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Dayton, Vikings Tussle Over Stadium Seat Fees

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(credit: CBS) Edgar Linares
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Mark Dayton is fired up after hearing the Minnesota Vikings are considering seat licensing fees to help pay their portion of the new stadium.

“Basically what they do is they put a price on a seat and you have to pay just to obtain the seat and that doesn’t include the season ticket cost,” explained Andrew Baydala a Minneapolis TicketKing employee.

After hearing the Vikings are considering a personal seat license (PSL) fee, Dayton sent a scathing letter to Vikings ownership. The letter said the “private contribution is your responsibility” not theirs, referring to fans.

“I said this new stadium would be a ‘People’s Stadium’, not a ‘Rich People’s’ stadium,” said Dayton.

Baydala says when he lived in New York City, he paid a PSL fee when he was a season ticket holder for the Jets. The cost for his seat was $2,500 and it went up to $15,000 just to get the seat.

“They’ve really taken the family aspect out of the game,” said Baydala. “It’s more or less like entertainment for people with a lot of money.”

Republican State Senator Julie Rosen of Fairmont co-authored the Vikings Stadium bill.

“It’s always been part of the legislation, it has been from the start,” said Rosen “It was aired in the committee hearings, so it’s always been on the table.”

Rosen hopes everybody could take a step back, because the Vikings have not said whether they’ll do it or not.
The bill includes language with the words “stadium builder’s licenses.” This week, the Vikings sent out a survey to season ticket holders about the possibility of PSLs.

“They have every option to the do (PSLs) because that’s how the language was intended,” said Rosen. “They don’t want to discourage their fan base. I think they’re going to keep it within in reason if that’s the route they’re going to take.”

A PSL would still need to be approved by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority which is overseeing the stadium build. Dayton said in his letter he will urge the board not proceed with a PSL.

“The project’s strong support came from many regular Minnesotans, not just rich Minnesotans,” said Dayton. “If a new stadium were to betray that trust, it would be better that it not be built.”

Minnesota Vikings Statement

The Minnesota Vikings greatly appreciate Governor Mark Dayton’s support for the new multi-purpose stadium for the Vikings and the State of Minnesota. However, we are disappointed by his recent letter to the team, which does not recognize a key component of the stadium agreement struck by the Vikings, State and Local leaders this past spring.

The stadium bill, and the prior term sheet, that was negotiated with the Vikings over the last two legislative sessions by the Governor’s own representatives and legislative leaders, includes provisions that expressly authorize the sale of stadium builder’s licenses and include the proceeds of any sale in the project budget. Stadium builder’s licenses were vetted by the Legislature, testified to by Vikings and State of Minnesota negotiators, and most importantly, specifically reflected in the stadium legislation that was passed and signed by the Governor.

The Vikings look forward to discussing this issue and moving forward with the agreement that was completed after many long years of effort.

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