/please forgive me if this is too long or partially incoherent, RANT mode is enabled
I'm a Vikings season ticket holder, and have been since 2006 (Yes, I bought in 2006). It was the first year of my adult life I could afford it, and I've been paying for the privilege ever since. Good season or bad, I love live football. Interacting with home and visiting fans, hearing the roar of the Dome crowd; all the fun of the game balances out the criminally overpriced concessions and terrible bathrooms and concourses.
When the time came to decide on a Vikings stadium, I was active. I tried to step outside my fandom and look at the situation objectively, and in the end I felt that a Viking stadium was a good investment for the State. I wanted our city to stay on the national stage, I wanted the Sunday festivities to continue; not just at the stadium downtown, but in living rooms and sports bars across Minnesota. I'm happy to have my tax money fund numerous cultural institutions that I don't personally leverage, and I felt this was in the same vein.
While I was elated when the measure passed, I also had a nervous feeling that something would go wrong. Blame it on being a Vikings fan for all these years. Chief among my worries? The institution of PSL's, or 'personal seat licenses'. I had read about Jets/Giants fans having to pony up thousands of dollars for the rights to continue purchasing seats, which were themselves incredibly expensive, and I marveled that such an idea could gain traction with fans. As the stadium was privately financed, though, I figured it was their right to charge whatever they wanted.
Jump to last week, and I receive an email survey from the Vikings ticket office. Billed as a non-binding exercise in information gathering, it really boiled down to hammering me over the head with countless ticket purchasing scenarios, each of which featured a hefty SBL (Stadium Builder's License) requirement. The standard example they supplied was an $8,000.00 SBL License to go along with a $160/game seat. They make a point throughout the survey to continually show us SBL rates at other new stadiums (Giants/Jets, Cowboys Stadium, 49ers Stadium), hoping I'm sure to justify the cost. While I think there is public money involved in the 49ers new digs, I believe that Cowboys and Giants/Jets play in privately financed stadiums.
The narrative throughout the survey changes, as they adjust relative SBL rates and ticket prices, and even graciously offer to finance the SBL repayment at 0%. The entire idea disgusts and offends me. I consider my public support, and the state of Minnesota's considerable monetary investment to be my 'stadium builder' contribution, by way of the taxes I pay. One of my co-workers, who has been a season ticket holder for 30 YEARS, came into my office all distraught by the idea that the prize she had been waiting for would be priced out her reach. How many others who have spent years or decades supporting this team will find themselves on the wrong side of an economic fence around our fabulous new 'People's Stadium'?
If there is interest, I will link to the contents of the survey as I took screenshots of most of it. There are other questionable areas, such as the portion suggesting that there MAY be more bathrooms/concessions for general seating areas. There MAY? I don't think it would be possible to sign up a builder to emulate what we currently have. The parts of the survey outlining just how fantastic it will be for the club level members (private parking, private entrance, private upgraded concourse, even private exit lanes after the game) just served to make this all the more bitter to read.
Beyond bringing this issue to the attention of the public before a decision is made, what can we do to stop this? I was brutally honest in my 'additional comments' at the end of the survey, but I doubt that will have an affect. I'm hoping that a large fan reaction against the idea could stop it in it's tracks, but I'm not sure. We paid for the vast majority of this stadium. I'll stomach the ridiculous concession gouging, and the parking and ticket inflation that goes alongside it... but I can't stomach a giant licensing fee on top of it. It's the essence of needless, opportunistic greed. If this comes to pass then my tradition of attending VIkings games comes to an end. An angry, bitter end, and one that I helped finance to boot.
Am I being unrealistic, or is this the giant F-U that I perceive it to be?