Copyright 2017 LV Stadium Company, LLC
Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Do not expect to walk up to the box office at the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium and buy a ticket on any given Sunday.
Even placing a season ticket deposit today — more than three years from the team’s first Las Vegas kickoff — might not get you into the game.
What you might think is a $100 deposit toward Raiders season tickets actually is money that will go toward what is known as a personal seat license, or PSL. It’s the ticket before the ticket.
What exactly is a PSL?
Purchasing a stadium personal seat license (PSL) buys you the right to later buy Raiders season tickets. The PSL contract gives you exclusive rights to a specific seat for every Raiders game in the new Las Vegas stadium. If you put down a $100 deposit through the Raiders website in the past few months, you put yourself in line to buy up to four PSLs. You only will need to pay the PSL fee once.
How much does a PSL cost?
The price will vary, but expect to spend at least $500-$1,000 per PSL. In that price range, you will likely sit in the last few rows of the upper deck in an end zone seat. If you want seats 25 rows from the field on the 50-yard line, start saving your money now — the Atlanta Falcons sold those PSLs for $45,000 per seat, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opens this season.
At an average cost of $4,000 per PSL, the Raiders plan to raise at least $250 million toward building the new 65,000-seat stadium.
How do they expect me to afford that?
Maybe you could sell your old baseball cards on eBay? Otherwise, start saving now or make sure you have good credit. NFL teams often offer financing arrangements, advertised on the same web page containing PSL information. For example, Atlanta’s PSL financing requires a down payment of 40 percent and then annual payments on the remaining 60 percent over nine years at 8.5 percent annual interest.
Can I buy Raiders season tickets without buying a PSL?
Nope. You must purchase a PSL before you will have the opportunity to buy season tickets for the Las Vegas Raiders.
What happens if I buy a PSL and in the future I can’t afford or don’t want season tickets?
If the cost of a PSL does not bother you, this might. A PSL does not just grant you the right to purchase tickets — it obligates you to buy season seats every year.
PSL contracts for the New York Giants, New York Jets and Chicago Bears all state explicitly that license holders must buy season tickets every year to keep their seat license. If you do not purchase season tickets, the team can revoke your PSL, keep your money and resell the license to the next person on the waiting list.
A season ticket package requires purchase of two preseason games, eight regular-season games and any potential conference playoff games. Some teams will allow you to turn down postseason tickets, which they will try to sell as single-game seats. If they cannot, you still owe the cost of the tickets.
Will I be able to buy Raiders single-game tickets if I don’t buy a PSL and season tickets?
Unlikely. Most NFL teams sell out both their full allotment of PSLs and season tickets, and also keep a waiting list for those interested in future season-ticket sales.
Even spurned Oakland fans continue to buy season tickets at the Coliseum. After Raiders owner Mark Davis said he would refund season tickets for any Oakland fans angry about the team’s move, just 1,000 people turned in their seats — which resold almost immediately.
More than 50,000 people have placed deposits on Raiders PSLs. Of those, 43 percent come from Nevada and 29 percent are from California. People from the other 48 states, Mexico and Canada make up the remaining 28 percent.
Why are the Raiders doing this? Do all NFL teams do it?
The PSL structure exists throughout the NFL. The first PSLs were sold 30 years ago when a Charlotte, N.C., group organized a season-ticket drive while trying to attract the NBA. Selling PSLs while building a new stadium today qualifies as common practice — Elliott McCabe, Bank of America’s point man for stadium financing, said last week that a typical PSL sale can raise $350 million-$500 million.
The Raiders need this money as the primary source of their contribution toward building the $1.8 billion stadium and $100 million practice facility. Nevada will put in $750 million — the largest public stadium subsidy in American history — and the Raiders will take $850 million in loans from Bank of America and the NFL. PSL sales and stadium naming rights will comprise most of the remaining $300 million owed by the Raiders.
Who gets my money when I buy a PSL?
The financial structure of Raiders PSL sales requires a flowchart you likely don’t want to read. Know this: Your PSL check funnels directly into stadium construction. You ultimately will license your seat from the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, the government body responsible for overseeing the construction and operation of the facility. The stadium authority will own both the stadium and the 62 acres of land on which it sits after the Raiders transfer ownership of the parcel for free. The team paid $77.5 million for the plot off Russell Road west of Interstate 15.
Do I actually own my physical seat or have some equity in the stadium? Or even the Raiders?
These aren’t the Green Bay Packers — you own nothing. In fact, if you damage “your” seat, some PSL contracts obligate you to pay for the cost of repairing it.
When will the Raiders start selling PSLs for the Las Vegas stadium?
Not soon. The Las Vegas Stadium Authority first must complete multiple contracts governing the transfer and sale of PSLs before the team can sell them. That work likely will wrap up by October. Architects and construction personnel continue to work on stadium design as well, meaning no seating chart yet exists. Construction companies Mortenson and McCarthy plan to break ground on the stadium in late November.
Will locals get the first shot at buying them?
The Raiders must navigate a delicate situation here. The team has not yet determined the process for PSL sales, but the Raiders must strike a balance between new Las Vegas fans with current Oakland season ticket holders.
The team encourages Oakland fans to put down a Las Vegas deposit in the FAQ section of its PSL deposit website: “Current Raiders Season Tickets Members who place a deposit by Sept. 1, 2017, and whose Season Ticket Member accounts remain in good standing as long as the Raiders play in Oakland will receive this special opportunity to purchase seats at the new Las Vegas Stadium.”
Can I sell my PSL or give it to someone else?
You can sell or transfer your PSL, but you cannot simply return it to the team for a refund. PSL contracts make it clear that your license can depreciate — many Jets and San Francisco 49ers fans are selling PSLs for 50 percent of their original cost as those teams struggle on the field.
Will I also get the right to buy season tickets in my seats for UNLV football games?
That remains a negotiating point between the Raiders and UNLV football, who will share the new stadium. Jeremy Aguero, the Las Vegas Stadium Authority’s contracted staff lead, said UNLV would need to consent to its football games being included in a Raiders PSL agreement, per the terms of Senate Bill 1. That state legislation provided Nevada’s $750 million contribution.
How about other events at the stadium?
Another matter to be negotiated. It remains possible that a Raiders PSL could offer the holder the first chance to buy tickets to concerts and other stadium events. Many other NFL teams restrict PSL rights only to NFL games.
Did the Vegas Golden Knights sell PSLs at T-Mobile Arena?
No. The deposits placed by Golden Knights fans applied directly to season ticket purchases, with no seat licenses involved.