- Lloyd Brown
Target Center – Minnesota Timberwolves
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Target Center 600 North 1st Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403
Minnesota Timberwolves website
Year Opened: 1990
The Target Center has served as the home court for the Minnesota Timberwolves since it opened in 1990. It is in the Warehouse or Northloop District of downtown Minneapolis. The arena holds 18,500 in its basketball configuration. One of its most unique features is its “green” roof, which is covered in native Minnesota prairie plants, and captures water and melting snow that would otherwise wind up in the nearby Mississippi River.
The Target Center has undergone frequent renovations in recent years, with a major two-year upgrade in 2016-2017. This renovation included a new HD video board and a completely new glass atrium lobby that really opened the facility to the street. The arena is also unique in that it has two entry levels, with one at street level and a second that attaches to the Minneapolis Skyway System. The renovations also brought a great deal of light into both the lobby area and the concourses, brightening up what was a very enclosed structure. Numerous picture windows are now in place to provide stunning views of the Minneapolis skyline.
Like most professional sports arenas, championship banners are hung from the rafters. Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, these primarily celebrate the four WNBA titles won by the Minnesota Lynx.
Food & Beverage 3
The Target Center has put together a rather eclectic group of concession stands rather than feature multiple generic stands. Many of these are owned by local vendors featuring farm to table selections. There is a heavy emphasis on foods rooted in the Upper Midwest. The Nord Haus features brats ($8) and pretzels ($8). The Old Lake Lodge carries fish tacos ($15), along with Walleye sandwiches ($15). The Loon Café is especially known for its chicken Chili ($12), while Mac Time features Mac Original ($9), Smokehouse BBQ Ma ($12) and Buffalo Chicken Mac for $12.
Arena standards include hot dogs ($7), popcorn ($6), candy ($6) and fries ($6). Beverages include Coca-Cola brand sodas ($6), bottled water ($5), domestic beers ($10) and a wide variety of craft beers at $12.
The Warehouse Row District right outside of the Target Arena has a wide variety of restaurants and bars to choose from for a before or after game meal. You might want to reserve your purchases at the Target Center to beverages and snacks.
The Timberwolves came into the NBA as an expansion team in 1989 and moved into the Target Center in their second year of existence. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference. They have gone to the playoffs frequently, only to lose in the first round. The exception to this frustrating situation was in 2004, when they made it to the Western Division Finals, only to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers. The team’s attendance picked up during the years Kevin Garnett played with the team but has dropped off in recent years.
The renovation of Target Arena is designed with a Northwoods theme. The exterior is painted a dark brown, which is suggestive of a cabin by a frozen lake. The interior utilizes a great deal of wood finishes along with a great deal of brick, which is in keeping with the many warehouse buildings surrounding it.
The seating bowl provides excellent sight lines, with no bad seats in the house. It really does not appear to have as high a seating capacity as it does. The seats are very comfortable and have beverage holders. The arena can raise or lower the floors depending on the needs of the game. The court features the Timberwolves logo prominently at mid court, with the color scheme of the team used on the sidelines and in the paint under the basket.
The Target Center is in the Warehouse Business District or the Northloop neighborhood, Minneapolis’ downtown sports and entertainment district. The arena is linked to its next door neighbor, Target Field, by the Target Plaza. The Warehouse District is filled with trendy shops and restaurants, including the Cityworks Eatery and Pour House (with more than 90 craft beers on tap) and the Capital Grille. There are several hotels within the district that are an easy walk via the street or the skyway system to the arena. These include the Embassy Suites and the Hampton Inn and Suites.
Just a few blocks from the Target Center is Nicollet Avenue, the city’s shopping mecca. It has a limited access road, allowing only cabs and busses to use it, making it very pedestrian friendly for shoppers. Nicollet is also home to the iconic statue of Mary Tyler Moore throwing her tam in the area as shown in the opening sequence of the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.” The statue can be found at the corner of Nicollet and Seventh Street.
The Timberwolves are a young and inexperienced team, and their record shows it. Quite honestly the team has experienced attendance problems ever since Kevin Garnett retired. The fans who do attend tend to be older and remember the glory days of the franchise back in the early 2000’s. The Timberwolves also are up against the Minnesota Wild in a state that proclaims itself the State of Hockey and a resurgent Minnesota Vikings football team that plays its games in a state-of-the-art stadium just a few blocks south of the Target Center. It is not unusual to have the Target Center half-full when there is a competing game.
Getting to the Target Center is very easy, whether by car, on foot through the city’s skyway system or the Metro System’s Light Rail System. There are more than 12,000 parking spaces within a five-block radius of the arena. The closest of these are the ABC Ramps which connect directly to the Target Center via skyways. The special event parking rate in these lots is $15. The Spot Hero App can help you locate spaces and pre-reserve a space at other lots in the area at a very discounted rate.
The Target Center is also easy to reach via the Metro Light Rail System. The Warehouse District Station is just a block from the arena. The light rail system is quite extensive, as it links to the Mall of America to the south and to St. Paul and the Excel Energy Center to the east. A 24-hour fare on the Metro costs $6.50 for unlimited rides.
The Minneapolis Skyway System is another way to connect to the Target Center. It is the largest contiguous system of enclosed second level bridges in the world at 9.5 miles. This connectivity allows you to avoid the Twin Cities brutal winters while walking in a heated, dry environment.
Return on Investment 3
Ticket prices at the Target Center are typically available in the $20 range and up. These prices escalate quickly when the Lakers, the Celtics or the Warriors are the opposing team. Parking near the arena averages $15 or more, but you can save a great deal by using the Spot Hero App and prepay for your parking space. Depending on where you are staying, either the Metro Light Rail System or taking the skyway system from your downtown hotel can save you even more money.
One extra must go to the Target Center for its green roof and water conservation efforts.
Thirty-five members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have performed at the Target Center
The Target Center also serves as the home court of the four-time WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx.
The arena has been used for a variety of major sports events, including the US and World Figure Skating Championships, Davis Cup tennis, the 1994 NBA All Star Game and the 2004 NBA Western Division Finals.
A statue of George Mikan, the original “Mr. Basketball” in the NBA is in the lobby of the Target Center. Mikan played for the Minneapolis Lakers, the Twin City’s first NBA franchise, before it moved to Los Angeles.
The recent renovations at the Target Center have vastly improved the fan experience for the Timberwolves faithful. New gathering areas, opening the building to more outside light and the improved electronic package in the seating bowl area are major improvements. The key for improving the attendance at the Target Center is putting a winning product on the court.