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Personal seat license

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Title: Personal seat license  
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Subject: Carolina Panthers, Nissan Stadium, Bank of America Stadium, PSL, SBL
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Personal seat license

A personal seat license, or PSL, is a paid license that entitles the holder to the right to buy season tickets for a certain seat in a stadium. This holder can sell the seat license to someone else if they no longer wish to purchase season tickets.[1] However, if the seat license holder chooses not to sell the seat licenses and does not renew the season tickets, the holder forfeits the license back to the team. Most seat licenses are valid for as long as the team plays in the current venue.

Seat licenses have been given various names. The most common term in North America is personal seat license and in Europe is debenture. The primary reason sporting venues offer PSLs is that the proceeds are used to help pay the debt incurred during the construction of the stadium or arena. Opponents of PSLs see this as another way to extract money from the sports fans.

Origin of seat licenses

There are varying accounts as to the origin of the personal seat license.

According to one account, the first personal seat license plan was developed in 1986 at Stanford University by legendary tennis coach Dick Gould.[2][3] Seeking financing for a new tennis stadium, Gould came up with the idea of selling the rights to seats, a licensing plan under which purchaser's name is engraved in the seat, and the purchaser owns the right to have first choice for tickets for any event held in the stadium.[3]

According to a second account, the permanent seat license was invented by a Columbus, Ohio architect, Rick Ohanian, in January 1987. Ohanian described his plan in a Letter to The Editor of the Columbus Dispatch, published on March 2, 1987, entitled "Ticketbond is Answer to Financing Proposed Facility".[4]

According to a third account, the permanent seat license was invented by Charlotte sports marketing agent Max Muhleman, in 1993. Muhleman is credited as the founder of the first PSLs at Charlotte's then Carolinas Stadium.

Others cite similar programs that were in existence among many college fund raising activities prior to 1987. However, the early programs were tax-deductible donations to a scholarship fund, in which case the main "quid-pro-quo" was between the donation and the resultant deduction, not between the donation and the actual seating rights.

Sports teams and organizations employing seat licenses

Here is a list of some of the teams that have seat licenses:

NFL seat licenses

MLB Seat Licenses

Car Racing Seat Licenses

NHL Seat Licenses

NBA Seat Licenses



  1. ^ a b , Thursday, June 25, 2009.The Baltimore SunBarker, Jeff. "Owning a Ravens seat can pay off big time,"
  2. ^ "Dick Gould profile". Stanford University. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  3. ^ a b Glenn Dickey (2000-04-07). "Gould Serves Up New Ideas". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  4. ^ Hill, Jemele. "Personal seat licenses, rising ticket prices spell doom," ESPN Page 2, Monday, August 4, 2008.
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