Falcons ‘pleased’ with PSL sales, but won’t say how many

A rendering of the view of the new Atlanta Falcons stadium in Atlanta from the area known as "The Gulch." The Falcons began selling seat licenses for the stadium - expected to be ready in 2017 - in January.

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

caption arrowCaption
A rendering of the view of the new Atlanta Falcons stadium in Atlanta from the area known as "The Gulch." The Falcons began selling seat licenses for the stadium - expected to be ready in 2017 - in January.

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

Credit: Atlanta Falcons


PRICE LIST

A breakdown of Falcons’ personal seat license prices for club seats:

Lower-bowl seats between the 45-yard lines: $45,000

Lower-bowl seats between the 30- and 45-yard lines: $20,000

Lower-bowl seats between the 20- and 30-yard lines: $15,000

Mezzanine-level seats (above the suites) between the 30-yard lines: $10,000

Note: The seats in the sections listed above will have ticket prices of $325 to $385 per game ($3,250 to $3,850 per season) when the new stadium opens. Those ticket prices will be fixed for three years and can increase thereafter.

FAQs ABOUT PSLs

What are personal seat licenses? One-time fees for the right to buy season tickets in a particular seat.

Will the Falcons require PSLs for all seats sold as season tickets in the new stadium? Yes.

Prices have been set for the club seats, which are seats with access to lounge areas and other perks. When will prices be set for other seats? The Falcons have said PSL prices will be announced for the remainder of the 71,500-seat stadium this summer.

Who gets the first option to buy the PSL for a given seat? The Falcons have said they are first offering "roughly comparable" seat locations to all current season-ticket holders. Requests to buy open or vacated seats will then be filled in order of season-ticket seniority. PSLs will be made available to new customers after the seat-relocation process is completed.

How will PSL revenue be used? Toward the cost of building the stadium.

Two-and-a-half months into selling personal seat licenses for their new stadium, the Falcons have collected about $7.5 million in down payments from fans.

The team said it is pleased with how sales are going — but won’t say how many seats it has sold.

Personal seat licenses, or PSLs, are among the more controversial aspects of the new downtown stadium, which is slated to open in 2017 and is quickly taking shape next to the Georgia Dome. PSLs are one-time fees for the right to buy season tickets.

The Falcons began selling PSLs on Jan. 12 for about 7,700 club seats, at prices ranging from $10,000 to $45,000 apiece. As of Thursday, the team had deposited down payments totaling $7,501,000 into a bank account managed by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, according to figures obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from the GWCCA, the state agency that will own the stadium.

The GWCCA said it hasn’t received information on how many seats the Falcons have sold, reflecting the team’s strategy to keep that number closely guarded until deeper in the process.

Most Falcons seat-license buyers interviewed by the AJC have said they made down payments of 10 percent, while some said they put down 33 percent. Based on those percentages, the $7.5 million in down payments suggests the Falcons have PSL contracts worth well into the tens of millions of dollars.

But the Falcons will say only that they are happy with the numbers.

“We’re very pleased,” said Michael Drake, vice president of Legends Global Sales, the firm hired by the Falcons to run the seat-license program. “There has been a high rate of acceptance to where this is going and what the benefits and the game-day experience are going to be in the new stadium. … Over-arching, we feel really good about where this process is right now.”

Drake said he expects a surge in contracts and down payments around April 10, the next in a series of deadlines for current season-ticket holders to make decisions.

Since sales began, the AJC has interviewed about two dozen Falcons season-ticket holders who met with sales representatives in the stadium preview center off Northside Parkway.

Some said they bought PSLs because of their excitement about the stadium and its planned amenities. Others said they walked away because of unhappiness about the prices. And others said they declined to buy club seats, but placed their names on priority lists to consider cheaper locations when prices are set for the rest of the stadium in the coming months.

Marty Zobel is in the latter group.

A Falcons season-ticket holder since 1980, he has four seats on the first row at the 50-yard line on the visitor’s sideline in the Georgia Dome. “They are incredible seats,” he said last week. But comparable seats in the new stadium will carry PSL fees of $45,000 each — $180,000 for four.

“My wife said that would be a great down payment on a real nice beach house with a really big TV,” Zobel said. “… Needless to say, I didn’t buy.”

He said he considers the club-seat prices “absolute lunacy for me and the working-class people that have sat around me for many years.”

That comment represents one of the main complaints about PSLs: that the prices displace some loyal fans and long-time season-ticket holders from their prime, close-to-the-field seats, which become more likely to be bought by corporations.

Zobel said he plans to wait until PSL and ticket prices are set for non-club seats — probably early this summer — before deciding whether to buy elsewhere in the stadium.

“If they’re too insane, I guess I’ll buy some tickets on (re-seller) StubHub for a game or two a year,” he said.

So far the Falcons have announced prices and commenced sales for only the stadium’s better seats — lower-level seats between the 20-yard lines and mezzanine-level seats between the 30-yard lines above the suites. All of those are classified as club seats, meaning they will include access to swanky lounges and other perks.

The number of seats sold at this point is not known because the Falcons haven’t provided signed contracts to the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which is subject to the state’s Open Records Act.

But according to a process agreed upon recently by the team and the GWCCA, a copy of which was obtained by the AJC, the Falcons will submit all signed seat-license contracts to the GWCCA for approval by May 31. After that, additional contracts are to be submitted monthly or in batches of 50, whichever comes first.

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