Everybody just calm down.
That’s the advice from Vikings vice president Lester Bagley today, speaking after the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority meeting at the Metrodome. It was the first joint appearance by the parties directly involved in this week’s personal seat license dispute.
“This is not Dallas. This is not New York. This is not San Francisco,” Bagley said. “A lot of people are jumping the gun as to what they’re thinking we would do in a stadium builder’s license program. We’ve not made a decision, the market has to be surveyed and the market will determine. We’re doing our homework. That’s all we’re doing.”
(You can hear the whole press conference here)
Oddly, though, those high-buck cities were PRECISELY the examples used in the Vikings survey of ticket holders, many of whom reacted with alarm at the prospect of getting a second mortgage to sit in a publicly-owned stadium. Bagley suggested that was merely coincidence, that those markets were the last three to build stadiums. (Which technically isn’t true, since Indy built Lucas Oil after Dallas, and DIDN’T INCLUDE PSLs AT ALL.)
At any rate, Bagely asked that fans wait and see. He said the team was about 10 percent of the way through their market research, being carried out by an independent survey firm. “We’re measuring a number of different products, and seat and suites and clubs. There are a couple of questions on stadium builders licenses. But we are very early in the process. No conclusions have been reached on any prices or any products on the survey.”
He also defended the PSL program, and justified the Vikings raising the issue. He said it shouldn’t have come as any surprise to the governor. “We were very forthright. We were very clear. We were direct in the legislative process… This last session alone we went through 14 committees and testified in every detail in the bill, we worked very closely with the governor’s negotiators.”
MSFA chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen also asked for patience. She said the stadium legislation “is clear, that there will be the ability for the Vikings to come forward with a program that they will discuss with us for stadium seat licenses. And our plan is to work together on this issue to come up with… a program… that hopefully meets the objective of the governor, the mayor, other folks that we’ve heard from, that is in line with the kinds of things that have been done in Minnesota before… At this point, we just need to step back and work together.”