Vikings Defend Their Right to Seat Licenses in Reply to Governor

Gov. Mark Dayton wrote a stern letter Tuesday to the owners of the Vikings threatening to undo the stadium deal if they pass on the cost of building the $975 million project to the fans, Richard Meryhew and Baird Helgeson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“The project’s strong support came from many regular Minnesotans, not just rich Minnesotans, because they believed the Vikings are also their team,” Dayton wrote. “If a new stadium were to betray that trust, it would be better that it not be built.”

Dayton sent the letter to Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf.

The letter comes less than a week after the team sent out an e-mail survey to season ticket holders to gauge their willingness to pay thousands of dollars more for personal seat licenses or “stadium builder’s licenses” to secure the best seats. The fee, most likely a one-time payment if imposed, would be on top of the annual cost of season tickets.

The stadium financing legislation approved last spring stipulates that revenue generated from the seat licenses would go toward the Vikings’ share of the construction cost. The state and city of Minneapolis are contributing $498 million to stadium construction, with the team picking up the remainder through an NFL loan, stadium naming rights, sponsorships and possibly, licensing fees.

The Vikings firmly defended their right to proceed with seat licenses fees, or so-called builder’s licenses.

The stadium agreement “expressly authorize the sale of stadium builder’s licenses and include the proceeds of any sale in the project budget,” the team said in a statement. “Stadium builder’s licenses were vetted by the Legislature, testified to by Vikings and state of Minnesota negotiators, and most importantly, specifically reflected in the stadium legislation that was passed and signed by the governor.”

“I strongly oppose shifting any part of the team’s responsibility for those costs onto Minnesota Vikings fans,” Dayton wrote in his letter to the Wilfs. “This Private Contribution is your responsibility. Not theirs. I said this new stadium would be a ‘People’s Stadium,’ not a ‘Rich People’s Stadium.’ I meant it then, and I mean it now.”

The stadium legislation gives the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is working with the team to oversee development of the project, the right to own and sell the seat licenses, although the revenue then goes to the Vikings construction costs. “Reportedly the purpose for this arrangement is to shield revenue from taxes,” Dayton wrote in the letter dated Nov. 13. “If true, I deplore it.

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3 Responses to “Vikings Defend Their Right to Seat Licenses in Reply to Governor”

  1. purplereign57 says:

    I live in North Carolina, and yes, while I am a Panthers fan, I am also a Vikings fanatic. I bleed purple. When the Panthers came into being, the ownership sold bunches of personal seat licenses for thousands of dollars. Fans got their luxury boxes, and the best seats in the stadium, and there wasn’t any outcry at all. I don’t know how the fans feel up in Minnesota, but I’m sure that they would be willing to pay a little more to help the Vikings get their new stadium built. I know I would if I lived up there and was lucky enough to hold a personal seat license. However, I vehemently believe that the Wilfs are plenty rich enough to shell out some more millions to do their part to get the stadium built as well. I’ll put it to you this way…if I were the Wilfs, I would spend the money. That is, if they love their team like they say that they do, and want them to stay in Minnesota. I, as a die-hard fan of the Vikings, want NOTHING MORE than for them to stay in Minnesota where they belong. Truthfully, I should’ve seen something like this coming. As the saying goes, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. I REALLY, REALLY hope that the Wilfs can work with the other committees and politicians of Minnesota, and get this worked out. Hell, I thought that there was certainly going to be a new stadium built. Now, it really looks like there might be something MAJOR standing in it’s way.

  2. 4eversteve says:

    The Bears will more than likely blitz the living day lights out of Ponder, knowing he doesn’t handle pressure well at this point in his career, Hopefully the Vikings work on blitz pick-up package with the O-line RB’s and TE’s when they return to practice, so we don’t have a repeat performance of what we witness in the Tampa Bay game.I had stated a few days before the TB game , that if teams blitz Ponder he will make bad throws, the reason being he tends to throw off the wrong foot while on the run causing the football to sail like a wounded duck in the air. Ponder needs to learn if flushed from the pocket, run to a spot set his feet and rip it if the receiver is open or just dump it out bounds to eliminate some his turnovers in the form of int’s.

    • purplereign57 says:

      Good observations 4eversteve. I agree with them. I always knew that Ponder had some core defects wrong with his delivery. He needs to correct them or the Vikings will continue to need a franchise quarterback. I also agree that there needs to be some hard work done all the way around on both sides of the ball or the Bears are going to absolutely maul us.

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