Lifelong Falcons fan Terry Whitehead’s done the math, and she estimates her four season tickets will cost her over $94,000 at the new stadium.
“94? That’s out of our reach, and that’s out of our intelligence. Who does that?” said Whitehead.
Someone will, the Falcons hope. The new Personal Seat Licenses, or “PSLs,” mean you own your seat for 30 years. Right now the best spots, near the 50-yard line, are going for $45,000.
J.C. Bradbury, Chair of Sport Management at Kennesaw State University, told WABE "It’s interesting how the sports marketplaces change... You don’t have the blue collar peanuts and popcorn crowd anymore. Basically you have people who want steaks and martinis, and that’s been a trend at all these new stadiums.”
Personal seat licenses got their start in college sports, said Bradbury. "Alumni weren’t hesitating to throw down $10,000, and so pro teams said ‘Well hey maybe we can do this too.'”
Bradbury says PSLs are a way for team owners to raise money quickly as they finance new venues or big renovations.
The first Falcons PSLs go on sale Monday. It’ll be the beginning of the end for fans like Terry Whitehead, along with her sister and 81 year old mother, who’s never missed a game. Whitehead says she’ll cheer on the team until the old Georgia Dome’s last days in 2017
"But after that, once the stadium’s completed and they move into it? We’re out. And it’s horrible,” said Whitehead.
For Falcons fans who can’t or won’t put up the dough, lower priced PSLs are coming out later this year.
Falcons Vice President of Sales Michael Drake says eventually, nearly every seat in the stadium will be sold as PSLs. He says the team will roll out an affordable range of PSLs for the remainder of the building.
"Arthur [Blank]'s given us the direction of, ‘Do not price my fan base out of the stadium,’” said Drake.