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Reality Check: Are Personal Seat Licenses A Risky Investment?

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – In the Minnesota Vikings’ new 65,000 seat NFL stadium, the club will charge 48,000 fans a one-time personal seat license fee even before they’re allowed to buy a season ticket.

Fans may have sticker shock at the price tag, but PSLs are not uncommon. And be careful if you are thinking about it as an “investment.”

Seventeen NFL teams sell some form of Personal Seat License, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars for stadium construction.

They sell for as much as $150,000 per seat in Dallas, and $80,000 in San Fransisco.

Eighty percent of the Vikings’ PSLs will cost $3,000 or less, but the highest priced seat license will be $10,000 — that’s fifth highest in the NFL.

That’s too much for one family, which has owned two season tickets since the Vikings came to Minnesota in 1961.

“We cannot pay for a seat license, and more importantly, won’t,” Ann Faulds said. “They’ll offer us a loan, but I’m not going to take out a loan to go to the Vikings game, when I need to take out a loan to pay for my kid’s college.”

The Vikings are offering PSL buyers three-year interest free loans.

The club said it’s worth it because fans will have a better game day experience than they do now.

“There’s obviously an investment we see from the fan base to get involved,” said Vikings executive Steve LaCroix. “And we think it’s fair how we’re going to structure it.”

But as an investment, PSLs are often risky.

Forbes Magazine found Jets fans who tried to sell theirs lost an average of $3,233 per seat in 2012. Giants fans lost $189. Cowboys fans lost an average of $2,390.

But it’s not always that way. Pittsburgh Steelers fans who bought PSLs for $250 in 2001 were selling them 10 years later for $4,306, according to PSL Source, a website that processes PSL sales. That’s an increase of 1,622 percent.

Ravens PSLs also shot up 243 percent, and Bears licenses increased 131 percent, according to the website.

NFL fans in other cities who bought lower priced PSLs were able to sell them more easily for higher prices later.

And a study by one PSL website said the best places in a stadium to buy a seat license is in the lower bowl, in the end zone corners.

Those are the ones that tend to have the greatest increase in value.

Reality Check Sources:

MN Sports Facilities Authority Development and Use Agreement for New Vikings Stadium

Minnesota Vikings Official Site: New Stadium

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: PSLs at Heinz Field

San Jose Mercury News: PSLs at San Fransisco 49ers Stadium

Current PSL Sales on eBay

Forbes Magazine: PSLs are Risky Investment

PSL Source

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