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Minnesota Vikings Move Closer To New Stadium

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By Joseph Gunther

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:  Minnesota fans cheer on their team during the NFL International Series game between Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium on September 29, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Minnesota fans cheer on their team during the NFL International Series game between Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium (Credit, Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

The Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) agreed to terms of two key documents as the plans for a new stadium are discussed.

“Finalizing these documents is a significant milestone for the stadium project,” said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. “Their completion brings us that much closer to stadium groundbreaking this fall and the 2016 opening of the fans’ new home for Vikings football. More importantly, we can now put thousands of Minnesotans back to work building what will be a significant asset for the State of Minnesota.”

Arguably the most important part of the two documents for the Vikings is the Stadium Builder’s License (SBL). The money generated from the SBL will go toward the cost of the new stadium and will consist of zoned pricing levels.

The Vikings Official Website lists six benefits of an SBL for a season ticket owner:

  • Guarantee that a season ticket owner will own his/her seats for as long as he/she continues to purchase season tickets
  • Ability to hold, transfer or sell SBL as fan sees fit after first year
  • Opportunity to purchase playoff tickets with single-game prices
  • Opportunity to purchase individual game tickets before the general public, and in some cases other event tickets
  • Some SBL locations will also offer the right of first refusal to purchase tickets to other select events in the facility

The new Vikings stadium will become the 17th stadium (homes to 18 teams) to use an SBL program as a means of funding. The Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and the New York teams (Jets and Giants) use SBLs as a significant portion of stadium funding.

The SBL concept has been met with strong opposition, including that of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

“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,” he wrote in a letter to MSFA chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen in mid-September.

Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley responded by saying that the “licenses were discussed during the legislative process, they were anticipated and authorized by the legislation.”

The Cowboys, 49ers, Jets and Giants all received between $325 million and $514 million dollars.

“I would certainly suggest that it’s not the Dallas or the New York or the San Francisco model, which has very expensive seat licenses for almost all the folks in the stadium,” Kelm-Helgen said.

She also added “there’s many different issues being negotiated.”

According to the Vikings website, the SBL program will raise up to $125 million toward the new stadium. It also says that SBL products and pricing are expected to be discussed after this season.

For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.

Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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