Falcons’ PSL plan: $10,000 to $45,000 for club seats

AJC exclusive: First look at seat-license prices for new stadium

The Atlanta Falcons will seek as much as $45,000 from fans for personal seat licenses in the new stadium under construction downtown, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

The Falcons intend to present their PSL pricing plan for the stadium’s club seats to the Georgia World Congress Center Authority board at a special meeting Thursday. Sales will begin next week if the board approves.

The plan, obtained exclusively by the AJC on Wednesday, calls for the $45,000 license fee to apply to each of 1,200 lower-bowl seats near the 50-yard line. Another 6,500 prime seats will carry PSLs ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 each.

The plan covers roughly 11 percent of the seats in the 71,000-seat stadium. Seat licenses also will be required for all other seats sold as season tickets, but those prices won’t be determined until later in the year. They are expected to be set at various price points below $10,000.

A common form of stadium financing around the NFL, but never before used by an Atlanta pro sports franchise, personal seat licenses are one-time fees for the right to buy season tickets in a specific seat for the length of a team’s stadium lease — 30 years in the case of the new Falcons facility. PSL buyers are allowed to transfer or sell the licenses to family members or other parties.

The Falcons’ seat-license prices are lower than those set in recent years by the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, whose PSL prices for new stadiums went as high as $150,000 and $80,000, respectively. But the Falcons’ prices are higher than those set by the Minnesota Vikings, who are charging no more than $9,500 for PSLs in their new stadium under construction in Minneapolis.

If the GWCCA board approves the Falcons’ plan, the team will begin scheduling meetings Monday with current season-ticket holders, according to Michael Drake, vice president of Legends Global Sales, the firm hired by the Falcons to oversee the sales program.

Drake said the Falcons are committed to offering all current season-ticket holders “first crack” at a comparable seat location in the new stadium.

The $1.4 billion retractable-roof stadium, being built on a site adjacent to the Georgia Dome, is scheduled to open in 2017. The Dome will be demolished when the new stadium is completed.

Seat-license sales will focus on club seats through May or so, Drake said. After that, attention will turn to other seats in the stadium.

The plan the Falcons will present to the GWCCA board Thursday includes these areas of the stadium:

  • The seats requiring $45,000 PSLs — representing about 1.5 percent of the building's total seats — will be located in the lower bowl between the 45-yard lines on both sides of the stadium. These seats will include food and beverage in the Founders Club, billed as the stadium's most exclusive space, and parking. In addition to the one-time PSL fee, tickets in these sections will be set at $385 per game ($3,850 per season) for the first three years in the stadium.
  • PSLs will cost $20,000 for lower-bowl seats between the 30- and 45-yard lines and $15,000 for lower-bowl seats between the 20- and 30-yard lines. These seats will include access to 30,000-square foot Champions Club lounges located below the seats and to a patio area on the field behind the team benches. Ticket prices in these sections will be $365 and $345 per game in the stadium's first three years.
  • Higher in the stadium, above the suites level, sections of club seats between the 30-yard lines will carry PSLs costing $10,000 per seat. These seats will have access to a club space called the Piedmont Club. Tickets in these sections will cost $325 per game through the stadium's first three years.

A seat license ensures the buyer a specific seat for all Falcons games — provided the buyer renews his or her season tickets each year at the prevailing price each year. Failure to renew season tickets would effectively forfeit the licenses back to the Falcons, unless the owners transfer the PSLs to another party.

PSL owners won’t be guaranteed access to the same seats for other events in the stadium.

The $45,000 PSLs will come with a guaranteed right to purchase tickets for all events in the stadium, although not in the same seat. PSLs in other club areas will include priority access to tickets for most events in the stadium.

The Falcons will offer three options for PSL payment terms, according to Drake: full cost upfront; three equal installments without interest paid off by the time the stadium opens in March 2017; or financing over 10 years, at 8.5 percent interest after 2017.

Proceeds from the seat-license sales will go toward the cost of building the stadium. Bonds backed by Atlanta hotel-motel taxes are slated to cover $200 million of the construction cost. The rest will come from the Falcons, the NFL and seat-license sales.