MINNEAPOLIS — Installation of seats — and several purple sofas — for the new Vikings stadium isn't scheduled to occur until later this summer, but fans have already laid claim to 37,000 seats and 91 suite spaces in the venue.
The stadium is on schedule to open in July 2016, and the team is preparing to open seat sales to non-Season Ticket Members next Thursday, April 30.
Tours/appointments can be scheduled in advance at **VikingsLegacy.com** or by calling 952-918-8599. Priority for the new stadium can still be obtained for fans who purchase 2015 season tickets by visiting **vikings.com/tickets** or calling 612-338-4537 by April 29.
The current seat sales account for 75 percent of the 49,000 seats available through purchase of Stadium Builder's Licenses and reflect fans' interest in a revolutionized game day experience because of the stadium's bold design and signature features. The 91 suite commitments account for 70 percent of the total 131 suites, an inventory that recently increased with the addition of **15 Norseman Lounge Mini-Suites**.
"It's been tremendous," Jason Gonella, Vice President, Van Wagner Team & Venue Services, told media who attended a briefing Wednesday in the New Stadium Preview Center. "We've really been continuously and pleasantly surprised by how interested the Vikings season ticket base has been in the seat license product. It's really exceeded all expectations."
SBLs are one-time payments that grant Season Ticket Members the right to control their seats for a defined term. Net proceeds from SBL sales are directed to funding for the stadium construction and infrastructure. Similar programs have existed in professional leagues for more than 20 years and have been used as a financing tool for 18 of the 32 current NFL stadiums (including the Vikings and Falcons future homes).
In the new stadium, approximately 10,000 seats available through SBLs were priced at $1,000 or less, including more than 2,300 that were priced at $500. About 80 percent of the seats available with an SBL were priced at $3,000 or less. The SBLs that are still available range from $750 to $2,550, and two financing options are offered.
Vikings Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Steve LaCroix said the new stadium will feature the closest front row in the NFL, 41 feet from the sideline, great sightlines throughout, amenities, larger concourses and a multitude of options that distance the new stadium that has almost **double the square footage*** *of its predecessor.
"If you were in the dome, it was more about if you were lower deck or upper deck and what yard line you're on," LaCroix said. "So it's really a lot more product offerings, and the fan base has been excited to see what those different twists are."
Field Club, Valhalla Club, Vikings Club, Fire Club and Ice Club products have sold out, but Gonella and LaCroix described another unique area, Club Purple, which will have lounge-style seating on purple sofas and loge boxes for eight to 12 guests. The area will feature innovative sports content distribution to mobile devices and 4K television screens, making it a headquarters for fantasy sports while offering service of all-inclusive food and beverage.
"It's very unique in the marketplace and unique in our league where you have couch-type seating in a club area, all-inclusive food and beverage experience, a great view to downtown Minneapolis with the deck outside and certainly a really cool space that has not been done in this market," LaCroix said.
More than 8,000 visits have been made to the New Stadium Preview Center — a 7,500-square-foot showcase space of the experiences to come — since it opened in February 2014. Just steps from where 900 construction workers are keeping the stadium on schedule, the Preview Center features a players' tunnel experience, interactive displays, three-dimensional models and build-outs of suites.
Vikings staff gradually opened the Preview Center and sales process using a priority system based on Season Ticket Members from the 2013, final season in the Metrodome.
Vikings alumni recently visited thew New Stadium Preview Center as part of a reception to honor the group.
"Our fan base is great. We built this beautiful Preview Center to showcase what we're trying to accomplish in the new stadium," LaCroix said. "We've had over 8,000 visits in a little over a year, with a beautiful view of the stadium site. Our fans are excited. They see this iconic structure being built. It's obviously much larger than the dome was and will be iconic with that clear roof and the world's biggest pivoting doors and a lot of cool fan areas and experiences on game day that they haven't had in the past."
In addition to the public opening of the Preview Center for non-Season Ticket Members, April 30 will start the 2015 NFL Draft.
Draft-related festivities at the center are planned throughout the weekend with scheduled appearances by current and former players, Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders and live radio broadcasts led by "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen.
"The key is coming down here and participating in the appointment at the Preview Center," Gonella said. "Being right across from the stadium is tremendous, but you can really see the building come to life within the space here, and folks that come down are just blown away by what we've been able to create in here and our capability to get them to purchase suites or seat licenses has been great."