Writer’s Block: London games, PSLs a reality of the NFL

The Minnesota Vikings stadium was back in the news last week after Gov. Mark Dayton sent a letter to Mark and Zygi Wilf to state his displeasure over two issues.

Eric Hagen
Eric Hagen

Dayton is upset that the Vikings want to play a 2013 regular season game and perhaps others in the future in London, England, and that the Vikings may force season ticket holders to pay personal seat licenses (PSLs) on top of the ticket prices in the new stadium.

While I applaud the governor for taking a stand against a billionaire, he is out of touch with reality.

The truth is the NFL has been doing everything in its power to increase interest in the NFL in Europe.

It tried NFL Europe, but that involved a bunch of scrubs playing mediocre football.

Since 2007, there has been one NFL regular season game at Wembley Stadium in London every year.

The New England Patriots in 2009 and 2012 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009 and 2011 are the only teams to date that have played multiple games in London, but more will follow.

The struggling Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to play one game in London each year between 2013 and 2016.

With the Vikings and Steelers already confirmed for next season, this means there will be two NFL regular season games in London in 2013.

The Jaguars will be playing the San Francisco 49ers, who are no strangers to international games.

They played in London in 2010, and the 49ers-Arizona Cardinals game in Mexico City, Mexico, in 2005 was the first NFL regular season game to be played outside the United States.

According to a news article by Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press, the Vikings rank 31st out of 32 NFL teams in terms of stadium revenue, so it is not entirely surprising that the Vikings had an interest in giving up a home game to play in London.

I would not be surprised to see them play the Jaguars when they are playing for a season in the smaller TCF Bank Stadium during the new stadium construction on the Metrodome site.

I despise the concept of PSLs, but this is even more common than games abroad.

One of my friends has season tickets to Wisconsin Badgers football games and his family pay $300 per seat on top of the season ticket price.

He clarified that this is tax-deductible because it technically counts as a donation to the athletic department, which has the same policy for the men’s basketball games as well.

When I was buying season tickets at TCF Bank Stadium when it opened in 2009, there were required fees on top of the regular price for the best seats in the lower level.

I was one section away from a $100 PSL.

According to a Sept. 8, 2011 article by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Daily, 15 NFL teams sold PSLs during the 2010 season.

The article reported on “revenue goals” for each team, which ranged from $20.5 million for the Seattle Seahawks and $650 million for the Dallas Cowboys.

The other 13 teams that charged PSLs in 2010, listed in order of revenue projections, were the New York Giants, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals.

A Nov. 15 article by Mike Kazuba of the Star Tribune reported that 17 teams have PSLs.

The Green Bay Packers charge $2,000 per seat to help pay for the stadium renovation.

Vikings’ spokesperson Lester Bagley told the Twin Cities media that no decisions have been made on PSLs, but I’m assuming the Vikings will join the ranks of other NFL teams charging these fees.