The column the #Falcons don’t want you to read,Personal seat licenses will raise $100 million for new Vikings stadium

The seat licenses for the new stadium will cost fans from $500 to $9,500 each.

Minnesota Vikings fans will pay $500 to $9,500 per seat in the team’s new $1 billion stadium, set to open in 2016. That will be in addition to ticket prices that will run between $50 and $400 per game for season-ticket holders.

The personal seat licenses in the so-called stadium-builder license program are expected to net $100 million. That revenue will count as part of owner Zygi Wilf’s contribution to the construction.

The Vikings soon will begin contacting season-ticket holders — according to their Metrodome seat locations — to persuade them to buy the personal seat licenses.

The sale of such seat licenses is a first for the Vikings and was a flash point in the stadium saga. When the team announced the licensing plans, Gov. Mark Dayton threatened to seek a repeal of the stadium legislation altogether. However, at Friday’s media briefing, all was copacetic, including with Michele Kelm-Helgen, Dayton’s appointee to lead the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority.

Kelm-Helgen pointed out that the team is responsible for the license program. If sales fail to produce the necessary $100 million, she said, the state has “ironclad agreements” that require the Vikings to make up the difference.

Almost two years ago, the Legislature agreed to spend $498 million in public financing for the project. Ground was broken in December, and last month the Metrodome demolition accelerated with the deflation of the roof.

Steve LaCroix, team vice president of sales and marketing, said the team worked to be “very fair” and “as reasonable as we could” in developing a seat license plan that “truly fits Minnesota.” What the Vikings expect to raise through licensing falls in the middle of what other teams have raised. According to Vikings data, the Dallas Cowboys opened a new stadium in 2009 and raised $651 million, adjusted for inflation, through seat licenses. The San Francisco 49ers raised $500 million in adjusted dollars in 2014.

Of the 65,400 seats in the Vikings’ new stadium, 75 percent will require game-goers to purchase seat licenses before they buy tickets. The Vikings will offer payment plans, including one that gives buyers eight years to pay for the licenses. Once paid, the license holder will retain seat rights throughout the team’s 30-year lease — provided they keep buying season tickets.

The licenses will be transferrable, so that those who buy them also can sell them.

A range of prices

Kelm-Helgen stressed the relative affordability of the licenses. The average license will sell for $2,500, and 2,300 licenses will be set aside to sell for $500 apiece. About 80 percent of the seat licenses will sell for $3,000 or less.

The priciest seats will be on the lowest level: $9,500 for the license and a per-game ticket of $400. For the eight home games, that would be a total cost of $12,700 per seat for the first season.

Seats at that price will come with what fans may consider a priceless proximity: Those seated at the 50-yard line will be close enough to high-five Vikings players coming onto the field. For those 50-yard line seats, the field is the front porch, said Jason Gonella, executive director of new stadium sales for Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment, the company hired by the team to sell the seats.

There will be many more club seats in the new stadium — 8,000, compared with 243 at the Metrodome. Those licenses will range from $3,500 to $9,500.

In the cheap seats, at the uppermost reaches of the stadium, seat licenses will sell for $500 each, with game tickets going for $50 a pop.

One-fourth of the stadium — 12,000 seats — will not require licenses in order to buy tickets. Also, the 116 suites planned for corporate types will not be covered by the licenses.

Selling the ‘fan experience’

Team officials talked repeatedly about how different the “fan experience” will be. LaCroix said fans will not have to give up the “comforts of home” to attend the game.

“We think the fan experience is going to be unlike anything our fans know is coming,” he said.

Within a couple of weeks, the team plans to open a 7,500-square-foot facility designed to simulate that experience, giving fans — and prospective seat license buyers — the feel of being a stadium that will span 1.75 million square feet, about double the size of the Metrodome. Inside will be more of everything — more concession stands, more restaurants, more bathrooms. The number of high-definition televisions will jump to 800 from 280. Wireless Internet will run throughout the facility, and the two videoboards in the complex will increase to 12,560 square feet from 646 square feet.

The seat licenses will apply only to Vikings games, not to other events held in the stadium.

For more information, go to www.newminnesotastadium.com.

BlackBerry Grows Its Messaging App, Brings It To Google’s Android Wear

Bringing BlackBerry’s messaging service, BBM, to the iPhone and Android has proven to be the right move for the Canadian phone maker. This fiscal year, the company is on track to earn $100 million from the service, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said at a press event today at CES in Las Vegas. In 2014, there were 140 million newly registered BBM customers on iPhone and Android.

At the press event, BlackBerry announced that it’s bringing BBM to the wearable world. BBM will be available on a bunch of Android Wear smartwatches, such as the Samsung Gear S smartwatch.

Like seemingly the majority of smartwatch apps, it’ll mostly just help you look at messages and alerts on your smartwatch without having to pull out your smartphone. When a new BBM message pop up on your smartwatch, you have the option to preview the message or view the whole thing; dismiss messages; respond using a canned response or using Google GOOGL -0.11% Now voice recognition software; and accept BBM invites.

The integration is nothing too special, but the company is hoping it’ll increase the stickiness of its messaging service. “Increasing the MAU [monthly active users] stickiness will hopefully automatically increase CPM [cost per impression],” said Chen at the event.

Although smartwatches still haven’t exactly proven themselves as a gadget that’s here to stay, growth is expected. Smartwatches are estimated to ship more than 28 million by 2015 and more than 60 million by 2017, according to research outfit Canalys.

In 2015, BlackBerry is going to build out BBM more—including adding more stickers and virtual goods in the app’s store. It’ll also be announcing a premium subscription service for getting rid of ads in the app and more options for enterprise customers.

NBA affirms Hawks won’t leave Atlanta

With the Atlanta Hawks up for sale, rumors have swirled that new ownership could try to move the team to a different market. However, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass confirmed Wednesday that the league has no intention of moving the Hawks once their sale is finalized, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

All three ownership groups of the Hawks agreed to sell 100 percent of the franchise last week, leading Bill Simmons to report that prospective buyers could try to move the team to Seattle or another market. The league clearly wanted to stifle those rumors quickly, and did so Wednesday with a definitive statement supporting the team’s placement in Atlanta.

 FOLLOW THE SALE 

Just days after the announced sale, which is “still in its infancy,” several prominent names have already come up as possible buyers. Former NBA stars Grant HillDikembe Mutombo and Chris Webberare considered interested parties, as well as former Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien (who currently co-owns D.C. United), former Raptors CEO Bryan Colangelo, L.A.-based investor Steve Kaplan and billionaire businessman Sheldon Adelson.

Earlier this week, it was also reported that former Sacramento Kings suitor Chris Hansen and film producer Thomas Tull were prepping separate bids to move the team to Seattle. However, the NBA’s statement on Wednesday would seem to take those groups out of the running unless they’re willing to bail on relocation plans.

The sale of the team is being handled by Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports, with April considered a possible target date for finalizing an agreement. The buyer must also be approved by the league. Last year, the Los Angeles Clippers sold for $2 billion, while the Milwaukee Bucks sold for $550 million. Expect the valuation of the Hawks to fall somewhere between those two numbers.

Logo vs. Brand – @ThisIsSethsBlog

Spend 10,000 times as much time and money on your brand as you spend on your logo.

Your logo is a referent, a symbol, a reminder of your brand.

But your brand is a story, a set of emotions and expectations and a stand-in for how we think and feel about what you do.

Nike spent $250 to buy a swoosh. Probably a little more than they needed to. But the Nike brand, the sum total of what we think and believe and feel about what this company makes–it’s now worth billions.

The swoosh is just pixels.

Microsoft launch gold edition Lumia smartphones

Microsoft has leapt on the bling bandwagon with the launch of a gold edition of its flagship Lumia 930 smartphone, as well as its recently-unveiled Lumia 830.

Lumia-930-goldenAnnounced back in April, the Lumia 930 was one of the first devices announced specifically for Windows Phone 8.1, and already shipped in a number of bright colors, including green, orange, and white.

Now, you can add gold to that list too.

The Lumia 830, on the other hand, was announced just a few months back, and is designed to cater for the mid-range smartphone market.

The phones aren’t entirely caked in gold, however. They will come in black or whte variants, with a gold finishing touch. The Lumia 830 incarnation will be available from next month in Europe, Asia Pacific, China, India, and across select markets in the Middle East and Africa. The price will vary across the boad,

The Lumia 830 Gold is expected to be available in black and white in February. This smartphone can be purchased in select countries in Europe, Asia Pacific and China, and India, the Middle East and Africa. The price will vary by region and network, though for guidance the existing device costs around $430 SIM-free.

Mark Ronson And Bruno Mars Replace Taylor Swift At Number One

After a seven week reign, Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” finally slipped from the number one spot on the Hot 100, bowing to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ insanely catchy throwback “Uptown Funk!”.

“Uptown Funk” moves up one notch from number two, where it has been sitting for a little while now. For a time it appeared that Hozier’s Grammy-nominated“Take Me To Church”, which also sat in the runner up spot for several weeks, before eventually sliding to third place, where it currently remains.

The song is the lead single from Mark Ronson’s upcoming album Uptown Special, his first in several years. The record is due next week, and with “Uptown Funk!” only now hitting its stride, the album may perform well, despite him being a lesser-known act here in the States.

Bruno Mars in the video for "Uptown Funk!"Bruno Mars in the video for “Uptown Funk!”

This is Ronson’s first trip as a performer to the top ten, but it’s not even close for Mars, who has sent quite a few songs to the top. In fact, this is his sixth number one single, after “Just The Way You Are”, “Grenade”, “Locked Out Of Heaven” (which was produced by Ronson), “When I Was Your Man”, and his featured role on rapper B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ On You” back in 2010.

Ronson and Mars rising to the top marks the first time a man (or two) has run the Hot 100 in 19 weeks. That length of time ties a previously-set record for how much time women have controlled the penthouse. Taylor herself held the spot for a total of eleven weeks, including seven weeks with “Blank Space” and another four weeks before that with “Shake It Off”, the lead single from her massive 1989 album. As mentioned, because of her one-two punch, Taylor Swift is the only woman in history to replace herself at number one.

Immediately preceding her was Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”, which was the chart leader for eight weeks. Shockingly, “Bass” is still in the top ten, sitting at number six, immediately behind her follow up single “Lips Are Movin’” at number five. In fact, the last time a number one hit had a man behind it was the week of August 30th, when MAGIC! ended their six week reign with “Rude”.

Though she may have ceded the number one spot on the songs chart, Swift’s 1989 album is still ruling on the Billboard 200, where it has racked up an impressive eight weeks in charge. Her album has yet to sell fewer than 200,000 copies in a single week, and just last week it was revealed that in the last tracking week of the year, it bested the Frozen soundtrack to become the best-selling album of 2014.

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