As the Minnesota Vikings’ Metrodome began to grow ever more tired, the decision was made to replace the ailing stadium with something more modern. However, there was a catch: it had to be cost-effective and usable year-round for a variety of events.
The answer? Petrochemicals.
Thanks to a plastic copolymer called ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene (ETFE), 248,000 square feet of the new U.S. Bank Stadium will be covered by this “space age” material, which lets in as much light as glass but is “lighter, cheaper and cleaner.”
The Vikings’ new home will be the largest ETFE-covered structure in the country, although it has been used on a number of high-profile sporting projects worldwide – such as the Water Cube used during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Allianz Arena, the home of German soccer giants Bayern Munich.
Of course, ETFE is not the only use of petrochemicals in football. The industry plays a key role in the sport – from the synthetic turf many teams play on, to the helmets, pads and mouth guards every player wears as they take the field.
Petrochemicals have been involved in football for decades, and ETFE is just the latest example of the industry’s ongoing role in modernizing one of the nation’s favorite sports.