Vikings get NFL loan, but financing questions over personal seat licenses remain

This HKS Architects rendering shows one “operable feature” that a new stadium might include.

The NFL came through with the loan they promised the Vikings to finance for their $477 million share of a new stadium has won the official stamp of approval from NFL owners meeting in Arizona, according to 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

It’s no surprise. The Vikings have been talking about the $200 million loan for two years.

The debt service comes from what’s called the “visiting team share” of premium seating. Under NFL rules, the home and visiting teams for each game split ticket-related revenue 60 percent-40 percent. The League’s financing program pledges the visiting team’s share of just premium seat fees to service the league’s stadium loan.

Since the Metrodome has suites, but no “club” seats, that revenue source hasn’t really been available in any large amount to either the Vikings or visiting teams — at least compared to other stadiums. And it requires a new or substantially rebuilt stadium. (You can read about the NFL’s television contract and “G4″ financing over at footballphds.com.)

The Vikings consider the NFL loan part of the $477 “private” share of stadium financing, although the ultimate private source of the revenue will be ticket holders, and not the Vikings.

That leaves $277 million to left to account for.

First will be naming rights. It isn’t clear who will pay or how much, but under the stadium law, the proceeds fall on the Vikings side of the ledger. Experts think the deal may be similar to the Target Field agreement. The Twins and Target haven’t disclosed the dollar figures, but Bloomberg Businessweek recently estimated the deal to be worth about $125 million over 25 years.

And then there’s the REAL mystery: how much of that $277 million in other Vikings contributions will be coming from ticket holders in the form of personal seat licenses? And how mad might it make fans and the governor? Back in 2011, the Vikings CFO Steve Poppen floated a $50 million figureRamsey County penciled in $125 million worth of them in its stadium financing plan.

The Vikings insist the licenses will be part of the People’s Stadium plan, but we still don’t know how many seats will be licensed and what the price structure will look like.