Reality Check: The Vikes Stadium & Personal Seat Licenses

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings say they haven’t decided to charge fans extra for the privilege of buying a ticket.

They’re only asking the question in a survey to season ticket holders.

But for many NFL teams, it’s a huge source of revenue.

Eight of the last 20 NFL stadiums were paid for, in part, by personal seat licenses (PSL).

In fact, the Dallas Cowboys charge up to $150,000 for one. The New York Jets, up to $30,000. The Giants, $20,000.

There’s no comparable number for a market the size of Minnesota, but an average PSL might cost about $1,300.

The 15 current NFL teams selling PSLs averaged 48,200 PSLs last season, according to an industry group.

An amount that averaged about 69 percent of stadium capacity, including a high of 56,314 PSLs sold by the Dallas Cowboys, to a low of 8,356 sold by the Seattle Seahawks.

What you need to know:

The Vikings stadium bill does allow PSLs, which are called in statute a “Stadium Builder’s License.”

Here’s the exact language:

“Subd. 14. Stadium builder’s licenses. The authority shall own and retain the exclusive right to sell stadium builder’s licenses in the stadium. The authority will retain the NFL team to act as the authority’s agent in marketing and selling such licenses.”

They must be approved first by the Stadium Commission, which would sell the licenses. But the Vikes can keep all the PSL money, and apply it to stadium construction.

Here’s the exact language:.

“Subd. 2. NFL team/private contribution; timing of expenditures. (a) The NFL team/private contribution, including stadium builder license proceeds, for stadium costs must be made in cash in the amount of at least $477,000,000.”

What’s got Gov. Mark Dayton seeing purple is that there’s no legal limit on the number of PSLs, or the price.

But that’s not the whole story:

PSLs would generate only a small part of the Vikings $477 million stadium share.

The Vikes also own naming rights, which could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And the NFL will loan the Vikes up to $200 million more — money paid back through stadium revenues.

Meanwhile, the value of the Vikings franchise rose dramatically in the last year. From 2011 to 2012, a year in which the Vikings stadium was approved, the team’s value rose 22 percent, to $975 million.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

MN Vikings Stadium Law

Recent NFL Stadium Financing

Vikings Post on Possible Stadium Financing Methods

NFL Stadiums With Most Expensive Naming rights

Dallas Cowboys PSLs

New York Jets PSL

New York Giants PSL

PSL Rank by Team

NFL Team Valuations

Vikes Consider Seat License

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