Despite governor's objections, Vikings stadium legislation allows PSLs
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Apparently, Gov. Mark Dayton didn't read the fine print.
In a letter to Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf on Tuesday, Dayton expressed concerns over the team's decision to play at least one home game in London while its new stadium is built and exploration of personal seat licenses (PSLs) to help fund the team's portion of the $1 billion project.
"The project's strong support came from many regular Minnesotans, not just rich Minnesotans, because they believed the Vikings are also their team," Dayton wrote. "If a new stadium were to betray that trust, it would be better that it not be built."
Neither plan was a secret, though. The Vikings had long expressed a desire to play home games in London during their roughly two-year stay in TCF Bank Stadium after the Metrodome is torn down, and they regularly included PSLs in breakdowns of their potential funding mechanisms.
In fact, both matters are referenced in the stadium legislation Dayton already signed into law.
On PSLs -- called Stadium Builders Licenses (SBLs) here -- there are two references that make clear the Vikings are permitted to market and sell the licenses on behalf of the newly created stadium authority:
• Subd. 2 - NFL Team/Private Contribution; timing of expenditures - (a) The NFL team/private contribution, including stadium builder's license proceeds, for stadium costs must be made in cash in the amount of $477,000,000.
• Subd. 14 - Stadium Builder's Licenses. - The authority shall own and retain the exclusive right to sell stadium builder's licenses in the stadium. The authority will retain the NFL team to act as the authority's agent in marketing and selling such licenses.
On international games, the bill states:
• The NFL team must agree to play all preseason, regular season and postseason home games at the stadium. However, the team may play up to three home games outside the United States during the first 15 years of the lease or use agreement and up to three home games in the next 15 years of the lease or use agreement.
According to Dayton's letter, the Vikings initially balked at counting their September 2013 game against Pittsburgh in London as one of those three games but have since relented.
The timing of Dayton's letter likely is related to the survey the Vikings sent out to season-ticket holders last week, much of it focused on PSLs, which was met unfavorably by some fans.
If Dayton truly didn't know the Vikings intended to pursue seat licenses as a funding mechanism, though, he has no one to blame but himself.
Construction is scheduled to begin next spring or summer, with the stadium to open in time for the 2016 season.