Extra fee for seats is possible They're Baltimore's Browns

Ticket depositers could face surcharge on required licenses

Prices still up in air

Modell reassures fans on seat availability

November 07, 1995|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Fans who deposited money for club seats and luxury suites during Baltimore's NFL expansion bid two years ago may be charged an additional fee for permanent seat licenses for Browns games.

"There is no definite plan, but there might be a little additional payment," said Bruce Hoffman, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority.

"I think the team will hold a meeting in the next few days to develop a strategy."

According to Hoffman, officials of the MSA and Cleveland Browns also will work on ticket prices at the meeting, first for games at Memorial Stadium in 1996 and 1997 and later for the football-only facility that is expected to open in 1998.

Hoffman said he expects ticket prices to be right around the NFL average of $31.05.

"Right now, we're starting from ground zero," said John Moag, head of the MSA. "We've got some real work to do. All I can say is that people who have had their money on deposit will get first priority on seats, and that the PSLs are a one-time fee for the 30-year lease signed by the Browns."

Moag expressed concern about the sale of PSLs, which could raise approximately $80 million, $75 million of which would go to the Browns to offset expenses such as moving, the design and construction of a training facility, any amounts owed to the city of Cleveland and other reasonable costs and expenses incurred or losses sustained resulting from the team's relocation to Baltimore.

Baltimore didn't guarantee the seat license funds to the Browns, which means the deal isn't as lucrative as the one the Raiders got in Oakland, Calif., or the Rams received in St. Louis -- or the one that Nashville, Tenn., is offering the Houston Oilers.

"The business community supported us during the expansion process when we didn't have a team," said Hoffman, who estimates the cost of a seat license at $1,100.

Browns owner Art Modell said: "We'll sell everything we've got and make everybody happy. We're going to have a lot of seats that will not require PSLs. My plan is to take only a portion of the PSLs. I want to make popular price tickets available to everybody.

"Mine is permanent seat licenses, not personal," said Modell. "Personal in Oakland is in 10 years you've got to renew it and pay again. Mine runs for 30 years. Take 30 years, if a guy spends, just for rounding purposes, for a 50-yard line and pays $3,000, that's $100 a year for 30 years. That's $10 a game and he can sell that, he can will it, he can do whatever he wants with it. It's like a condominium. He owns it. There'll be a lot of seats VTC available for people without need to buy PSLs."

Ticket information

Bruce Hoffman, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said the MSA has been averaging 1,000 calls a day since late last week about obtaining Browns tickets.

He urged fans to write or fax in their requests so they can be stamped with a date, and the MSA will contact them later.

Maryland Stadium Authority

333 West Camden St., Suite 500

Baltimore, Md., 21201-2435

Phone: (410) 333-1560

Fax: (410) 333-1888

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