The StarTribune reports on the possibility that the Wilfs will hit up fans for cash through personal seat licenses at the new stadium:
Faced with the need to make a nearly half-billion dollar contribution to build their new downtown football stadium, the Minnesota Vikings may tap their most loyal fans to help foot the bill.
That’s a generous way to describe it. Another way would be:
“After extracting $498 million out of the State of Minnesota and City of Minneapolis toward a new $975 million stadium, the Wilfs are now turning to Vikings fans in order to drive the Vikings organization’s costs as close to zero as possible.”
Or, as Bob Collins put it:
When the Vikes said they’d chip in $450 million for a new stadium, they actually meant their FANS would.
— Bob Collins (@NewsCut) November 11, 2012
A fan weighed in on the Wilf family’s interest in using a combination of corporate welfare plus extracting what the market will bear for PSAs:
“It’s disgusting,” said Stephanie Schleuder, who figures a fee could cost her as much as $20,000 to keep two 50-yard-line seats. “If they weren’t getting any public financing, if they were doing this on their own, they would have a right to do whatever they want. How dare they further gouge the average fan for additional money.”
Personally, what I found disgusting is that not a single Vikings season ticket holder testified at any of the state or city hearings to describe the half a billion in public financing (not counting interest or ongoing operational costs) as “disgusting”. The “average fan” (especially if you’re using the term “average” to describe people who have tickets on the 50-yard-line) has not been “gouged” by the current financing.
If Vikings fans are looking for someone to blame for this, they could look at themselves. Do you remember Vikings fans testifying in front of the legislature to have a no-PSA policy written into the stadium bill? No? Exactly. The legislature gave them what they wanted: A stadium in a non-ideal location with a non-ideal public/private split, no guarantee of a Super Bowl (Indy wrote it into their contract), no guarantee of a retractable roof, and no protection from PSA licenses. Vikings fans cheered when they got this deal. Oh well.
Again, using the term “average citizens” to describe people who own Vikings season tickets is quite the reach. Tickets are already priced above what an average family can afford. Especially if we’re talking season tickets. Even more so if we’re talking 50-yard-line.
And, as people who paid attention to what Wilf was looking for in a new stadium know, the “wealthy business people” are exactly who this new stadium is being built for . . . with your money. The new stadium is designed to have more and higher quality suites for “wealthy business people”. The Vikings don’t have to share the money from suites with the rest of the NFL, so they benefit from having as much money as possible dumped into suites by local corporations (who’ll then deduct the costs as an entertainment expense, shifting our tax burden to non-suite holders).
The public is also paying for an awesome new parking ramp adjacent to the stadium that will allow “wealthy business people” to park walk to their suites without having to mingle with “average citizens”.
Our tax dollars at work.
One thing I haven’t heard much about lately: What about the buy-a-brick plan? I’m pretty sure the final bill includes a brick purchasing program as a financing source. Let’s get that rolling so Vikings fans can start showing their support for the Wilf family’s wealth.