Stadium PSLs are a ripoff for fans, but good business for Raiders

Updated July 17, 2018 - 8:38 pm

Let’s dispense with formalities: A personal seat license is every bit the ripoff it has been portrayed to be for decades.

It’s a corporate scam in the most obvious manner, one way really rich people pay for really expensive stadiums without having to use their ATM card.

But a funny thing gets missed on the way to condemning yet another NFL franchise for making hundreds of millions of dollars through the practice that allows someone the right to purchase season tickets for a certain seat:

It’s damn good business.

Ridiculous in nature and intent, but good business.

Personal Seat Licenses Las Vegas Review-Journal
The construction site for the Raiders stadium in Las Vegas on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco

The sticker shock you knew would be attached to seats in the soon-to-be 65,000-seat palace of the Raiders, set to open in 2020, is now front and center for you to see and bemoan, with PSLs going on sale Tuesday in reserved-seating areas.

Those range from $3,900 to $15,000 per seat.

Earlier, it was reported that PSLs for club and other premium seats were $20,000 to $75,000 each.

Yeah. That’s what you pay so you can then buy the actual season ticket.

Welcome to the NFL, Las Vegas, for good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unjust.

If you’re not willing or able to pay the PSL freight, someone else is and will, and the Raiders know it. They weren’t just happy with the response for club and premium seats, all of which are almost sold out. They were ecstatic, particularly when more than 70 percent of the purchases came from Nevada addresses.

I would assume an even higher rate of those within the state will buy the lower-priced reserved seats, because there is an obvious hunger for the NFL here. You might not be part of such euphoria, but it exists, and the Raiders are in the midst of proving it as seats continue to be purchased.

Look, the market will bear what it bears, and given the Raiders believe they can generate $500 million in revenue through PSLs, the math tells us Nevada will have played a much larger financial part in constructing this stadium than originally reported.

Sure, it’s all semantics, but when you consider the Raiders are on the hook for $1.1 billion of the $1.8 billion stadium price tag and such a large chunk of the team’s bill will come from PSLs, the idea that we as a state will be responsible for less than 50 percent of the cost is laughable.

It reminds us about the debate of direct versus indirect costs to residents regarding the $750 million hotel room tax — yes, such funds could potentially go to things like schools, police, fire departments and roads instead of a stadium — and yet there is no debating that Nevada now owns a higher stake in the project than any other entity involved.

Which is how things have worked in most NFL stadium deals.

I don’t blame the Raiders for trying to make as much money as they can via PSLs. This is their world. You can define it as greed, and there are numerous examples across the NFL brand to support such a label, but it has proved to be an incredibly successful business model.

Of course a percentage of fans will resent the team. Of course the Raiders might, in some cases, be trading loyalty for profit. Of course the time of a PSL being a great investment because you could sell it on the secondary market has changed as teams substantially increase the initial price, costing some fans thousands of dollars on average the past several years.

None of this is pretty. Not when you’re talking about shelling out such large amounts of cash to make an already-profitable industry even richer with no equivalent return.

But it’s reality. It’s how things work, and the Raiders have every right to take advantage.

So now you know. The sticker shock is here.

I get most folks desire equity in, say, their home, and not a nosebleed view of an NFL game.

I also realize the car I just purchased would equal that of about half a club seat in the Raiders’ stadium, which makes me wonder: Would that come with a free half of a hot dog, too?

Because when it comes to a PSL, it might be damn good business for the team owner, but bargains are limited for those paying the freight.

Welcome to the NFL, Las Vegas, is right.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Raiders Videos
Vegas Nation Mailbag
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Review-Journal sports writer Gilbert Manzano go over the hot takes from Raiders fans.
Vegas Nation: Bryant and Roberts return to practice
Raiders beat writer Micheal Gehlken goes over how Martavis Bryant and Seth Roberts return to practice and how Jon Gruden is training quarterback Connor Cook.
Gruden Looks Towards End of Training Camp, LA Rams Game
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden talks about the team's final full day of training camp as well as the team's upcoming preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Vegas Nation: Donald Penn Returns
Bryan Salmond is in studio and Michael Gehlken reports on Donald Penn's return to practice from Napa, CA on August 14, 2018.
Donald Penn Returns to Practice
Oakland Raiders tackle Donald Penn returns to practice for the first time in nearly eight months after an Lisfranc fracture in Dec. The veteran tackle speaks to the media what it's like being back and potentially moving to right tackle.
Vegas Nation: Conley Returns, Bryant Absent
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the Gareon Conley returning to practice.
Vegas Nation Stadium Show: Stadium And Practice Facility Update
Vegas Nation Stadium Host Bill Bradley, Rick Velotta and Eli Segall go over the progress on the Raiders stadium and practice facility in Las Vegas.
Vegas Nation: Preseason Preview
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over what to expect from the Raiders first preseason game.
Vegas Nation: Day 2 of Joint Practice
Michael Gehlken and Gilbert Manzano report from Napa, CA on the second day of joint practice between the Oakland Raiders and the Detroit Lions.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Oakland Raiders
Todd Dewey, Johnny Avello and Kelly Stewart go over the odds for the Oakland Raiders upcoming season.
Gruden Wraps Up Final Joint Practice with Lions
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden talks to the media about practicing with the Detroit Lions, how Martavis Bryant is doing in camp, and an update on Donald Penn.
Vegas Nation: Training Camp Joint Practice
Michael Gehlken and Gilbert Manzano cover day one of the two day joint session between the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions.
Raiders Host First Joint Practice with Lions
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. talk about what it was like practicing with the Detroit Lions on Tuesday.
Vegas Nation: Raiders preparing for joint practice with Lions
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken provides an update on Obi Melifonwu performance in practice as well as the Raiders preparation for the joint practice with the Detroit Lions starting Tuesday.
Vegas Nation: Day 7 Of Training Camp
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the seventh day of Raiders training camp.
Vegas Nation: Peyton Manning Visits Raiders
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over Raiders practice and Peyton Manning visiting the teams camp.
Raiders React to Fifth Day of Training Camp
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, safety Reggie Nelson and center Rodney Hudson respond to questions from the media on the team's fifth day of training camp.
Vegas Nation: Oakland Raiders training camp Day 3
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the team's third day of training camp, discuss what Gareon Conley's injury, review the team's first day in pads and what the Raiders will look to do at running back.
Former Raiders' linebacker Villapiano discuss Raiders' move
Former Raiders linebacker Phil Villapiano speaks with Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney about the team's impending move to Las Vegas.
Vegas Nation: Oakland Raiders training camp Day 2
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the team's second day of training camp, discuss Gareon Conley missing sessions and what it'll be like when the team starts practicing with pads on Sunday.
Raiders Look Forward to First Practice with Pads on Sunday
Greg Olson, Kelechi Osemele and Doug Martin react to team's first practice with pads on Sunday
Vegas Nation: Olson believes Carr, QBs have developed "thick skin" under Gruden
Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson explains how the Raiders quarterbacks have responded to Jon Gruden's tough coaching style.
Vegas Nation: Olson pleased with progress of rookie linemen Miller, Parker
Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson describes what he has seen out of rookie offensive linemen Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker so far.
Raiders React To First Day Of Training Camp
Jon Gruden, Derek Carr and Kolton Miller react to the first day of training camp.
Vegas Nation: Martin calls Raiders O-Line "the best" he's ran behind
Raiders running back Doug Martin speaks no how different it is running behind his new offensive line in Oakland
Vegas Nation: Raiders Training Camp Day 1
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond, Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Raiders first day of training camp.
Vegas Nation: Miller on Penn, Jackson helping him out
Raiders rookie tackle Kolton Miller talks about the veterans he has leaned on during the offseason
Vegas Nation: Miller happy about weight gain
Raiders offensive tackle Kolton Miller talks about his weight gain prior to training camp.
Vegas Nation: Carr says Kolton Miller is "ready"
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr shares his thoughts on Kolton Miller—compliments the rookie's physical progression during offseason.
Vegas Nation: Carr "confident" in executing Gruden's offense
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr details what it's like learning Jon Gruden's offense.
Raiders BBQ
On Friday, July 20, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden hosted — and paid for — a free barbecue for Raiders fans. Gruden teamed up with the Raiders and Ricky's Sports Theater and Grill in San Leandro, Calif. as a way to show thanks and gratitude for the support of the Raider Nation. Over 500 Raiders fans showed up to the event that had music, raffles, and appearances from Raiders alumni. This was the final event before the Raiders begin their training camp next week in Napa. Chris Booker Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like