VIDEO: #Vikings Stadium PSL’s, Not a Done Deal Yet

KMSP-TV

Personal Seat Licenses (PSL’s). It was inevitable they would rear their ugly head sooner or later. Although it wasn’t expected it would happen in this dramatic fashion. Earlier this week Governor Mark Dayton sent a letter to the Minnesota Vikings expressing his disappointment in some of their recent actions with regard to games being played in London and in particular the recent survey they sent out to season ticket holders asking for their input on PSL’s and what they would be willing to pay. The Vikings, in response, fired a letter back essentially stating that this shouldn’t have been news to the Governor.

While fans, including those of us at SavedTheVikes.org, don’t want to pay the extra money that PSL’s cost, it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that the Vikings are headed down that track. The Vikings contribution of $477 million towards the new stadium is considerably more than they ever planned to pay. On the night that the stadium bill emerged from conference committee the Legislature demanded another $50 million dollars from the Vikings, stating they would pass the bill regardless of whether they wanted to pay it or not, and if they walked away, it would be on the Vikings that the team left for Los Angeles-Savvy negotiating on the part of the Legislature.

Now, the Vikings could be looking to recoup the increase in their contribution by incorporating PSL’s into ticket sales.

The Vikings reserved the right to generate funds through selling of personal seat licenses. During the stadium drive, Cory Merrifield, founder of SavedTheVikes.org was told numerous times by Vikings officials that PSL’s would be avoided as much as possible. But they never said they wouldn’t charge them. During several House and Senate hearings on the stadium, Vikings VP of Public Affairs and stadium point man Lester Bagley would steer lawmakers away from the conversation regarding PSL’s. That said, language written on page 22 of the stadium bill was signed into law by the Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton.

So was the Governor’s strong reaction realistic given his letter implicates that he would try to change the bill? This has led several fans to believe that Dayton could potentially derail the stadium project, undoing the legislation that fans fought so hard for. But could he really “un-sign a bill that he signed into law?”

On page 22 of the Vikings stadium bill it states that the project could be terminated if the Vikings opted to not pay $50 million needed to get the project started and an infusion of state funds. The way SavedTheVikes.org interprets this is that unless the Vikings don’t put up their down payment, there is no way Governor Dayton can stop the stadium project from moving forward.

But should Dayton really be surprised? Leading up to the final bill, the Governor and his administration was in active working session regarding the Vikings stadium with GOP and DFL legislative leaders that occurred behind closed doors. It was confirmed by chief bill author Rep. Morrie Lanning in a Star Tribune article that in fact PSL’s were discussed during those working sessions that Dayton was present. Perhaps the Governor doesn’t remember, perhaps he feels mislead or perhaps he doesn’t like it and is flexing his political muscle with a new DFL majority entering into the 2013 session. Whatever the case, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to him.

“The governor’s letter [to the Vikings] makes it sound as if he was not aware of this concept, and that should be no surprise to him or anybody,” Lanning added. “The possibility of personal seat licenses were a part of the discussion all the way along.”

As for the fans, we want to take this opportunity to make sure you understand a few things:

  • At this point, the Vikings are not saying they will charge PSL’s
  • All NFL stadiums built in the last ten years have had PSL’s associated with season tickets
  • Target Field and TCF Bank have some sort of PSL component
  • PSL’s are a one-time charge, not an annual fee
  • The Vikings could opt to put PSL’s in particular areas like corporate suites, club levels or the lower ring of the stadium meaning not all fans would be subject to paying them
  • Regardless of whether or not PSL’s are incofporated, be prepared to see the cost of your season tickets increase, substantially

Getting a new stadium is like getting a new house. If you want all the bells and whistles, you’re going to have to pay for it. But how much could you end up paying?

Information that we have seen suggest that the Minneapolis/St. Paul market place could only support $75-$100 million in PSL’s and that they are not as strong a play here as they are in major markets like Los Angeles, New York or Dallas.

Just to give you an idea of what the PSL cost could be and how it could be structured:

  • 30 corporate suites x $1 million per suite = $30 million
  • 25,000 season ticket holders x $1,800 per seat =$45 million
  • Total PSL’s raised = $75 million ( or total PSL cost per seat of $2,800 = $100 million raised)
  • Estimated cost of PSL’s for average season ticket holder = $3,600-$5,600 (Projected worst case secenario)

While that is a lot of money for most people to put up at one time, some PSL’s give owners the first right of refusal for all other events that occur at the venue. Think about all of the other concerts, the Final Four, Super Bowl, etc. that will be coming to the new stadium which creates a secondary market for season ticket holders to sell tickets and recoup costs. The hardest part being, that not all of us can afford to put that amount of money up at once. We’re still in a recession, after all.

Merrifield took to MyFox9 to discuss his POV with former KTWN morning show host and frequent SaveTheVikes.org supporter, Tony Fly. Give it a peep!



About the Author

Founder and author of SavetheVikes.org. Born and raised in MN, Cory has been a lifelong Vikings fan. Season ticket holder, stop by and see him in section 218! cory.merrifield@savethevikes.org