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Minnesota Vikings file lawsuit to 'call out' Wells Fargo for attempting to 'photobomb' new stadium

"We felt it was important to call them out," Minnesota Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said of Wells Fargo.

By
Daniel Uria and Doug G. Ware
The Wells Fargo Center (center), the third-tallest skyscraper in downtown Minneapolis, stands about a mile away from the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium on 5th Street. Tuesday, the team filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo and accused the bank of using two other newly-constructed towers nearby to sneak its logos into future images of the $1 billion stadium, which U.S. Bank paid $220 million to put its name on. Photo by IVY Photos/Shutterstock
The Wells Fargo Center (center), the third-tallest skyscraper in downtown Minneapolis, stands about a mile away from the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium on 5th Street. Tuesday, the team filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo and accused the bank of using two other newly-constructed towers nearby to sneak its logos into future images of the $1 billion stadium, which U.S. Bank paid $220 million to put its name on. Photo by IVY Photos/Shutterstock

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The NFL's Minnesota Vikings filed a lawsuit against national bank Wells Fargo this week for allegedly violating an agreement between the two concerning the team's new $1 billion football stadium -- which competitor U.S. Bank paid more than $200 million to put its name on.

Both sides agreed almost two years ago that Wells Fargo & Co., would be allowed to place large 56-foot signs on two new office towers it was building near the new stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

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In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, though, the Vikings claim the signs Wells Fargo is planning are too big and too bright -- and are intended to sneak the bank's logo into future images of the stadium.

"Wells Fargo has recently started installing mounted and illuminated roof top signs that do not conform to the parties agreement in an effort to permanently 'photobomb' the image of the iconic U.S. Bank stadium," the lawsuit said, which claims Wells Fargo previously agreed not to mount the signs or illuminate them.

"Agreeing to any rooftop signs was a major concession by [stadium officials], given that it had the ability to prohibit any and all rooftop and other exterior signage on the Wells Fargo towers," the suit added.

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The Vikings and Wells Fargo negotiated the deal in February 2014 to permit signs on two of the bank's buildings that were being built near the stadium. Another of the bank's buildings, the 57-story Wells Fargo Center, the city's third-tallest tower, stands about a mile away from the stadium.

"We are satisfied with the signage package that was approved for our $300 million community investment initiative for our new campus in the historic Downtown East neighborhood," Wells Fargo spokesperson John Hobot said in a statement.

Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said his team has repeatedly expressed their disapproval of the bank's proposed signs, as they believe it jeopardizes the $220 million naming rights deal it struck with U.S. Bank in June. The stadium's contract with U.S. Bank lasts for 25 years.

"Bottom line, they violated an agreement, in writing, a signed agreement," Bagley said of Wells Fargo. "We felt it was important to call them out."

The Vikings have a court hearing scheduled for Dec. 30, at which they hope a judge will block the construction of the new signs.

The 65,000-seat stadium is scheduled to open next year, replacing the demolished Metrodome. U.S. Bank Stadium has already been selected to host Super Bowl LII in February 2018 and the NCAA Final Four the following year.

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