When you're the NBA champions, you can do just about anything with your stadium and people will still come to your games.
The Golden State Warriors are testing out Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs) at their new arena. The Chase Center opens in 2019, and as the $1 billion arena is privately financed, the owners – led by Joe Lacob – are hoping the fans can pay them back.
Typically found in NFL stadiums, PSLs are a way for owners to make additional money. Fans fork over anywhere from four to six figures to obtain season tickets for a certain seat. These fans are usually wealthier than the typical taxpayer, so it makes sense that they'd pay a greater share to fund the stadium.
However, the Warriors' PSLs – called "memberships" – have a bit of a twist. The fans will get to enjoy Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and whoever else comes through the organization, but they'll also get their money back. They just have to wait 30 years for it.
Specific pricing plans haven't been released, but the refund works in a couple of different ways. If a person buys the membership and keeps it for 30 years, they get their full payment back. If the person decides they want to sell the membership at some point, they can, but he can't do it for more than the initial payment. The team will refund the difference to the original buyer and will refund the purchase price to the second buyer.
If the original buyer ends up dying before 30 years are up (hey, it happens), a family member can take over the membership and eventually get the refund.
For the Warriors, this is an interest-free loan for 30 years. A conservative estimate is that the Warriors will sell 12,000 seats for about $15,000 apiece – a cool $200 million. They'll also save millions of dollars in interest payments.
For the fans…well, getting your money back after 30 years is better than not getting your money back at all.