Minnesota is less than a month from its first game in TCF Bank Stadium, but a slumping economy and decision by state lawmakers to ban alcohol in the new facility have stalled sales of luxury seats.
With the first game set for Sept. 12 against Air Force, about half the indoor club seats and a quarter of the private suites are unsold, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The sluggish sales have forced officials to make the luxury seats available for single-game purchase.
To make matters worse, 15 fans canceled premium seat contracts after the alcohol ban was announced. Nearly all said the ban was the reason. Officials reacted to the cancellations by offering luxury seats at a 10% discount.
All totaled, the decision to ban alcohol sales could result in the athletic department bringing in $2 million less than anticipated from the new stadium.
The university's Board of Regents actually approved the sale of alcohol in premium seating areas in December, but in May lawmakers banned the sale of alcohol in any part of the stadium unless it was sold throughout.
Faced with a conundrum, the regents decided to ban sales altogether.
Making matters worse is that Williams and Mariucci arenas, where the basketball and hockey teams play, are now included in the alcohol ban. Those facilities had premium seating where fans could drink alcohol. The impact of sales on those seats is not yet known, but athletic director Joe Maturi said it might mean the athletic department finishes the year in the red.
Thanks to the Midwest Correspondent.