Vikings official: Some are 'jumping the gun'

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 16, 2012 - 9:16 PM

A Vikings official said the governor, public are too quick to judge on seat licensing issue.

A Vikings official said Friday that Gov. Mark Dayton and others are "jumping the gun" by expressing outrage over the team's interest in establishing license fees for premier seating in a soon-to-be-built $975 million downtown Minneapolis football stadium.

"A lot of people are jumping the gun as to their thinking on what we'd do," said Lester Bagley, the team's vice president for stadium development and public affairs. "We're doing our homework. That's all we're doing."

Bagley's comments came at the end of a week in which Gov. Mark Dayton sharply criticized the team and its owners for not being forthright during stadium financing negotiations last spring about the possibility of charging season-ticket holders a personal seat license or "stadium builder's license" fee.

The team began surveying season-ticket holders on the issue last week. The fees, which generally are a one-time payment, would be paid on top of the cost of a season ticket. Revenue generated by the fees, which ensure season-ticket holders premier seating, would count as part of the team's share of stadium construction costs.

"The project's strong support came from many regular Minnesotans, not just rich Minnesotans, because they believed the Vikings are also their team," Dayton wrote in a stern letter to Viking owners Zygi and Mark Wilf on Tuesday. "If a new stadium were to betray that trust, it would be better that it not be built."

Dayton later said that he had not been aware last spring of the scope of the Vikings seat license plans.

Bagley reiterated Friday that the team was "very above board" about its desire to pursue the option to help finance its portion of stadium construction costs.

The state and city of Minneapolis are contributing $498 million to construction with the team picking up the remainder through a variety of sources, including an NFL loan, stadium naming rights and possibly seat license fees.

"We were very forthright, we were very clear, we were very direct in the legislative process," Bagley said after a morning meeting of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is overseeing construction of the project.

Bagley said that in hindsight, it might have been better if team officials had publicly announced plans to survey fans, giving the governor and the public a heads up.

"We were not trying to hide anything," he said.

More than half -- 17 of 32 teams -- of the National Football League franchises have charged fees for seat licenses to raise money.

Fees range from a low of several hundred dollars to as much as $150,000, depending on the market, the team and the seat.

Bagley said the Vikings are at the "very beginning" of the survey process and have made no decision. But he said that if fees were imposed, they'd be in line with what the market could bear.

"We are taking a hard look at this particular item," he said, adding, "we have a lot of work to do ... If we proceed with this ... this has to fit the market."

Michele Kelm-Helgen, a former Dayton staffer who is the authority's chairwoman, said the survey "got people very anxious and concerned that there'll be these very high fees."

But, she added, Dayton has expressed "confidence" in recent days that the authority and team could work together to resolve concerns.

The stadium legislation gives the authority the right to own and sell the licenses with the revenue going to the Vikings for construction costs.

Kelm-Helgen said the authority will work with the team in coming months to determine whether fees should be charged and at what price.

If fees were established, she said, they probably would be modest and more in line with others charged in the local market.

When Target Field, home of the Twins, was built, the team charged up to $2,000 for premium seats in its second-deck Legends Club.

"Having this highlighted early may be good," she said. "Now it's out there."

Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 0 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 4
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 3
St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 5
NY Mets 2 Top 5th Inning
Arizona 0
Atlanta - J. Teheran 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - C. Lee
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Cleveland - Z. McAllister 6:08 PM
Detroit - A. Sanchez
Washington - T. Roark 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Fernandez
Seattle - F. Hernandez 7:05 PM
Texas - Y. Darvish
Boston - C. Buchholz 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - J. Danks
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Toronto 0 Postponed
Minnesota 0
Oakland - T. Milone 9:05 PM
LA Angels - T. Skaggs
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Los Angeles - P. Maholm 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Chicago 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Indiana 6:00 PM
Orlando
Atlanta 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Dallas 7:00 PM
Memphis
Detroit 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Houston 7:00 PM
New Orleans
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
San Antonio
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Miami
Utah 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Washington 7:00 PM
Boston
Toronto 7:00 PM
New York
Golden State 9:30 PM
Denver
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
Portland
Phoenix 9:30 PM
Sacramento
Montreal 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Columbus 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Dallas 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will you boo Jared Allen when he returns with the Bears?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close