In this week’s Buffalo Bills stadium focus, Personal Seat Licenses or PSLs have become the hot topic. A fee that gives you the right (and obligation) to purchase season tickets, PSLs are used to raise money for team owners’ portions of the stadium build.
“We will definitely have PSLs as part of a new stadium,” Ron Raccuia, the executive vice president and lead negotiator for Pegula Sports and Entertainment, told The Buffalo News. “Every new stadium that’s opened since 2009 has utilized PSLs.”
Some PSLs offer perks like parking, first access to tickets for other events at the stadium, food and beverages discounts, and more. Raccuia says the Bills are choosing the perpetual PSL model, which means once they are purchased you won’t have to reup after a certain period of time. They can also be sold to a third party, meaning you will be able to transfer your season tickets if you choose. Part of the agreement is that you’re locked into a contract to continuously purchase season tickets.
“We will most likely have the lowest PSLs of any new stadium built since 2009,” Raccuia said. “And that’s a function of the market and us being committed to making sure that we don’t price our fans out of the marketplace. We will be very cognizant of that with PSLs.”
In Minnesota in 2014, PSLs started at just $500 but Raccuia said Buffalo is looking at $1000 as the lowest baseline. That likely means that while the lowest PSL will be a higher price tag, Buffalo won’t have as many higher-end PSL prices. Minnesota barely stayed in the four digits, with $9500 (for seats inside the suites) being their highest number and the average cost was $2500.
Right now, the season-ticket base is between 58,000 and 60,000 but in the new stadium, the plan is to cap it around 50,000 for the 60,000 to 62,000-seat stadium. PSLs would raise more than $50 million. If they are baseline $1000, then surely a seat at midfield ten rows up would cost more than the $1000 corner end zone seat. Minnesota made more than $125 million with their PSL sales.
Raccuia wouldn’t say how much the team is planning on raising via PSLs because without a deal in place with New York State and Erie County, it’s unclear how much money the Pegulas will need to contribute.
Ultimately, this is (literally) the price of doing business when building a new stadium in the NFL. If they want to avoid raising ticket prices at an astronomical level, this is the offset. The cost of upgrades is always passed to the consumer.