Vikings stadium: Dayton says deal needs more Wilf money

  1. Listen MPR’s Tim Nelson discusses seat licenses

    Sept. 17, 2013

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, left, and Gov. Mark Dayton, right, shake hands after a news conference in January 2012. (MPR File Photo/Jennifer Simonson)

Just days after the tussle over the Wilf’s legal troubles in New Jersey settled, Gov. Mark Dayton is calling for the deal to include a more significant share from the Vikings owners’ personal resources.

In a letter to Minnesota Sports Facilities chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen, Dayton cites MPR News analysis of the deal in calling for less reliance on charging fans for personal seat licenses.

“While the legislation allows stadium builders licenses to be a component of the team’s financing, those revenues were not intended to replace the need for the team’s owners to make a significant equity or capital contribution.”

Dayton even suggests that the stadium builders licenses — another name for personal seat licenses (PSL) — might even be zero, which could force the team to put up more than $150 million of their own money, if their seat license deal is comparable to other recent deals by NFL teams.

Under the terms of the stadium law approved last year, the MSFA and Vikings have to agree on seat licenses and their prices as part of the final deal. The Vikings have not revealed how much they want to charge for seat licenses, or how many seats in the new stadium will be licensed.

“I have always said that this building should be a ‘People’s Stadium,’” Dayton wrote today. “Excessive personal seat license fees conflict with that goal.”

Here’s the MPR News financial analysis of the stadium deal that Dayton says is one of the reasons he’s calling the PSL into question. 

They are a key element of the Vikings plan to finance their $477 million contribution to the $975 million estimated construction costs. If they cut a deal close to the NFL average, fans would pay about a third of that contribution themselves, potentially before the stadium opens. The licenses are to be sold by the stadium authority, in cooperation with the team.

Team spokesman Lester Bagley said he wouldn’t discuss what the Vikings expect to charge for the licenses.

“Negotiations are ongoing. They’re part of an overall package that’s being negotiated. And I’d rather not get into the specifics, the level or the details of those negotiations, other than they’re part of a larger deal, and our goal is to get to an agreement as soon as possible,” Bagley said.

MSFA chairwoman Michele Kelm Helgen said last Friday that her agency hopes to have a final deal with the Vikings — possibly  including the personal seat license revenue — negotiated as soon as this week and ready for a formal approval by Sept. 27.

That may have the Dayton stepping into the final hours of PSL negotiations between the stadium authority and the Vikings and setting the terms of the deal between the team and its fans for decades to come.

Watch the online presentation about the Viking stadium here:

  • John O.

    Good luck with that one, Governor. The horse is already out of the barn.