The Free Press, Mankato, MN


September 26, 2013

Our View:

Why It Matters: One key issue left on the Vikings stadium deal is how much the team can charge season ticket holders for the right to buy their tickets.


PSLs are common with new stadiums; it’s a one-time fee over and above the cost of the tickets themselves and generally gives the holder ownership of the seats. The Twins sold personal seat licenses for the Legends Club seating area in Target Field in the range of $1,000 to $2,000 a pop.

Dayton, perhaps stinging from the failure of the e-pulltabs, this month urged the commission to limit the money to be raised through personal seat licenses. He wrote that the Wilfs should “provide a significant share of their financial contribution from their own resources, and not from Vikings fans through the sale of expensive personal seat licenses.”

The stadium legislation expressly permits PSLs (and the naming rights). The issue is how much the Vikings will be allowed to charge. The Dallas Cowboys set its PSLs at $100,000 and $150,000; the San Francisco 49ers’ licenses topped out at $80,000. The Vikings reportedly did a study on a $30,000 fee; what that revealed isn’t publicly known.

Our take on this is that the market will solve it. If the Wilfs charge too much for the seat licenses, they won’t sell enough, and they’ll have to come up with the funds themselves. And if enough fans are willing to shell out the cash, there’s no real problem. PSLs are in effect a true user fee. Those who don’t go to the games aren’t paying it.

The governor may now regret the stadium bill he helped push through the Legislature. But his regrets, if any, should be about the failed public financing plan, not which revenue stream the private money comes from.

Other view on this topic:

“I strongly urge you to negotiate a final financial agreement, which requires the Vikings’ owners to provide a significant share of their financial contribution from their own resources, and not from Vikings’ fans through the sale of expensive personal seat licenses (a.k.a. “stadium builder’s licenses”)

“Your financial assessment reportedly shows that the Vikings’ owners could finance their share of the stadium’s costs with little or no revenues from stadium builder’s licenses. Therefore, I strongly urge you to keep those prices at an absolute minimum. I have always said that this building should be a “People’s Stadium.” Excessive personal seat license fees conflict with that goal.”

— Gov. Mark Dayton in letter to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

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