I lived in the Chicago area in the early 1990s. From time to time, I’d go up to Milwaukee with one of my college buddies and we’d go to Packers games there, because in those days the Packers played part of their schedule at the old County Stadium. We’d time it so we’d arrive there a few minutes before game time and we’d be able to buy tickets from people looking to get rid of their tickets for a pretty cheap price, usually about $5. The cost for parking at County Stadium was about $3, so we could attend an NFL game, have a hot dog and even a beer for less than $20. And even though the Packers were terrible in those days, it was a lot of fun.
I share that story because those days are definitely not coming back, especially here in Minnesota:
The Minnesota Vikings’ most loyal fans will pay an average of $2,500 above the cost of a season ticket just to secure choice seats in the team’s new stadium, under an agreement approved Thursday by the public board overseeing the project.
Personal seat license fees, which are often used to help build or restore NFL venues, were part of stadium lease and development agreements OK’d by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is supervising construction of the $975 million multipurpose venue.
The team and authority agreed to attach a one-time fee to 75 percent of the seats in the 65,000-seat stadium, charging season-ticket holders anywhere from $500 to $10,000, depending on the seat. The remainder of the seats, including some held by season-ticket holders, would not carry such fees.
It’s likely that the “remainder of the seats” might as well be in your basement. I haven’t priced Vikings tickets lately, but I’d be quite surprised if you’d be able to get a pair for less than $2,500 when the new stadium opens. If you factor in paying another five large for the provisional right to plunk down that $2,500 for season tix, you’re talking about a pretty expensive outlay. And I’m guessing that parking near the stadium isn’t going to be $3, either.
Gov. Mark Dayton has spent a lot of time calling the new stadium “the People’s Stadium.” I don’t think too many people are going to be able to swing this kind of money. It won’t be the “most loyal fans” who can pay this freight. It will be corporate interests who will use the tickets to entertain clients. Please understand — as an evil capitalist dupe, I don’t have a problem with that, since it’s been the case in most NFL markets for decades now. I just wonder if all the money that’s envisioned in this deal is actually going to materialize.
Cross-posted and comments welcome at Mr. Dilettante’s Neighborhood.