Hoping to capitalize on next week’s National Football League draft — and with still more seats to sell in their new stadium — the Vikings have unveiled even more seating options.
The team introduced a seating section in its $1 billion stadium Wednesday that will be known as Club Purple, complete with sofa-type seating and 4K-resolution televisions aimed at attracting fantasy football fans.
“We’re thinking that Club Purple will be the most technologically advanced space in the building,” said Jason Gonella of Van Wagner Team & Venue Services, which is helping the Vikings with ticket sales.
“You might have [an electronic] ticker that runs around the space that would have fantasy statistics,” he said.
With the stadium halfway complete, Vikings officials stressed that premium seats and suites were selling above expectations. Premium seats and suites, the team added, would be offered to the general public beginning April 30, the first day of this year’s NFL draft.
Team officials said 91 of the stadium’s 131 suites, roughly 70 percent, have been sold.
In addition, the Vikings said Wednesday the team had $97 million in commitments from the sale of stadium seat licenses. The Vikings said that 37,000 stadium seat licenses, roughly 75 percent of the inventory, had been sold.
Under an agreement with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the public body overseeing the stadium’s construction, 25 percent of the stadium’s seating must not require a stadium seat license.
The licenses, which require fans to pay in some cases thousands of dollars in addition to the price of a ticket, have been a source of controversy. Two years ago, Gov. Mark Dayton had cautioned that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf could raise so much money through the sale of personal seat licenses and other efforts that Wilf’s own financial contribution to the publicly subsidized stadium could be lessened considerably.
In an earlier letter to the Wilf family, the governor threatened to scuttle the stadium financing deal if the Vikings owners insisted on passing part of their share of the construction cost to the public.
“This private contribution is your responsibility. Not theirs,” he wrote at the time. “I said this new stadium would be a ‘People’s Stadium,’ not a ‘Rich People’s Stadium.’ I meant it then, and I mean it now.”
The team said Wednesday that 80 percent of the seat licenses were $3,000 or less, and that roughly 10,000 licenses were $1,000 or less.
“It’s been a great year,” Steve La- Croix, the team’s chief marketing officer, said of sales, especially for seat licenses. “We are trending ahead as far as the amount of revenue we’ve generated.”
He added that the money also should help push the Vikings higher among NFL teams in money generated by the stadium. “It definitely helps. It takes us really from the bottom in revenue up into a much better position,” LaCroix said.