota Vikings score a lot of points in home games this season, South Dakota could benefit.

Minnesota Vikings fans are the focus of marketing effort by Travel South Dakota for the third year in a row. Part of the effort includes sponsoring scoring drive summaries, Katlyn Svendsen, the global media and public relations director for Travel South Dakota, said in an email to KELOLAND News. So, when the Vikings score, fans can learn about South Dakota’s features.

Travel South Dakota (state department of tourism) is spending about $275,000 this year to invite fans to visit the state through the Vikings campaign, Svendsen said.

The marketing/advertising firm of Karsh Hagan based in Denver, Colorado, is working with Travel South Dakota on the campaign, Svendsen said. Karsh Hagan is the lead creative agency and assists with Travel South Dakota with its comprehensive marketing campaigns including TV, print, and out-of-home efforts like the Vikings campaign, she said.

Fans will see South Dakota-based advertising inside U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis during the game through “in-game components, including sponsored scoring drive summaries, end zone and LED signage and IPTV spots throughout the stadium, and also includes a social media content series integration, “Skol Scribbles,” and a Victory Monday dedicated email trip giveaway promo,” Svendsen said in the email.

Why Vikings games?

For one, “Minneapolis is Travel South Dakota’s top metro for out-of-state visitation, accounting for 11.7% of visitor arrivals year-to-date,” Svendsen said.

Data from the state department of tourism website dashboard shows from August compared to date in 2022, 555,000 overnight trips were generated from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. That was nearly double from Denver, in second place for overnight trips.

If the state wants to win tourism fans, it needs to leverage the numbers.

“In 2022, the Vikings saw the average distance for those traveling to a game being 150 miles; and over the course of a season, less than 5% of people in U.S. Bank Stadium went to more than one game. At the end of the 2022 season, 45% of attending accounts were at a Vikings game for their first time,” Svendsen said.

The Vikings have fans across Minnesota and in other key markets like Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota and some top metropolitan areas such as Fargo and Bismarck, North Dakota, Des Moines and Sioux City, Iowa and other cities.

“They are great potential visitors based on their fan base size (12th nationally, large overall favorite in Minneapolis) and index higher than average across household incomes and have more means than average to travel,” Svendsen said of some reasons the Vikings fan market is attractive.

U.S. Bank Stadium has a capacity of about 66,600, and according to ESPN, it drew an average of 66,687 fans each game in 2022. Pro football industry sites said the average NFL game is about three hours. So, thousands of fans should have at least several chances over several hours to see a South Dakota promotion.

Travel South Dakota is doing more than advertising during Viking games.

The state also has sports on KFAN radio in the Twin Cities and messaging on local TV networks for the pre-season only.

“Between the Sunday gameday experience and opportunities including Vikings’ local TV and radio broadcasts, social media and email database, Travel South Dakota has generated millions of touchpoints with fans across those critical markets. Vikings fans index high on efforts like these,” Svendsen said.

Marketing that turns into visitor spending is a key part of the state’s economy. The South Dakota Department of Tourism said visitors spent $4.7 billion in the state in 2022. The visitor spending generated $361 million in state and local tax revenue.

Travel South Dakota has some specific topics for the Vikings campaign. “…places like Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park, and Custer State Park through experiences like road trips and wildlife viewing. Travel South Dakota also promotes pheasant hunting in the fall, with the invite for fans to come ‘Hunt the Greatest,'” Svendsen said in the email.

Department secretary Jim Hagen talked about the Vikings campaign in a Feb. 7 presentation to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriation. Hagen said it was money well spent and there is a good relationship with the organization. Some players and organization staffers vacation in South Dakota, Hagen said.