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Official: Vikings have right for seat licenses

Friday - 11/16/2012, 2:24pm  ET

By MARTIGA LOHN
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A top state official overseeing the new Minnesota Vikings stadium said Friday she expects personal seat licenses to be priced in line with fees charged at the Twins' Target Field and the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium _ if the team pursues the fees to help pay its share of the $975 million construction cost.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is required to sign off on major decisions as the stadium is built.

Chairwoman Michelle Kelm-Helgen said the authority and team will work together on seat fees, which the Vikings are considering as part of their $477 million share of construction. She said the stadium law allows the team to pursue the fees, which Gov. Mark Dayton criticized earlier this week as a cost shift that will hit fans. Dayton's comments followed a Star Tribune report that the Vikings asked season-ticket holders about seat licenses in an emailed survey.

Seat licenses are common in the NFL, with some teams charging many thousands of dollars.

"What people were reacting to is $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 a seat," Kelm-Helgen said, referring to media reports about seat fees charged in other markets. "If they had that in their mind vs. something in the thousands perhaps. And I don't even know. I don't want to say."

She added: "Our frame of reference has been things like at the Twins stadium and the Gophers' TCF Stadium."

The Minnesota Twins charged $1,000 to $2,000 on a small number of premium seats at Target Field. The University of Minnesota charges season ticket buyers at TCF Bank Stadium an annual fee of $100 to $500, depending on seat location, said Garry Bowman, a spokesman for the athletics department.

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said the team hasn't made a decision on the licenses.

"If we proceed on this program, we will deliver what the market says, and I think that's what the governor is saying, too, that this has to fit the market," he said. "Again, this is not Dallas. This is not New York."

State and city taxpayers in Minneapolis are contributing $498 million to build the stadium, which is slated to open in 2016.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)