The Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority on Thursday approved an agreement that will see a one-time PSL fee assessed on 75% of the seats at the team's new 65,000-seat stadium, "charging season-ticket holders anywhere from $500 to $10,000" depending on the location, according to a front-page piece by Richard Meryhew of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The remainder of the seats, "including some held by season-ticket holders, would not carry such fees." The deal came as part of the stadium lease and development agreements passed by the MSFA, and the agreements "commit the Vikings to downtown Minneapolis for the next 30 years while spelling out details of how the team and the authority will split stadium operating costs and revenues." About 80% of the seats where fees apply "will be charged $3,000 or less" and seat owners "have up to three years to pay the fee without interest." The fees are "projected to generate" $100M of the $477M the Vikings are expected to pay for construction, with the state and the city of Minneapolis "picking up the rest." PSL fees have been used by 17 of the NFL's 32 franchises. The MSFA's approval of the agreements "paves the way for construction to begin this fall." MSFA Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said that groundbreaking is "planned for mid-November." The lease agreement "calls for the team to rent space for 30 years with an option to renew for up to an additional 20 years." The Vikings will pay the authority $8.5M annually in rent and $1.5M annually for "capital improvements." They also will "pay all gameday expenses" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/4).
WHO GETS WHAT? In St. Paul, Doug Belden in a front-page piece reports the Vikings under the deal "retain the revenues from naming rights." Estimates for naming rights "have ranged" from $4.5-7.5M per year, or $135-225M over 30 years. Team officials on Thursday said that they are "considering a variety of potential naming-rights partners." Under the deal, the authority gets revenue "from advertising, rental of club/event spaces, concessions at authority events," and revenue "from groups touring the stadium." The Vikings get revenue "from naming rights for the stadium and plaza," plus concessions and ticket sales for team events. They also get advertising and sponsorship revenue. Communications revenue from WiFi and data systems "will be split with the team." Kelm-Helgen said that in total, the authority will get roughly $1M per home game "under the rent and capital contribution agreements," which represents about 70% of the operating costs. She added that the authority at the Metrodome "clears about $600,000 per game from its share of revenues" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 10/4).
FANS NOT REAL HAPPY: KMSP-Fox's Bill Keller reported he has "yet to really meet a season-ticket holder that likes the idea of having to pay this hefty one-time just for that privilege of paying for their seats." The Wilf family, which owns the Vikings, has to come up with $100M, and the decision to implement PSLs is "not as bad as it could have been -- the team was asking for more than $150 million." Keller: "But there are certainly a lot of hard decisions that some season-ticket holders will have to now make." Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton previously had indicated that a $1 PSL is "one dollar too much." But Keller reported Dayton "concedes it's how business is done these days in the NFL" and that "it is far less than (what) other teams are charging" (KMSP-Fox, 10/3).
The Seahawks are "considering adding 2,000 to 3,000 seats to CenturyLink Field before next season to bring the capacity of the '12th Man' to roughly 70,000 fans," according to a source cited by Mike Garafalo of FOXSPORTS.com. The source said that the addition would "be in the south end zone, where the '12th Man' flag is raised before each game." There currently is a "break in the seating on the 300 level behind the flag that would be filled in." One of the proposals is for the seats "to be metal bleachers, like those already in place in the 'Hawks' Nest' on the opposite end of the stadium." Fans in that end zone "stomp on the bleachers to create more noise, particularly when the opposing team is backed up near its own goal line." The Seahawks' "Blue Pride" season-ticket waiting list "is 12,000 people long" (FOXSPORTS.com, 10/3). In Seattle, Bob Condotta notes the Seahawks' media guide "lists capacity at 67,000 fixed seats -- 21st of 32 NFL teams," but attendance is "routinely higher -- a crowd of 68,338 attended" 49ers-Seahawks on Sept. 15. Adding seats has "always been considered an option -- the team’s media guide notes that the number of fixed seats could be expanded to 72,000" (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/4).
Stanford Univ. on Thursday "unveiled the football team's sparkling new" football facility, which has "everything from a new locker room to coaches' offices to lounges for players past and present," according to Antonio Gonzalezof the AP. The new $21M addition of the Arrillaga Family Sports Center also will "provide services to other teams." Stanford Associate AD/Dir of Football Operations Matt Doyle said that he "toured about 50 other major collegiate facilities for ideas." One of the "unique aspects of Stanford's 27,000-square foot addition features: 110 lockers for current players as well as a secondary locker area where Stanford's NFL and other former athletes can return in the offseason." Football coach David Shaw said that he "wanted the team's new home to feel like a Hall of Fame honoring the past and to remind everybody who enters the facility to see 'how we got here.'" There also is the Andrew Luck Auditorium, a 136-person "theatre-style meeting room named after" the Stanford alum and Colts QB. Doyle said that Luck "made a donation to the project but did not ask for any recognition." He added that the auditorium's name was "given after a private donation from someone else." The locker room is "bordered by an equipment room, study lounge ... and player lounge paying tribute to Stanford's current NFL players." Located above the locker room are "offices for coaches and support staff, reception lounges, three conference and staff rooms and eight team meeting rooms." Meanwhile, the bottom level has an "expanded weight room and an athletic training center that includes work room for the program's concussion study program, treatment centers and whirlpools." Renovations will "continue in the building, including for the weight room and other programs and administrative areas, over the next six months or so" (AP, 10/3).
DEVIL IN THE DETAILS: Arizona State Univ. on Thursday announced that it will "demolish the north end zone upper deck at Sun Devil Stadium following the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in late December." FOX SPORTS ARIZONA reported the project is "not tied to ASU's greater Sun Devil Stadium renovation plans, which still have no set timetable." The demolition of the upper-level seating, which includes sections 220-228, "will reduce the stadium's capacity by approximately 5,700 seats, from 71,706 to roughly 66,000" (FOXSPORTSARIZONA.com, 10/3).
FIT FOR A QUEEN: Univ. of Cincinnati AD Whit Babcock on Thursday said that proposed additions to the school's Nippert Stadium "are a step closer to reality following the release of new renderings and floor plans" for the expansion. In Cincinnati, Tom Groeschen noted the renovation "focuses on both the east and west side of the stadium and will increase the stadium’s capacity to approximately 40,000." On the west side, a new press box structure "will be built, adding suites, scholarship club seats and loge boxes/patio suites." The west concourse also will be "renovated, including concession stands and restrooms." Changes on the east side feature "expanded concessions and restroom offerings, including the building of skywalks to connect the upper deck with the gameday plaza on O’Varsity Way" (CINCINNATI.com, 10/3).