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Doug Belden / St. Paul Pioneer Press, Published February 07 2014

Vikings stadium seat licenses range from $9,500 to $500

ST. PAUL – Want a season ticket on the 50-yard line right behind the Minnesota Vikings’ bench at the new stadium opening in 2016? You’ll have to plunk down $9,500 for a “personal seat license” first, then $400 per game for 10 home games.

The team unveiled pricing details Friday that were largely in line with the parameters they announced in October.

The new stadium will have 65,400 seats, about 3,400 of which are inside suites and thus handled separately.

Of the 62,000 remaining seats, roughly 50,000 require the one-time purchase of a seat license – which the team refers to as a “stadium builder’s license,” or SBL – in order to buy a season ticket for that seat.

Fans have objected to paying a fee on top of paying for seats, particularly when about half the stadium cost is being paid with public money.

But team officials say the Vikings are the 18th NFL team to use seat licenses for a stadium. At $125 million, the Minnesota program falls in the middle of the pack using inflation-adjusted numbers.

“It’s just the reality of building a new stadium in today’s times, and the cost to do so. And again, we wanted to make sure that the amenities for the fan and that fan experience was much more robust than what they’ve had for 32 years at the (Metrodome),” said Steve LaCroix, vice president of sales and marketing for the Vikings.

The license fees range from $9,500 for the $400 seats – which come with access to a field-level club attached to the team’s locker room – to $500 for the $50 seats way up high.

Even higher up, behind the $50 seats, are 12,000 or so seats that can be purchased without buying a seat license. The team hasn’t assigned a price for those yet, and they won’t go on sale till 2016.

That means that, not counting the suites, about 80 percent of the seats in the new stadium will require a license to buy.

The best are the roughly 8,000 seats in the four clubs: Field Club ($9,500 license, $400 ticket); Valhalla Club ($7,000, $350); Vikings Club ($4,500, $300); and Fire + Ice Club ($3,500, $200). The clubs are all on the 50-yard line, with the price rising the closer you are to the Vikings’ bench and to the field.

One premium seating area that’s not a club is called the “Ultimate Fan Zone.” Directly behind the end zone, it’s intended to be similar to the Hawk’s Nest in Seattle or Dawg Pound in Cleveland. Tickets there are $110 per game, plus a one-time license fee of $2,550.

The average seat license will be about $2,500, the team says. And you don’t have to put all the money down at once.

The team is offering two financing options: One calls for equal payments, interest free, over three years, and the other offers an additional five years of financing at 8 percent interest.

Once a seat license has been purchased, the owner controls that seat as long as he or she continues to buy season tickets. After the first year, owners can sell their seat licenses if they no longer want to buy season tickets.

“That season ticket travels with that SBL location,” LaCroix said.

There are active secondary markets for buyers and sellers, for instance on strmarketplace.com.

“You’ll see all kinds, some for more than what they bought them for, some for less, it kind of bounces all over. It’s an open market,” he said.

The seat license gives the owner access to the seat for the 10 regular-season home games a year. It wouldn’t give owners access to the Super Bowl, if that should come to the new stadium. But they would be first in line to buy tickets to Vikings home playoff games.

It also does not give them access to other events held on non-game days at the new stadium.

For the next year or so, the only people who can buy season tickets in the new stadium are those who held them last season at the Metrodome.

The team’s roughly 53,000 season-ticket holders will be invited by seating area – with holders of the best seats going first – to select seats in the new facility. They’ll be invited to tour a 7,500-square-foot “preview center” in an office building across from the stadium site where they can get a look at what suites and club seating will look like, along with other information.

The season-ticket process for the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, where the team will play in 2014 and 2015, is being handled separately. LaCroix said the team has gotten about 30 percent season-ticket renewals for TCF Stadium so far.

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.