Forty-Niners fans know they will be ponying up some cash for seats should the proposed 68,500-seat stadium in Santa Clara become a reality. They just aren’t sure how much.
Team president Jed York didn’t shed any light on that subject when he addressed season-ticket holders at the State of the Franchise event Tuesday night at the Santa Clara Convention Center, though he attempted to draw a distinction. The 49ers will not sell personal seat licenses (PSLs) for seats at the stadium; they’ll sell stadium builder licenses (SBLs).
The difference? Permanence.
“Some of the teams when they’ve done PSLs, they haven’t been a lifetime in the building,” York explained. “They’ve been a short period of time. The stadium builder’s license will be for the lifetime of the building. It’ll be access to other events. You’ll have a lot of different rights and things like that, transferrable rights, being able to pass them down to your kids and being able to… A lot of fans, if you leave the area, you just have to give up your season tickets or pay for them. Here, you’ll be able to sell that right. And that’s a much more valuable asset if the life doesn’t end. If there’s an end to that, it’s like selling a lease that’s about to end. It decreases in value. The SBL increases in value, so it’ll be an asset that people can hold on to and pass on.”
Makes sense. PSLs got a bad name in the Bay Area when the Raiders returned from L.A. in 1995 and sold them to generate revenue. The team failed to sell out and sold some seats without PSLs, angering fans who had already bought the licenses. And the PSLs were good for only 10 years. The whole system created a rift between the club and city/county government.
That’s probably why the 49ers
are aren’t calling their licenses PSLs. After all, the Jets and Giants use the PSL term, though they, too, are offering lifetime access to seats at the new stadium in the Meadowlands. The Dallas Cowboys, meanwhile, have a 30-year sunset on PSLs at the new Cowboys Stadium.
All of which begs the question: How much will SBLs cost in Santa Clara? York wasn’t ready to toss around any numbers Tuesday, so we’ll have to use the Jets, Giants (they have separate ticket plans though they share a stadium) and Cowboys for comparison.
PSLs for the Giants prized Coaches’ Club go for $20,000. Mezzanine clubs are $7,500-$12,500, field-level seats between the 30-yard lines are $20K, end zone to 30-yard line are $10K, and back-of-end-zone runs $5K. Mezzanine seats (second deck behind the end zones) cost $4K, while top-deck terrace seats are $1K.
Keep in mind that these costs are strictly for PSLs; season tickets are additional.
The Jets’ Coaches Clubs run $20-$30,000. Other club seats are anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000. Lower prime seats (30- to 40-yard line) are $20K, lower sideline (10 to the 20 or 30) are $10K, lower goal line (five yards deep to the 10-yard line) are $7.5K, back and corners of end zones cost $5-$6,000, and seats behind the end zone are $2,500. Mezzanine A (second level behind end zone) will cost you $4K per PSL, while Mezzanine B (third level behind end zone) go for $2.5K. Those two blocks of $2,500 tickets both have been reduced from higher figures in an effort to sell out the team’s home opener.
Now hold your hats for the Cowboys’ pricing. Club seats – and much of the lower deck appears to be club seating – start at $16,000 and run all the way up to the astronomical $150,000, which presumably includes dinner for six with Roger Staubach. End-zone and corner seats in the lowest three sections can be yours for $4-$5K, while sideline PSLs on the highest level range from $2,000 to $12,000.
Does that help? Not a whole lot.
Keep in mind, however, that New York is the most expensive city in the nation, and that Jerry Jones’ monument to Jerry Jones in Dallas cost about $1.5 billion, the great majority of it privately financed. So perhaps the 49ers’ need for cash flow will be a little smaller and these numbers can be viewed as upper limits.
Still, they’re not exactly welcome news to the average 49ers fan who has been tailgating at Candlestick Park for years. If you have to pay $1,000 for the right to buy nosebleed tickets, $5,000 or $6,000 for mediocre seats and, say, $10,000 and up for premier PSLs – excuse me, SBLs – it will be a supreme test of a Niners fan’s loyalty.
My advice to the Yorks: Put together a few playoff runs between now and 2014.