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Fans Disapprove of Vikings Stadium Seat Fee

Posted at: 11/13/2012 9:34 PM
Updated at: 11/13/2012 10:13 PM
By: Dietrich Nissen

(ABC 6 News) -- An option introduced to help pay for a new Vikings stadium is causing controversy as the governor is stepping in, voicing his opposition. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton criticized the Vikings for considering extra fees on season ticket holders to pay for the team's share of their new stadium.

Dayton sent a letter to owners Zygi and Mark Wilf stating his opposition. The Vikings have responded saying seat licenses are authorized under the bill passed by the legislature which Dayton signed. They say it's a key component of the stadium agreement. 

However, at a Tuesday night listening session that was supposed to center mainly on stadium design,  the problem came up during the "Q & A" segment.

"We have never moved our seats in 16 years. I sit and tailgate with the same 30 people that have always been there," says long-time Minnesota Vikings season ticket holder, Mike Atkinson. He and other long time fans like, Larry Spooner, say even the thought of a seat building license fee is absurd.

"I will not pay a fee to come see this team play. I love my Vikings. It is a privilege to watch my Vikings. It is not a right," says Atkinson.

"It's a one-time fee and then you have the right to spend money?...No," says Spooner.

"The legislation was clear. It allows the opportunity. We're in the field surveying our fans and when we have more information we'll share it with the public," says Vikings spokesman, Lester Bagley.

He responded to fans comments by saying the fees are just an idea. The team's considering several options, including a loan program through the NFL. However, the team is still gathering ideas on how to fund the $477 million dollars it owes toward the stadium.

"No decision has been made on any pricing or any product in the new stadium," says Bagley.

Aside from the fees, fans also asked about the stadium's roof, artwork, even the bathrooms.

"We were there watching a fantastic game with the Lions this past Sunday and my wife went to the bathroom. I didn't see her for a quarter," said one fan.

Several college and high school teams requested the stadium be kept as an all-purpose facility, but in the end, the license fees became the main topic.

"If this thing's any more than $100 bucks, it probably ain't gonna happen for me," says Spooner.

“[My friends] can't pay a $20,000 dollar, one-time fee for one ticket. I have four tickets. I will take that money for a year of college with one of my kids or a new car," says Atkinson.

Right now, the stadium's schematics are expected to be halfway drawn by this January. Construction on the actual stadium may start as early as next September.