The agreements bind the team to a lease of 30 years or more. Once the stadium opens, Kelm-Helgen said the team will pay the authority $8.5 million in annual rent and put $1.5 million into a capital improvement fund each year, with both payments rising over time.
The authority will keep concession revenue from nonfootball events as well as any money that comes in from stadium tours. In Dallas, hundreds of thousands of fans have paid $20 each to tour that new stadium.
Seat licenses — known as charter ownership agreements in some cities — began taking off with sports stadium construction in the mid-1990s. They've become particularly rooted with NFL teams; more than a dozen of the league's 32 teams have them in some form already.
The seat licenses become the property of the purchaser, allowing fans to sell the rights when they no longer want season tickets. The resale market can be lucrative. In Pittsburgh, for instance, fans who bought a seat license for a stadium that opened in 1998 averaged a roughly nine-fold return when selling it a decade later, according to online seat license broker STL Marketplace. But in cities where the team has struggled, Tennessee and St. Louis among them, fans have suffered losses when they have tried to dump their licenses.
The pair of Minnesota stadium agreements is part of a fall ramp-up for the project. By next month, the state hopes to select banks that will facilitate a bond sale to pay construction costs.
In early November, Vikings owners and politicians expect to gather for a ceremonial groundbreaking and significant construction will begin within weeks.
The Vikings are playing their final season at the 32-year-old Metrodome. They'll move to the University of Minnesota's on-campus stadium for a couple of seasons. If all goes as planned, their new stadium will open on the old Metrodome site in time for the 2016 season.
Critics of the project aren't going quietly.
In a public comment period after the contracts were approved, the authority got an earful from stadium opponents who said taxpayers were getting a raw deal. One of them, Jeff Wagner, threw his shoes on a table and left them there.
"You can keep my shoes because basically you are just stealing from the people," said Wagner, one of 35 fall candidates for Minneapolis mayor.
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