Former Senate minority leader and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority member Duane Benson weighed in on the personal seat license flap today.
He was a guest on MPR's Daily Circuit, appearing with Margaret Anderson Kelliher to talk about what's ahead at the Capitol this spring. And, of course, the discussion eventually turned to the Vikings stadium. Here's how the conversation went:
Kerri Miller: "You know the Governor was pretty upset by the Vikings conversation about maybe charging money for seat licenses. He basically came out and said, that wasn' t the deal. What's your thought?"
Duane Benson: "Well, I think that this is going to be a function of the market. What the Vikings were doing and I don't know if the governor fully understood what they were doing, they were doing a market survey. To see what's the tolerance... floating an idea. They were actually calling people to say what would you pay for a seat license to be part of the construction of the new building.... I'll guarantee you, if its too high and nobody buys tickets, they won't do it. If it's low, and everybody does it, they'll probably do it. So, I think it was kind of misunderstood going into that. It was actually in the legislation. So, what happens from here remains to be seen. But that will be a function of the market as to how high they can charge seat licenses.
Miller: "Why should they charge seat licenses at all? They got a pretty good deal, why do they need more income?"
Benson: "I'm not Zygi Wilf, but they have to pay their part of the stadium, and that was part of the deal going in, is that they would have the ability to pay. So you might want to ask the Legislature who gave them the ability to do it."
Miller: "Do you think they ought to do it?"
Benson: "Being entirely their choice, because if they put one in and its $20,000 or whatever that number is, and they don't have anybody buying those seats, they're going to have a really hard time building that building."