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Vikings Worried About Rowdy Fans

November 14, 1999

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Add beer, a young group of new fans, a winning team, tailgating, increasing fan rowdiness around the country and the Minnesota Vikings have a recipe for a sometimes unpleasant atmosphere at home games.

During last Monday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, 10 fans were arrested and 20 others were ejected _ well above the normal numbers _ from the Dome by Minneapolis police, according to Lt. Don Banham, head of the stadium’s contingent.

Officials with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, Vikings executives and Minneapolis city leaders have growing concerns that drunkenness and boorishness among some fans is ruining the game experience for others.

Among the offenses on the rise are loud cheering filled with four-letter words, fighting, beer throwing and goading of fans of the opposing teams.

``We want people to have a great time and be exuberant, but they shouldn’t be interfering with somebody else’s great time,″ Peggy Lucas, chair of the Commission’s concessions and marketing committee, said.

Because of the increase in problems during last Monday’s game, the Vikings are planning to increase security and end beer sales earlier for the next Monday night game Dec. 20 against Green Bay.

``People should be able to enjoy a non-abusive, non-threatening environment,″ Terri Huml, Vikings senior director of sales and marketing, said.

Monday night games, with their national TV audience, carry more hype than Sunday games. With the longtime rival Cowboys as opponents, the intensity also was heightened.

Sports fans have become rowdier around the country. Golf fans smashed etiquette with heckling at the recent Ryder Cup tournament. Fans in Boston during the Red Sox-Yankees playoffs threw bottles at players and umpires.

At Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium, the Eagles have set up a courtroom to expedite disorderly conduct cases. The Baltimore Ravens’ stadium has four jail cells for the criminally rowdy.

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