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Frequently Asked Questions

When was the NSC built, who built it and how is it paid for?

The original complex opened in 1990. The facility was built by the State of Minnesota, but is operated by a non-profit corporation, the National Sports Center Foundation (NSCF). The NSCF operates the facility on a self-supporting basis. State funds were used to build the facility, and periodically the state has provided funds for capital improvements, but no state operating subsidy is provided. The original state investment in 1990 was $14.7 million, and to date the state investment totals $33.1 million. The NSC has raised a total of $40.6 million in non-state investment. The majority of that total comes from partners who invested in the Schwan Super Rink.

How many people visit the NSC?

Since opening its doors, the NSC has hosted approximately 54 million visitors. In 2016, over 4 million people visited, making it Minnesota's most visited sports facility.

Were all these facilities here when the campus opened?

No, the NSC has evolved and grown since its opening. The original complex had 24 soccer fields, the velodrome, residence hall, stadium and sports hall. By 1994, the NSC had developed over 50 fields by purchasing land north of 105th Avenue. The Schwan Super Rink opened in October of 1998 and was expanded in 2006. Victory Links Golf Course was completed in phases between 2000-2004. The Welcome Center opened in April 2005 and the Sport Expo Center was added in 2013. Eight new multi-purpose playing fields opened on the north side of 105th Avenue in July 2016 and currently the NSC offers 54 outdoor multi-used fields. All are natural grass, and three are lighted.

Did the State of Minnesota also build the Schwan Super Rink, Victory Links Golf Course, and the Gradient Financial Center?

The original four-sheet Schwan Super Rink opened in 1998 and was funded by a cooperative of eight local governmental partners along with the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission (MASC). The partners include the cities of Arden Hills, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Mounds View, New Brighton, Shoreview, as well as Ramsey and Anoka Counties. Total construction cost was $11 million.

In 2006, four additional sheets of ice were added and new partners were brought in to help fund the construction -- Blaine and Centennial Youth Hockey, Bethel University and the Herb Brooks Foundation.

Victory Links Golf Course had $3 million of the $10 million cost paid for by the state. The rest was raised through private funds and in-kind sponsorship.

The Welcome Center was built by the state as part of the bonding bill in 2003.

The Sport Expo Center was opened in 2013. It was self-funded by the National Sports Center.

What kind of economic impact does the NSC have?

In an independent study of the NSC by the State of Minnesota Office of Analysis and Evaluation, the NSC produces over $47 million in economic impact annually, $2.3 million of taxes to the state annually, and $800,000 of annual local taxes, and contributes nearly 500 jobs to the economy.

Can I fly my drone at the NSC?

National Sports Center policy on non-commercial drone usage on the NSC campus

All drone usage must be approved by the event or program director, preferably well ahead of the event. If a drone user flies without prior approval, the pilot will be asked to land the drone and fulfill the following requirements.

Technical requirements:

  • Be flying a drone that is FAA registered, and must provide FAA registration number and aircraft serial number.
  • Since the NSC campus is within five miles of the Anoka County Airport (class G airspace,) user provide prior notification to the airport and air traffic control tower.
  • Verify coverage of at least $1 million liability insurance. Homeowners insurance may provide coverage, but applicant should contact your insurance company to verify. Stand-alone liability coverage specific to drone use is available at a reasonable cost. For example, a $75 annual membership in the Academy of Model Aeronautics comes with $2.5 million of personal liability coverage. (http://www.modelaircraft.org/)
  • If the applicant is seeking to fly a drone at a program or event at the NSC that is operated by an outside party (rental events), the applicant must obtain approval from both the event/program owner and the NSC.

Upon approval, the pilot must abide by all FAA-recommended safety guidelines, including:

  • All flight 400 feet or lower, and must always give way to manned aircraft.
  • Adhere to all federal, state, and local laws.
  • No flying over crowds, including USA CUP Opening Ceremonies.
  • Must stay to NSC property.

The NSC also enforces the following flight rules for outdoor sports events:

  • Drone video cannot be used for in-game coaching purposes, i.e. drone video may not be used for halftime coaching.
  • Drones must be flown at a height that guarantees they do not interfere with game action.
  • The game referee has the full discretion to ground a drone that he/she believes to be posing a safety hazard.

These policies apply to non-commercial drone usage. Commercial drone photographers must fulfill all these requirements, but also must obtain prior written approval from the NSC.