MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf should pay a major amount of the team’s share of a new football stadium out of their own pockets rather than using money raised through season ticket prices, Gov. Mark Dayton said in a letter to the government agency overseeing its development on Monday.
Vikings Owners Will Have To Pay An Amount To Share The Stadium
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is finalizing contracts for usage and construction of the $1 billion downtown Minneapolis stadium with Vikings officials. According to a financial study issued by the authorities last week, the Wilfs have enough personal resources to cover the $477 million team share.
As part of the sports stadium finance plan that lawmakers enacted in 2012, the Viking’s square legislation permitted the sale of personal seat licenses, which provide the holder the right to purchase tickets for such seats in any sports stadium for any event, including NFL games. Personal seat licenses are widespread in the NFL and are used to help parties gain new stadiums.
However, in a letter to authority president Michele Kelm-Helgen, Dayton voiced worry over a recent Minnesota Public Radio study that concluded the Wilfs would appear to be able to cover the majority of the $477 million while without disbursing their own money. Instead, they might utilize the seat licenses, the naming rights to the sports facility, and a $200 million NFL donation.
“I highly encourage you to arrange a final monetary agreement that compels the Vikings’ homeowners must pay a major amount of their money from their own resources, rather than from Vikings’ supporters via the sale of pricey personal seat licenses,” Dayton wrote to Kelm-Helgen.
Lester Bagley, a Vikings spokesperson, stated that the value of seat licenses is one of a few issues that remain in the team’s discussions with the authority. “These licenses were addressed throughout the legislative process, they were expected and allowed by law,” Bagley explained.
The remaining $498 million in sports stadium charges will be covered by the state of Minnesota and the town of the urban center square. It’s not the first time Dayton and the Vikings have spat over the issue, with the governor constantly advising the club to keep expenses for such licences as low as possible.
Dayton has been increasingly critical of the Wilfs in recent weeks, particularly when a fresh new Jersey chooses to find them guilty of fraud – a finding that sparked the money review highlighted in the governor’s letter.
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In his letter, Dayton claimed that the sports stadium bill allowed seat licences to be utilised to pay the team. “Those earnings were not meant to change the desire for the team’s property owners to make a large equity or capital commitment,” he wrote.
Dayton further stated that he feels the statute gives the authorities, not the club, the final word on the maximum price for seat licenses. The Vikings’ Bagley did not dispute such a view, but both he and Kelm-Helgen’s aforementioned seat licenses were striving to find a mutually agreeable settlement.
“It’s incredibly difficult to take a stance on this right now since we’re right in the thick of discussions,” stated Kelm-Helgen, a former top advisor to Dayton who was appointed to lead the sports stadium authority.
More than half of NFL teams sell personal seat permits, however, prices vary greatly depending on the market. Kelm-Helgen stated that she believes seat licenses for the new Vikings sports stadium should reflect the fact that the Twin Cities are a smaller market.
The Twins charged $1,000 to $2,000 per year for a small low range of premium seats at Target Field, but the university charges ticket purchasers at TCF Bank sports stadium yearly fees ranging from $100 to $500. The charge is added to the cost of purchasing tickets.
According to Dayton, the Wilfs’ financial evaluation suggests they “could cover their part of the sports stadium’s pricing with very little or no earnings from stadium builder’s licenses.” “As a result,” he said, “I strongly advise you to keep those expenditures to an absolute minimum.” Officials expect to break ground on the new sports stadium in early November and begin using it for the 2016 season.