The Vikings have sold 37,000 Stadium Builders Licenses (SBLs), which allow the buyer to control their seats for as long as they continue to purchase season tickets in the stadium. The Vikings are limited by stadium legislation to 75 percent of the seats and $125 million in revenue from SBLs, meaning 12,000 seats in the seating bowl are unlicensed. They have already have $97 million in commitments to SBLs after initially setting their goal at $93 million by the end of 2015.
They are about 75 percent to the overall goal for SBLs.
“We’re really excited with how that’s going. The conversion rate was way higher than we anticipated,” said Jason Gonella, vice president of Van Wagner Team and Venue Services, which is in charge of the SBL sales.
More than 2,300 SBLs are priced at $500, and about 10,000 of them are priced at $1,000 or less, with the average price at $2,500. The most expensive one is $9,500 for the field club seating.
The Vikings are providing financing for the SBLs, with 10 percent down payment and 10 percent interest-free payments due in 2015 and 2016. The remainder of the license can be financed at 8 percent interest for five years after the opening of the stadium.
All of that has happened in the 14 months the stadium preview center has been open across the street from the construction site, with more than 8,000 visits to the preview center.
The stadium has surpassed the halfway point of construction.
“It’s very iconic as far as the look and feel of (the stadium) with the partially clear roof, the largest pivoting doors in the world,” said Steve LaCroix, vice president of sales and marketing for the Vikings. “The atmosphere is going to be very unique. And then when you start to layer in the very close sight lines, the closest front row in our league and then you stack the different levels, you really try to bring an arena type of design to a stadium footprint. There are just so many different products to offer to our fans.”
Suites sales have been burgeoning, too, with 91 of the 131 suites sold.
The Vikings invested another $1.2 million into a modified plan to construct 15 Norseman “mini-suites” with a maximum capacity of 10 people per Norseman suite. Those suites feature six fixed chairs, four bar stools and a lounge.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of interest in the Norseman level, which is the main concourse level,” Gonella said. “We went to the Vikings a little less than a year ago with the idea that we could take these four corners, which were originally planned to sell as loge box seating or high-end club seating and convert them into mini-suites. We got agreement from the Vikings as well as the authority.”
Club Purple is an area of the stadium that features couch seating and a deck outside the stadium, similar to the Budweiser deck at Target Field for the Minnesota Twins.
“It features a lounge-style seating concept and loge boxes accommodating anywhere from 6 to 12 folks,” Gonella said. “It’s going to be the fantasy sports headquarters of the building and there are going to be 4k TV displays in addition to a tremendous deck that’s going to go out and face toward the skyline of downtown.”
The seating will feel “sort of like a Las Vegas-style, bottle-service space,” according to Gonella, and the Vikings have already sold 24 of the 32 units in Club Purple.
Prior to construction of the project, the Vikings have had representatives at every NFL stadium to gather ideas and “best practices.”
“(You) take every great idea from every building and make it truly iconic Minnesotan is really what we were trying to accomplish,” said LaCroix, who personally has been to every NFL venue.
But in order to accomplish the type of facility Vikings ownership has wanted, the team has had to pour additional money into the project. The team contribution to the project now stands at $522 million.
“All new stadiums, the costs tend to go (up). As you get farther into it, you realize maybe we should have designed things a certain way or you realize – it’s like building a house and you want to add a certain amenity once you get into the process,” LaCroix said. “So we went into it not quite sure what to expect from that front, but kudos to the Wilf family for stepping up and making additional investments all geared toward the game day and fan experience.”
Fans who haven’t had a chance to visit the stadium preview center can make an appointment online at VikingsLegacy.com.