Peter J. Jessen

"Goals Per Action" Success Consultant · · 9931 SW 61st Ave., Portland, OR 97219 · Tel: 503.977.3240 · Fax: 503.977.3239

Subject:The Stadium Situation:
Vikings 29th out of 31;
plus more ways to generate revenues for the stadium, state  and team.
Submitted to the Minnesota Legislature Stadium Task Force: Steve Sviggum, House Speaker, and Roger D. Moe, Senate Majority Leader

(Copy sent to MN legislature, House Speaker, Steve Sviggum and Senate President Roger Moe and others: Roy Terwilliger, Larry Fitzgerald, John Marty, David Jennings, Sarah Psick, Victor Moore, Tom Hanson)

From: Peter Jessen
Emailed October 08, 2001

Key question:  “Why aren’t the Fortune 500 of the Twin Cities supporting the area's #1 team, the area’s favorite team, as sponsors?”

This question still haunts.  It is  particularly apt when one considers the myth in the Twin Cities and Minnesota, expressed in different articles, that four teams cannot be supported.  Given the legislature's attempts to provide a baseball stadium, the establishment of the basketball arena, and the new arena for hockey, it is almost as if everyone has decided that the Vikings have to go.   It is important that the legislature send a clear signal that this is on dog it won't send out to hunt, that this is one train on which it is not riding.   But if it is on board with that, then it also needs to tell its constituents that such is the case, and then let them decide from their response whether they are in agreement with you.   Except for Gophers only fans, Minnesota would be very upset to learn of this belief about the Vikings, and would rise up and urge the two sides to work it out so that the Vikings can say.

I noted earlier that due to the attacks of 9-11, I would delay in sending the attached materials. With our counter-attack underway, this is a good time to resume the discussion.  American has business to attend to in terms of the War on Terrorism.  American also yearns for normalcy, to get back to the same old routines.   That will be impossible.  And yet the sports teams of cities provide their fans, city/state/nation wide a respite from this seriious business at hand.  One could say that professional sports are needed even more, given the task at hand, its duration, and its seriousness.  What better relief each week of the  Fall than respite with the NFL, and then later during the Winter with the NBA and then with MLB in the Spring and Summer?  And then there is also soccer, hockey, and other sports and interests.

Extracts taken from a series of articles from re the 31 stadiums (<>). Vikings are ranked #29 out of 31.  The major difference between theVikings and the other 3 lowest rank teams is that the other three (#'s 28, 30, 31) have low fan support.  The Vikings have great fan support.  But, and this is the key question of the attachment on NFL stadiums, even though all of the new stadiums are tax payer supported in part, the articles says "Taxpayers showing no suport for new stadium." But what the article really finds unbelievable is the situation it raises in this question:

This issue of Fortune has excellent biz ops suggestions/ideas that any team can benefit from, and use them to add to the 40 ways in 26 categories to generate revenues outlined in the Generic Model I submitted to you August 10th.  It might be useful to survey what all the other teams are doing and take that info, plus select from the 40 suggestions in my stadium proposal, re additional ways, NOW, that the Vikings can generate more revenue, as a way to move more closely to resolving the underlying issues.  The attachments on stadium suites demonstrates how they help the team.  In light of the 1986 Federal law suggesting only 10% of revenues from stadiums go to cities/regions, it would appear that these attached articles point toward compromise, ways in which both team and state can come together to use a partial amount of stadium revenues to help fund the amount the Vikings had hoped would be covered by the half cent tax on motels and hotels.  In this way, the stadium issue is solved, no new tax dollars are used, as the stadium could thus be built under current statues without needing to go to the legislature.  But certainly the legislature could help mediate this difference, help close the gap, and help get the stadium project back on track.

Again, any way in which I can help, let me know.  That goes for Otis Courtney and as well.


NFL Stadiums

Minnesota Vikings are ranked #29

(see page 3 below)

Stadium situation of the 31 teams, Forbes magazine, summarized off of

#1:  Washington Redskins:
Own great stadium, but team and stadium are heavily leveraged.
Major corporate sponsors are Exxon Mobil, Federal Express, Papa John's Pizza. Federal Express has stadium naming rights.

#2:  Dallas Cowboys:
Team controls lease to stadium and is extremely well marketed.
Major corporate sponsors are General Motors, Miller Brewing, Pepsi-Cola Co..

#3:  Cleveland Browns:
Excellent lease in great stadium.
Great football town. Major corporate sponsors are MBNA, OfficeMax, Giant Eagle.

#4:  Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Excellent lease in new stadium; adding 24 luxury suites for 2001. 
Major corporate sponsors are Amerada Hess, Checkers, Verizon Communications. Raymond James Financial has stadium naming rights.

#5:  Carolina Panthers:
Great stadium adding huge suite for 2001.
Team marketed superbly. Major corporate sponsors are Bank of America, DaimlerChrysler, Lowe's Cos.. Ericsson has stadium naming rights.

#6:  Baltimore Ravens:
Great lease in new stadium. 
Major corporate sponsors are Bank of America, Miller Brewing, Verizon Communications. PSINet has stadium naming rights.

#7:  Denver Broncos:
Getting new stadium for 2001 season with good lease. Great fan support.
Major corporate sponsors are Safeway, Coca-Cola, Invesco Funds Group. Invesco has stadium naming rights.

#8:  Tennessee Titans: 
Excellent lease in new, almost completely taxpayer financed stadium.
Major corporate sponsors are AmSouth Bank, KFC, Toyota. Adelphia has stadium naming rights.

#9:  New England Patriots:
Privately financed (excluding infrastructure) stadium expected to open in 2002.
Major corporate sponsors are CMGI, FleetBoston Financial, Nextel Communications.   Privately financed (excluding infrastructure) stadium expected to open in 2002.
Major corporate sponsors are CMGI, FleetBoston Financial, Nextel Communications.

#10:  Miami Dolphins:
Team owns highly leveraged stadium. Three suites added for 2000 season.
Major corporate sponsors are American Ailrines, Hooters, Marriott International.

#11:  Jacksonville Jaguars:
Good lease in new stadium. But very small market.
Major corporate sponsors are Alltel, AMC Entertainment, Anheuser-Busch. Alltel has stadium naming rights.

#12:  Cleveland Browns:
Paid almost nothing for new stadium and have the best lease in football.
Major corporate sponsors are Enron, McDonald's, National City Bank

#13:  Pittsburgh Steelers:
Moving into new public/private financed stadium in 2001.
Major corporate sponsors are Home Depot, PNC Bank & Trust, Coca-Cola. Heinz has stadium naming rights.

#14:  St. Louis Rams:
Excellent lease in new stadium, but St. Louis is not a big football city.
Major corporate sponsors are A.G. Edwards Investments, Federal Express, Dodge. Trans World Airlines has stadium naming rights.

#15:  Seattle Seahawks:
Moving into new public/private financed stadium in 2002.
Major corporate sponsors are Microsoft, Starbucks, Volvo.

#16:  Detroit Lions:
Current lease may prohibit team from moving into new stadium by 2002.
Major corporate sponsors are Comcast, Comerica, Ford.

#17  New York Jets:
Unfavorable lease in antiquated stadium, but great football market.
Major corporate sponsors are Delta Air Lines, First Union, Modell's Sporting Goods.

#18:  San Francisco Giants:
Mediocre lease in outdated stadium.
Major corporate sponsors are Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo!. 3Com has stadium naming rights.

#19:  New York Giants:
Unfavorable lease in antiquated stadium, but great football market.
Major corporate sponsors are Chase Manhattan, Toyota, Visa.

#20:  San Diego Chargers:
Mediocre lease in outdated stadium.
Major corporate sponsors are adidas-Salomon, Atlantic Richfield, Lexus. Qualcomm has stadium naming rights.

#21:  Kansas City Chiefs:
Good lease. Team looking for $150million upgrade of stadium.
Major corporate sponsors are Circuit City, Ford, Sprint.

#22:  Philadelphia Eagles:
Should have new stadium for 2003 season.
Major corporate sponsors are Coors Brewing, DaimlerChrysler, Exxon Mobil.

#23:  Buffalo Bills:
Improved lease and specialty seating in 1999. Small but great football town.
Major corporate sponsors are Blockbuster Entertainment, HSBC Bank, Verizon Wireless.

#24:  Greenbay Packers:
Lambeau Field getting $295million renovation, due for completion in 2003.
Major corporate sponsors are Miller Brewing, Pepsi-Cola, Verizon.

#25:  New Orleans Saints:
Improved lease guarantees team $12.5million in operating cash starting 2001.
Major corporate sponsors are General Motors, Hershey Foods, Winn-Dixie.

#26:  Baltimore Colts:
City paid for $20million to add 3,600 club seats for 1999 season.
Major corporate sponsors are Conseco, Motorola, Sprint. RCA has stadium naming rights.

#27:  Chicago Bears:
Financing secured for $580million renovation of stadium and nearby area.
Major corporate sponsors are Charter One Bank, Nike, United Airlines.

#28:  Oakland Raiders:
Poor fan support, ownership in disarray.
Major corporate sponsors are General Motors, Pacific Telisis, Wells Fargo. Network Associates has stadium naming rights.

#29:  Minnesota Vikings:
Taxpayers showing no support for new stadium.
Major corporate sponsors are Dodge, International Dairy Queen, WorldCom.

Key question:  why aren’t the Fortune 500 of the Twin Cities supporting the areas #1 team, the area’s favorite team, as sponsors?

#30:  Arizona Cardinals:
Poor fan support. Construction of new stadium currently halted in early stages.
Major corporate sponsors are Anheuser-Busch, MBNA, Staples.

#31:  Atlanta Falcons:
Good lease, but poor fan support.
Major corporate sponsors are Coca-Cola, Motorola, Southern Company.

Compiled, typed, and highlighted, by Peter Jessen, 9-6-01

NFL Caters to Box Holders With Porcupines, Psychics, Bands Reprinted with permission of Bloomberg News

New York -- From traveling zoos and psychics to golf outings and trips to the Super Bowl, National Football League teams are willing to do almost anything to please their luxury suite owners.

That's no surprise considering that the posh stadium boxes lease for as much as $300,000 a year and their wealthy owners -- mostly businesses -- have so many other ways to spend their entertainment dollars.

Revenue from luxury suites can reach $14 million a year for the 29 of 31 teams that get it, and -- unlike most other money a team generates -- doesn't have to be shared with the rest of the league. That's plenty of incentive for teams to be extra attentive to the people in the boxes.

"You can't just lease them a suite for 10 games and say, `We'll see you next year,' because you might not,'' said Dennis Mannion, the Baltimore Ravens' vice president of marketing. "This is an exclusive club, where helping you improve your business and make new friends is our top priority.''

The suites often include televisions, bars, refrigerators and sound systems. Owners can use them anytime, even when there's no game, for any function ranging from entertaining customers to hosting a family reunion.

Suite owners include big corporations like FedEx Corp. and closely held companies like ACCU Staffing Services in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

NFL teams want to make sure that their clients feel they are getting their money's worth, so they stage social events and try to foster business connections.

"That's the next wave of suite marketing,'' Mannion said. "I think you really have to be able to show these people how they can use this resource more effectively to improve their revenue and business contacts.''

The Philadelphia Eagles, for example, try to keep their suite holders happy by scheduling events during the spring and summer. Since the Phillies also play at Veterans Stadium, Eagles suite holders get season tickets for the baseball team, too.

This spring, Ron Frickle of the Philadelphia Zoo brought his "Zoo on Wheels'' program to the stadium. Frickle, the zoo's senior director of education, entertained box holders with boa constrictors, lizards, parrots and porcupines.

Another night, the Greater Kensington String Band, which performs in Philadelphia's annual Mummers Parade, went from box to box playing such standards as "Golden Slippers.'' The Eagles even brought in local psychic Susan Samans to visit families in the suites.

"The kids were pre-teen and into dating, and I would tell them whether a guy was right or wrong for them,'' Samans said. "The adults were more into business deals.''

Outside the stadium, there are team-sponsored softball tournaments, a touch football tournament, a dinner cruise on the Delaware River, and a question-and-answer luncheon with coach Andy Reid and owner Jeffrey Lurie during training camp.

"All these activities add value to the relationship with our suite holders,'' said Len Komoroski, the Eagles' senior vice president of business operations. "When it comes time to renew, hopefully you won't want to leave your friends or miss all these great things we're doing.''

Doris Damm, president of ACCU Staffing Services, said the add-ons are nice, but her company uses the suite mostly to entertain clients during baseball and football games.

She said she's been able to track 15 percent of company's revenue to sales made in the suite, so her company will pay $165,000 a year for a suite in the Eagles' new stadium when it opens in 2003. That's up from $110,000 at Veteran's Stadium, and the new stadium won't include the Phillies games because the baseball team is getting its own ballpark.

"It's a chance to schmooze a little and let your customers get to know you as a person rather than as sales call,'' Damm said. "It also lets them tell you what you're doing right and wrong, in a more relaxed atmosphere.''

Other NFL teams are also going out of their way to entertain suite holders.

The Georgia Dome in Atlanta -- which operates the boxes at the stadium and keeps the revenue from them -- arranges for suite owners to play golf on some of the state's finest private courses. The Detroit Lions are the only other NFL team that doesn't receive suite income.

"Our people tend to like nice things, but they like it all prepared for them so they can just write the check and enjoy themselves,'' said Mark Giles, executive services manager for the Georgia Dome.

In Baltimore, the Ravens are creating a computer system for suite holders so they can communicate with each other during games. There are also technology nights where the latest gadgets are on display, an exclusive line of merchandise for suite users, and free trips to the Super Bowl.

Rich Inman, vice president of closely held James Tower in North Mankato, Minnesota, leases a software program called to help suite holders make better use of their luxury boxes.
The program, which costs between $12,000 and $20,000 a year, helps companies keep track of which salespeople are using the suites. It can also be used to buy additional tickets and order concessions.

"A lot of organizations look at the money and say, `This is a lot for client entertainment. How do I justify this?''' Inman said. "A lot of stadiums are working to help them answer that question.''

--Curtis Eichelberger covers the NFL for Bloomberg News and can be reached at

Copyright ©1999-2000 CEOExpress Company.

From Bloomberg News Service, as posted on
Copied and highlighted by Peter Jessen, September 2, 2001.