Minnesota Vikings fans would pay an average of $2,500 for the right to buy a season ticket at the new stadium under agreements approved Thursday by the public authority overseeing stadium construction.
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority voted 4-0 to approve the 30-year lease and financing agreements between the authority and the team. Authority member John Griffith was absent.
The deals have been the subject of negotiations for weeks and were wrapped up shortly before the meeting.
The agreements make concrete the general terms included in the stadium bill passed by the Legislature in 2012. As part of the deals’ being finalized, the Vikings released more detail on their side of the financing, including the revelation that the Wilf family intends to contribute $100 million from personal funds toward the stadium.
The highest-profile of the issues resolved was the amount and scope of "personal seat license" fees.
Under the agreement, those one-time fees would be charged on 75 percent of the seats in the stadium -- 48,750 out of 65,000. The highest-priced license would be $10,000 and the lowest would be less than $1,000, including some at $500. Eighty percent would cost less than $3,000.
Total seat-license revenue going toward stadium construction would be $100 million. An additional $25 million would be used for sales costs and to offer fans the option of financing their license over three years interest-free. An additional five years of financing would be available, but with interest.
The team would make up any shortage if they can’t sell $100 million worth of licenses, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the authority.
The seat-license question has been a focus of public debate, with Gov. Mark Dayton and others urging team owners to keep the fees low.
Dayton said Thursday after seeing the deal that he’d prefer no money was charged for seat licenses but that he recognized they were part of putting together a deal for an NFL stadium. "We had to make a deal," he said.
Dayton praised the stadium authority for getting seat-license revenue down from the Vikings’ preference of $154 million. Vikings officials said later that according to their research, they might have been able to sell $200 million worth of seat licenses.
The $100 million from seat licenses goes toward the Vikings’ total contribution of $477 million on the $975 million project. The state is kicking in $348 million and the city of Minneapolis $150 million.
Vikings finance chief Steve Poppen said the team actually will have to put together about $550 million to make the $477 million contribution.
The NFL is providing $200 million in loans, Poppen said, the last $50 million of which is contingent on the team providing $100 million in either seat-license revenue or other resources such as an owner contribution.
The team is securing a $250 million loan, $100 million of which is backed by the seat-license revenue. The remaining $100 million is coming directly out of the Wilfs’ pockets, Poppen said.
The Vikings retain the revenues from naming rights. Estimates for naming rights have ranged from $4.5 million to $7.5 million per year, or $135 million to $225 million over 30 years.
Team officials said Thursday they are considering a variety of potential naming-rights partners.
The agreements divides revenues between the authority and team in the following way.
The authority gets:
- $8.5 million in rent per year from the team, with a 3 percent annual inflation increase.
- $1.5 million per year from the team for capital improvements, increasing 3 percent a year.
- Revenue from advertising, rental of club/event spaces, concessions at authority events.
- Revenue from groups touring the stadium.
- Vikings pay all game-day expenses.