SBD/November 12, 2012/Facilities

Vikings' Survey Explores Personal Seat License Fees To Help Fund New Stadium

The Vikings owe $477M toward the construction of the new stadium
Vikings officials “recently e-mailed surveys to season-ticket holders to gauge their willingness to pay thousands of dollars more for a personal seat license or ‘stadium builders license’ to secure the right to the best seats,” according to a front-page piece by Richard Meryhew of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Revenues generated by the licenses “would go toward the Vikings' share” of the $975M construction cost for the team’s new downtown stadium. Although the Vikings “say no decision has been made, some fans are already upset.” Minnesota and Minneapolis are “contributing $498 million to stadium construction, with the Vikings picking up the remainder, to be financed through an NFL loan, stadium naming rights, other sponsorships and possibly, seat licensing fees.” Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said that the team's survey is “part of a ‘broader market study’ involving stadium amenities and products” and was “sent to season-ticket holders, sponsors and fans who bought premium or club seats or suites in an attempt to evaluate the market." Bagley added that the Vikings “have made ‘no decision’ on whether to sell licenses and have established no ‘price points’ on license costs.” But with $477M owed, Bagley said that the team is “looking at ‘all avenues’ for construction financing.” Meryhew noted at the time the Vikings stadium legislation was “debated last winter and spring, team officials discussed seat licensing, but did not commit to it.” Bagley said that as of Friday, the team's ticket office had “received little direct feedback from season-ticket holders.” He said that the “fees, if charged, would likely be substantially less than those set for some other NFL stadiums.” Bagley: "You can't look at Dallas and San Francisco and think this market generates anything near that. This is a small, Midwestern market” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/11).

NAME GAME: In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports the Vikings have “hired Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment as the sales and marketing agency” for the new stadium, which is scheduled to open in ‘16. The project is the “first naming-rights assignment for Van Wagner.” In addition to naming rights, Van Wagner “will be developing a revenue plan for the stadium.” Neither Vikings VP/Sales & Marketing and CMO Steve LaCroix nor Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment Exec VP Jeff Knapple would “comment on pricing for the naming rights.” However, a source said that the “asking price was $10 million to $12 million a year over a 25-year term” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/12 issue).
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