BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Just as you need a license to drive, Bills fans will need a license to buy their season tickets.
Bottom line: A PSL, or personal seat license, provides another revenue stream for pro teams, generally to help pay for a new stadium or upgrades to an existing facility. But you only pay once.
Ron Raccuia, the Buffalo Bills Executive VP, has been saying for close to a year that Bills’ season ticketholders can expect a new wrinkle in the gameplan for a new stadium.
UB Law professor Helen Drew told News 4 the Bills are actually late to the game with the personal seat licenses, which tend to help spread out the costs to the team, the new stadium, and the cost to taxpayers.
Buffalo State economics professor Fred Floss likens the PSL to a tax on season ticketholders.
“To be able to make it look like their season tickets are a little bit cheaper than they really are,” he said. “For corporations and other individuals that can deduct these from their taxes, this makes it a good deal.”
PSLs can very widely in cost, depending on where they are levied. We saw seat licenses for the Dallas Cowboys listed on the resale market for as much as $180,000 for the most-expensive club seats, to as little as $1,100 for the Cleveland Browns — about where the Bills licenses are expected to go.
“$1,000, $1,100 is pretty much as low as most of them go, at least on the initial marketplace,“ Drew said. “The secondary marketplace can get a little bit dicey depending on how the team is doing.”
Drew told News 4 PSLs go by other names, depending on the team. In some cases, the seat licenses provide other benefits.
“It might be a discount on parking, it might be discounted prices in the merchandise store, or concessions, sometimes there are personal meet and greets,” she said.
“We know our fans, we know this market,” Raccuia said. “We will not price them out of this market.”
Drew says PSLs can get complicated — if you fail to renew your season ticket, you would forfeit the license.
But on the other hand, they hold value and can be sold. When the Rams moved back to Los Angeles, they had to pay back some of the licenseholders left behind in Saint Louis.
Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.