Lockouts Showing Who is Always On The Losing End

Allow me to speak for every NFL and NBA fan (which I am not really one of) when I say, end the lockouts.  I know there is a supposed end to the NFL lockout coming next week, but are we sure that date is set in stone?

Get it figured out, do not miss any of the season and just play ball.

While I understand the reasons for the work stoppages & lockouts, as a fan of football I want this to get settled and figured out as quickly as possible.  For basketball fans, you have a little time but not too much time.  That one should be over soon as well.  But all fingers point to non-favorable odds.

In the same breath, I am not going to stay glued to the television, internet and newspaper like this is some breaking news story.  Just get these issues solved and let all of us fans know when you are done so we can watch our teams again.  Let us know so we can prepare for fantasy leagues and get our gear together for tailgating.

When the battle is millionaires (players) versus billionaires (owners), it is difficult to pick a side. Most of America and myself are on the side that ends these lockouts and gets them back on the field and court ASAP.  More importantly, I am on the side of the fans who are always the silent majority in these cases.

Maybe if our side had seat at the negotiating table then these issues would get solved a little quicker.

While these lockouts are more complicated than strictly millionaires versus billionaires, money is basically what is keeping the leagues from operating as normal. But it is hard for fans to care about millions of dollars being exchanged when some struggle to make ends meet on a weekly basis.

Reaction to the lockouts have been mostly passive so far but if regular season games are missed due to the work stoppage then expect the fans to ignite with anger. Fantasy football owners are already starting to undergo anxiety and withdrawal symptoms because their annual shot to look like a football genius with a witty team name is in jeopardy.  But in one week, that could all change, supposedly.

With the NBA only entering a lockout a few weeks ago, the NFL has seen the effect that the work stoppage has had so far. One year after setting an NFL Draft record of 8.3 million viewers, viewership fell to 7 million for the first round this year. Ticket sales are down and NFL.com’s traffic has decreased also.

Luckily for football fans, the NFL has too much to lose for them to miss some, if any, of the regular season. As America’s new favorite pastime, NFL reigns king over all other American sports in terms of viewership, revenue and popularity. Missing regular season games would kill part of the momentum that the NFL currently has.

With most training camps supposed to start soon, these next few weeks will be essential in ending the NFL lockout so that the season can semi-start on time. There has yet to be a free agent period and once that happens mayhem will occur with teams scrambling to sign players. If you are upset about preseason games possibly being missed, well you are on your own there.

For the NBA, things look even bleaker. Former NBA legend and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley recently stated that, “It’s going to get ugly. I’ve already been on the record saying I don’t think they’re going to play at all next season.” Those cannot be good words to hear for NBA fans.  The last time a league halted play was the NHL in 2004-2005.

But with the NFL and NBA lockouts in full swing it gives other sports attention they might not have gotten before. The MLB slides into the top sport and should be able to continue to build off of its strike in 1994-1995. Other sports organizations such as the NHL, MLS, WNBA, NASCAR and PGA all stand to benefit from the NFL and NBA work stoppages.

Entering this fall, the NCAA counterparts of the NFL and NBA will garner most of the attention and might be the only national exposure of both basketball and football if the lockout continues.  NCAA Football 12 was just released for all game systems.  Madden 12 comes out in a few weeks.  Some might look forward to that more than the regular NFL season.

But hopefully for the sake of both sports’ fanbases the players and owners work out their issues and not only do what is best for the sport, but for the people who help support and fund them, the fans.

Fireman Ed Tells A Tale Of Two Stadiums

With football in a standstill right now, people can only talk about the upcoming draft.  Next season seems like something Santa should be bringing as everyone has it on their wish list.  But you will find those who are hopeful.  The ones who are already counting the days until the Jets have their first ever home game in the new stadium against the rival Giants.  A game many always look forward to.  Some fans look forward to it more than others.  One in particular is Fireman Ed Anzalone.

I sat down with with Ed in June of last year to get his thoughts in many areas.  Ranging from the Jets chant to the Jets, to the new stadium and the PSLs.  This time, I wanted to get his thoughts on what he thought about the season, the stadium, and if there will be a 2011 season.  Ed, like always, shares some thoughts for the camera and has other thoughts off camera.

The Fireman Ed/Christopher Black Fiasco Credit:CBS News

In the old stadium, Ed sat along the 20 yard line and had a great view of the field.  Everyone knew where he was and it was easy for him to get up and lead the Jet faithful in the chants.  Now, he has his seats in the end zone behind the goal posts where people have to look and see if he can be located.  Not the best place to be to lead the crowd.  But with the cameras and video screen, it helps the situation.

Ed knew the people he sat around in the old stadium.  These were people who had their seats for over 20 years.  Now, he is surrounded by different people every game.  When Green Bay came to face the Jets, there were two rows of Packer fans surrounding him.  Ed says it is a revolving door of fans who sit in the seats in the end zone.  At least by him.  Certain ticket holders look at the seats as an investment and will make their money back charging for tickets on a per game basis.

Ed notices how many are not really there to see the game.  Ed says that they diehards are the ones who sit in the end zone to about the 20 yard line in the lower section.  From about the 20-25 yard line to the other 20-25 yard line are the fans who are not truly there to see the game.  They care more about the VIP clubs, Coaches Club, bars, lounges, and other places to watch the game.  Ed says those seats are empty during the game, but the TV camera will not pick that up.  The seats are gray for a reason.  It makes the seat look filled on TV, even when it is not.

Ed on WFAN's Boomer & Carton Credit:WFAN

Ed has paid for four PSL’s in the lower part of the end zone.  He went for the cheapest PSL’s he could afford.  People question him actually purchasing them or if the Jets gave them to him.  Ed knows that if he takes anything like that from the team, he will have to owe them something.  He does not want to take anything form them or owe them anything.  He pays like everyone else, and does not like it.  He is stuck sitting around a revolving door of fans.  Ed knows the real fans, the ones who stick it out in the worst weather sit closer to the top.  Sounds like the hierarchy in the Roman Coliseum.

Speaking of true fans, Ed has even spoken with several Giants fans.  Many fans do not like the new stadium at all for several reasons.  For one, this stadium does not have their name on it.  There are no red and blue seats.  They have to share it equally with the Jets kills some Giants fans.  Plus, some feel cheated by John Mara.  They know his father would have never have approved anything his son has done.  They feel fans have been treated better over their 90 year history and they have been slapped in the face.

Ed is optimistic the 2011 season will happen.  if it doesn’t he does hold the team owners responsible.  They have so much power and finances that they do not have to worry.  This situation shows just how greedy they really are and not willing to give in to the players.  He does feel the fans are caught in the middle and are always caught in situations with no thought.  Ed believes if there is no 2011 season, then shame on the owners for doing so.  Sometimes, there has to be give and take.  Not just take.

Leading The First Chant In New Stadium Credit:JetsTwit.com

There comes a time when some know their time is up.  When a torch needs to be passed.  Ed knows that time is coming soon for him.  He is over 50 and knows he can not do the Jets chants much longer.  He said if someone came along and thinks they can do it or takes a shot and doing what he does, then he would step aside gracefully.  Ed believes in a few years, there will be some other Jets diehard fan doing what he does, and younger.  And Ed is ok with that.  he is content to just attend and watch the games.

Ed is not shy when it comes to giving his opinions.  I just do not feel like giving them all away right now.  Then what would be left for the documentary?  I may decide to give people more in a little bit.  It all depends on the lockout being lifted.  There are appeals and so much more that can happen.  So instead of writing about the Jets, I will have more on Fireman Ed.

Football is entering a new era.  The NFL will not be the same after this lockout.  The teams, players, and even the fans know that the sport of football has been replaced with the business of football.  Fans are not fans any longer, they are consumers.  Looked at for the dollar they spend.  Long gone are the days where you knew people names in the stadium.  Where you could get up close and personal.  Now that is done on Facebook and Twitter.  Ed saw the change coming years ago.  He may be known as Fireman Ed to everyone, but to the Jets, he is both a consumer and a brand they can push to make them more money.

Fans Remember The Past, Easier Than Thinking About Future

With no talk about free agency, contract negotiations, or off season workouts, there is not much football talk going on.  All people can do right now is discuss the draft in a few weeks and make their predictions.  It reminds me of the book/movie “All Quiet On The Western Front”.

Every football fan looks forward to going to the games.  Not just to see their favorite team, but to be with friends and family.  It is a time to relax, have fun, and have experiences that will turn into memories.  I am sure a lot of people are reflecting on some now, hoping there will be a season this year.  If not, they will reflect on seasons past and the fun they had.  For many Jet s fans, the memories are all we have the past 40 years.

Many of us reflect on previous seasons.  Games we attended with our father, brother, mother, sister, grandfather, uncle,  or other family members who may not be with us anymore.  It did not matter how bad the game was, one would always find something good to remember about the day.  Even if it was a bad game, there was something about it that made it a positive experience.  Many talk about how much they hated Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium.  But they will always mention how much fun those times were in those bad situations.

My brother Ean and my father Jerry

If you are like me, you recall games you attended with someone who passed away.  I always think about my dad when I think about the Jets.  Every time I went to a game without him and sat in Section 226 Row 8, Seats 7 and 8 in Giants Stadium, I would think about him.  Walking around the new stadium while filming, I would thin about him and wonder what he would think about the new structure built for the financially elite.  Sometimes I would talk aloud to him, as if he was walking next to me.

A funny story my dad would always tell me was about the time he was headed to the AFL Championship game between the Jets and Oakland Raiders.  He was speeding and was pulled over.  He was sitting in a line of a dozen cars that were pulled over, dead last behind them all.  He was running late and wanted to be there by kick off.  He calls an officer over and explains he knows he was speeding and deserves the ticket.  He then explains to the officer why he was speeding and shows him the tickets to the game.  The officer tells him to hold on and be patient.  Less than five minutes later, the officer returns with the ticket and tells my father to leave.  He left before the other cars pulled over did.

He was the type that would have looked at the new stadium in amazement.  Amazed at all the technology that was put into it and laugh when I would have to explain the reasons why.  He was the type that just liked to watch the game, not much else.  He would follow the changes in the game, but laugh and smile at the tech advances that are interwoven into it.  He would have been 76 today.  Still feels like yesterday.  Every time the football season begins I think of all those games we went to.  I know some others who feel the same as I do.

While filming in the parking lot at Giants Stadium in 2008, I came across Tommy Wilson. Such a dedicated Jets fan he owned the license plates “JETS” & “12 JETS”.  I later find out Jets owner Woody Johnson offered to buy the “JETS” plate from him.  Always wearing his #12 Joe Namath jersey and always at the games, his personality and presence felt like my father’s.  I guess that is why his story touches me even more than others I met while filming.

Tommy was honored in 2002 by the NFL and Visa Pro Football Hall for Fans.  He wrote the winning essay as to why he should be the fan to represent the Jets in the Hall of Fans.  He held 10 season tickets for close to 40 years.  His restaurants was named after the lot he tailgated in, Lot 12A.  A true “Super” Fan in my book.

There is more I can say about Tommy but do not want to give away his entire story.  I went back to get a follow up in September of 2009 and he pushed it to another game.  When I emailed him about it in early November of 2009, his wife Mary Lou informed me he passed away in early October.  I was deeply saddened to hear the news.  He had purchased several PSL’s too.  Tommy lived and breathed the Jets, helped to pay for the new stadium, is in the Hall of Fans for the Jets, but yet was just another fan to the Jets organization.

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Tommy Jr, his sister, and Mary Lou Wilson

I met up with his widow Mary Lou and her son Tommy Jr this past October.   Mary Lou thought about giving up the seats after he passed but knew Tommy would not have wanted that.  Last year was a hard season but this year was different.  Once again, many people who used to tailgate with them at 13A were not there.  Some did not get PSL’s, others did not have the right parking permits, while others feel it is not the same without Tommy.  For the remainder of tailgating last year, it was very somber without Tommy.  He was the nucleus that held that tailgate together.  Tommy Jr. got a tattoo to remember his father, even though his father did not like tattoos.

Mary Lou and Tommy Jr. always reflect on their memories about Tommy.  It makes them smile and feel good about being a Jet fan.  Even with next season uncertain, they still reflect and always will.  Tommy was one of those fans that made you feel good when he talked.  I guess he holds a place in my heart because he reminded me of my own father.  There is a strange connection to fans from a certain era in football.  An era where it was about the game, not the politics.

Everyone knows the kind of fans I refer to.  The ones where they smile when they talk about past seasons.  When memories were about actions on the field, not battles in courts off the field.  Older generations of fans seem to have this glow in their eyes.  Where you do not mind listening to their stories.  The kind where you can sit with a beer and listen for hours if you need a reason to smile.

Right now fans need a reason to smile.  They need a reason to believe a season will happen this year.  Many look forward to those home games, not just to tailgate, but to create memories with friends and family.  50% of ticket money was already due, PSL payment in several months.  Do the Jets think the season will happen?  But when a season looks like it may not happen, there is nothing to look forward to.

As it stands, all we can do is think ahead to a season that may or may not happen.  We can reflect about the games we have all been to before.  Many will talk about the past two seasons as they ended in trips to the AFC Championship game.  Looking forward to a season where a Super Bowl could be in the Jets grasp for the first time n over 40 years.  But all we can do is sit back and wait.

There may be no season.  Then all we can do is reflect on the 2011 season that never was.  How we all waited for players and owners to come to an agreement to end a lockout.  Where the courts made the decision instead of the NFL.  In 1987 at least there were some games played.  Who knows what will happen this year.

Ahh, the memories.

Jets Tailgating: One Era Ends, Social Media Spawns Another

Sunday the Jets faced the Bills and defeated them with ease.  They also did it with their second and third string players.  Even though they faced the Bills, they showed they wanted to go into the playoffs with a head of steam and prove they can hang with the big boys.  Sometimes when your backs are against the wall and your critics doubt you, you have to prove them wrong.  All Jet faithful hope they can bring that same energy into the playoffs when they face Indianapolis.  They will need it against Manning and the Colts.

Out of the eight home games, the Jets had five games that had rain or other bad weather.  Luckily today, it ended before the game started.  As usual, I got there as early as possible.  They let tailgaters in at 8 AM.  With the fog and rain this morning, there were not too many people on line to get in.  Many arrived about 30 minutes to an hour before kick off.  You can tell who the die hard fans are.  They are the ones who will get there as early as possible and tailgate in any weather.  While trekking across the lots to get to the non PSL parking, one can see where they true fans were.  The Non PSL parking closest to the stadium had a decent amount of vehicles.  It seems the further out from the stadium you go, the more passionate the fans.

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Met up with a crew that saw its tailgating numbers drop form about twenty to six or so.  Two of those are newcomers who they met this season.  They all talked about how many lines they have to stand in.  From the minute they leave their parking are to the minute they have to get to their seats.  They have to cross two elevated bridges and stand in lines to get into them.  Then the lines to get into the stadium.  Lines again to get onto the escalators to get to their upper tier seats.  So no matter where they go in the stadium, they have to wait on lines.  From their parking spot to their seat it takes about thirty minutes.  And this is the non PSL parking section closest to the stadium.

Their belief is the real fans are the ones who will be there no matter what.  Not show up less than an hour to go before kick off, pull into their green parking spot, and walk right into the stadium.  The true fans are out there in any weather and make tailgating a part of the true game day experience.  These are fans who had lower level seats in the old stadium, but because their pockets are not so deep they had no choice but to move to the upper tier of the stadium.  Many share their sentiment, that the true fan was pushed upstairs to make way for the corporate or business ticket holder.

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My associate Sixto and I took the elevated bridges over to see what they were talking about.  I feel bad for those who have to wait on line like cattle moving through there.  I can see why it can take forever.  We walked across the green parking to the yellow side.  There were not too many cars in the green lots, and this was around 10 AM.  By the time we made it to the yellow parking we could see there were more people set up, still overcast and the occasional drops were falling.

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I had a chance to talk with Cesar and Mark from the Jet Pack.  They were established back in 1968 and had dozens upon dozens of people at every tailgate.  This year, it was just them and maybe a few others sporadically.  They have set up in a new location since their old one no longer exists.  Even if they do not have their many friends or fellow Jet Pack members with them, they will still be out there every game.  Their love of their team is what keeps them going.  It does not matter if the others do not have tickets, they will keep going to every home game.  After 40 plus years and countless organizational changes, these guys are the real fans.  They know who the true fans are.

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After Cesar, I met back with with David Fier.  I first interviewed David two years ago.  David tailgates in Lot L with Guyton, the Godfather of Lot L and the other tailgaters they bring.  Guyton is one of those long time fans that tells stories like you were listening to your own grandfather, or father depending on your age.  His story about meeting Joe Namath after being in the military is a great story.  David takes his own money and feeds everyone at his tailgate.  He spends around $1,000 per game on food, drinks, and much more to give his friends a good time not just before the game, but during as well.

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David is one of a rare type of Jets fan.  David used to have season tickets in the lower tier of the old stadium, not too far from the 50 yard line.  But once the PSLs came about, he decided not to spend his money.  The PSL’s for that area would have been $25000 per seat and he had four seats.  Add the $700 per ticket per game to those seats and you have a $128K price tag.  He did not want to move upstairs as he looks at that as a step backwards.  Why after so many years of making his way down to the lower section would he want to go back up again?  He would rather spend around $1000 per game tailgating and stay in the parking lot.  This is a generous person.  He feeds his friends and weary tailgaters for free and watches the game from an HDTV in the back of his truck.

Not too far from there was the L7 Tailgate crew who was started on Twitter. Yes, Twitter.  They set up under the L7 sign in, obviously, Lot L7.  It was an interesting tailgate.  If you mentioned your name, you got a look.  If you mentioned your Twitter handle, people knew who you were instantly.  The main guys behind this tailgate were @L7Tailgate and @Fear_The_Panda.  They met in college and seeing as they were both Jets fans, decided to get season tickets together.  When they decided to tailgate, they put it out across Twitter to anyone who wanted to join them.  Then the Twitter handle #L7Tailgate was created to make it more official.  From their start they have had as little as 10 people to as many as 50.

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The more they Tweeted about the tailgate, the more word got around.  Many Twitter users followed @L7Tailgate and everyone else helped to spread the word.  Tweeters like @laportal @greenlanternjet of CBSNewYork.com, @Fear_The_Panda, @e_man of JetsTwit, @LaurNYJ, @MikeCatNYJ, @Double_O_Six, @MissJtotheK, and many others.  This is the first time I have heard Twitter or social media be used to fuel a tailgate party.  I know there are a few blogs that talk tailgating, but those tailgates did not get started from social media or the internet.

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The L7 Tailgate is free as well.  They prepare food for everyone.  Plus, you can bring what you want and add to the festivities.  They have developed their own tailgate food, called the “Rex Ryan”.  I finally had a chance to sample this caloric overload.  It is a hot dog, wrapped in cheese, wrapped in a hamburger, wrapped in bacon.  Yes, it is just as tasty as it sound.  It is named the Rex Ryan because it is big, obnoxious, and they love it anyway.  It was a really fun and welcoming tailgate to be a part of.

From there we ventured over to the Jet Nuts.  These guys can be spotted by their bus, their third one for the past 21 years.  These guys may have to call it quits.  They are about $2500 in the hole as they charge at their tailgate.  They have seen numbers diminish this year due to, what else, the PSLs.  So they are not seeing the return on their investment like in previous years.  If they can make that money back before ticket money is due by raffles or auctioning off memorabilia, then the Jet Nuts will be back next season. The Jet Nuts mainly get their contingent from word of mouth.  They rely on others to spread the word to get people to come to their tailgate.

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My main reason seeing the Jet Nuts was to talk with William Born.  He is the main Jet Nut.  The patriarch if you will.  Bill has been going to games since the first days at Shea.  He reminds me of that father or grandfather who can captivate your attention with his recollection of previous seasons.  A very humble, likable guy.  A quiet type whose conversation speaks louder than his voice.  Bill watches the game from the bus.  He can not walk to the stadium.  The bus parking is too fair from the stadium.  He has never stepped foot in the new stadium.  A man of his years and mileage with the team can not even go inside to watch the team he loves.

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He lets his kids, grandkids, and other relatives go inside for him.  There is a family member or two that will stay with him as they watch the game in the comfort of their bus.  As I sat there talking with him, I felt like I wanted to carry him to the stadium.  I did what I could to keep the conversation going, it was just a great moment.  Bill even knows that the ones who are in the stadium now are not the real fans, but corporate ones.  People who have money to spend and not true Jets fans.  NO matter the age, there is a like minded pattern here amongst the true Jets fans.

It seems the veteran tailgate groups rely on word of mouth, friends bringing friends and family to help populate their tailgates.  The new younger fans know how to use social media to their advantage.  Plus, the Jets players interact with the fans via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets.  It helps create a more fan friendly environment between fans and players.  Plus, tailgate groups have websites and Twitter handles now.  The Jet Nuts have a website too.  So one can just send out a Tweet and let others pass it along to get people to come on by.  Word of mouth is still good, as many have relied on that for years.

But the torch has been passed to a new, younger, technically inclined fan.  When you see Jets players thanking Tweeters on the jumbotron during the games, you know there is a change in the air.  The younger fans still are not willing to part with money too fast.  Some from the L7 Tailgate will not buy tickets next year.  College comes first and money needs to go to that before any season tickets.  The newer fan is anxious to get their seats and see the games while the more veteran season ticket holders care more about being treated fairly by the organization.

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This season was very different from previous years.  Not just because of the new stadium, PSL’s, and rejuvenated team.  But for the first time, there was finally unity amongst many of the fans.  Jets fans held their head higher, than in previous years.  They see a difference in the team and it showed in the way they celebrated before every home game.  I see more fans wearing their green and white away from the game more than ever.  Then once tailgating, there is more pride.  I am sure in future seasons, that pride will be there.  Unless fans once again say, “Same old Jets”. Let us hope they do not return.  The fans will always let them know.  Especially in the parking lot.

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NY Jets Stock Future Uncertain, No One Else Reports It

This past Sunday the Jets proved they are able to compete against the elite in the AFC.  But the season is one thing, beating them in the playoffs is another.  The Jets have to show consistency if they really want to make an impact like they did last year.  Losing to the Patriots 45-3 is definitely not a sign of that.  Winning convincingly against Chicago and Buffalo might convince fans and the media that the Jets really have turned the corner, or is it too late?  For many fans, it is too late.  Many feel they should have turned the corner weeks ago and not have to play catch up with two weeks left in the season.

As the only Fan Experience Analyst for the Jets fans and the only one who still reports about the PSLs, I hear a lot from the Jet faithful.  Even if the Jets win the Super Bowl, many former ticket holders would not reconsider buying them again.  They are happy cheering from their couches and even happier to save the money they would have spent on the PSLs.  With Rex, Sanchez, and the Jets making the playoffs two years in a row certainly helps their stock.  It may not skyrocket, but it may convince those on the fence to invest in some seats.  Keep in mind, a return on investment does not have to come from making a profit on selling seats, but can also come from getting access to playoff and Super Bowl tickets for a season ticket holder.

There have been various categories of ticket holders over the years.  You have the ones who continued their season tickets and will spend what they can when the Jets dictate any price.  You have the new generation of Jets ticket holder, young, willing to spend on the new amenities the stadium has to offer just to see the team.  You have the old fashioned ticket holder who just wants to see the game, spend nothing more.  Then you have the ones who will not buy season tickets.  They were ticket holders before and never will be again.

It does not matter who much they lower prices they already felt cheated, slighted by the team and will not return.  Those are the ones who carried the team from the Polo grounds all the way to Giants Stadium.  The ones who were never thanked for their years of dedicated service.  One day a year does not do enough for those who gave 40 plus years.

The Jets stock is only as good as their season.  If they can go to the Super Bowl, now this is a big IF, then they will see a spike in sales and see sell outs.  Until that happens, they will always have stock on hand and have to convince the public to invest.  The organization might have to make some internal changes if they expect their price to go up before next season.  Sometimes a company can not dictate the price, but the market dictates it to the company.  The Jets have already experienced this, and still do.

Reporters in the major news markets only touched briefly on the PSLs.  They knew if they went on about them, they would not have access to the players or the locker room.  That is the power of the organization over the news markets.  If they want to report on the team, they have to say in that teams good graces.  When it comes to reporting truth and how the public is affected, it makes it hard on those who want to do those kinds of stories.  When financial analysts report on companies, stock, and other matters, they give information that matters to investors and the general public.  Potential PSL buys should be given the same information from those in the know and those in major news markets.

There are sports writers and Jets bloggers out there who only cover he team and the players.  What about the fans?  The ones whose stories have helped make the Jets the team they are.  The ones whose history is along the teams history.  Without the Jets fans who have supported this team, who would they have played to?  The fans are the silent majority in the Jets history.  If it was not for the fans stepping up to buy season tickets, the then NY Titans would have folded and there would be no NY Jets.  It was that influx of capital that helped to keep the team going, if for a short time before new ownership.

Right now, the Jets have to keep winning if they want to sell what is left of their seats for next season.  But fans need to take into consideration other costs.  Parking, food for tailgating, concessions inside, souvenirs, and anything else that may come with a day at the stadium.  One can even go on Ebay or Stubub and bid on parking passes.  There is a lot being made off those in the secondary market.

Like I always say, the Jets control their own fate.  They have no one to blame but themselves.  DO not even blame Sal Alosi or some foot fetish videos.  The Jes even control their own fate hen it comes to their Stock/PSLs.  They think they made good with the fans when they slashed prices.  But what happens when prices rise soon to pay for that loss of income?  They need to make up that revenue somehow to pay for the stadium that was to come from the full price of those PSLs.

I am not sure many fans expect or care to know how much more they will have to pay over the next few years for their season tickets and parking.  My point is the Jets will not be the ones to front that capital, they will raise those funds by other means, evens if it means passing it on to the fans.  PSL costs will be raised by the fans who try to sell them.  Ticket prices will be raised by the Jets.  In the end, the only ones winning are the ones making a profit.  Man it is expensive to be a football fan in New York.  Everyone have a safe and Merry Christmas with your friends and family.  May the Jets give us all the gift of a win over the Bears this Sunday.

Will NY Jets Season Affect Their Stock Price?

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I know what you may be thinking, what stock is associated with the New York Jets? They are not a public company. But investors do have a ventured interest in the team. The investors are the fans. The stock are the PSLs and season tickets. What the Jets do on and off the field does affect what the PSLs will go for in the future. This is a make or break year for the Jets. The inaugural season at the New Meadowlands Stadium will decide if fans (investors) thought it was worth making an investment in the New York Jets, and if their PSL is worth keeping.

When the Jets and Giants offered up the PSLs, that was their IPO. They called it “an investment”. If they want to call it an investment, then let us call the PSLs and season tickets “stock”. Once the stock was offered to the public, you had an option of how much you wanted to pay for your investment in the team, or your seats. That initial price was set by the teams. As many are aware, the prices did come down as many fans did not want to pay the price the teams were asking for their IPO.

Some prices were slashed 50% while other seats had a flat price of the season ticket cost. A cost that has steadily increased over the years. Jets season ticket prices have gone up while some will say, the teams play has gone down. Only two AFC Championship game appearances in the past 12 years. Once fans paid the IPO, they had the opportunity to pay it all at once, over 5 years, or fifteen years. If you took the financing, you also paid interest. Since the financing was being offered by the Jets and not a bank, the Jets earned extra money (the interest) on that IPO. In other words, investors who financed paid more for the same seats than one who paid in full.

Those who would like to transfer their PSL to someone else must have approval before doing so. This is all in the PSL Agreement which every PSL owner has. Now if one is in the middle of payments and transfers the PSL to someone else. The remainder of the payments are due when the transfer to the new owner takes place. The only time this does not happen is if the transfer is made to a family member. So if Jim Smith sells his PSL to Bob Jones, Bob has to pay the remainder of the PSL in full, no more installments. It really is easier to sell a stock certificate. So if the team is doing badly and loses its value in the market, it may not be as easy to sell off a PSL.

There are websites out there where one can buy a PSL from current PSL holders. In many cases, some are not getting the return on their investment like they had hoped. From some I have talked to in Baltimore, the only time PSL holders made a profit on selling them was after the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Since that point, it has either been even money or not much of an investment. Many fans are not seeing the return the teams had promised. Then again, many are also keeping them to pass along and do not see them as an investment. Only a necessary evil to continue being a season ticket holder.

Now, many know stock gains or loses value depending on the company’s performance. Sames goes for sports. If a team does great, one can sell a PSL for greater value. If a team performs poorly, one may not get the price asked. This is where the Jets are at now. PSL holders can not sell their PSL until holding it for at least one year, this year. Next year, they can do with as they please. Now the Jets started the season great. Some who looked at the PSL as an investment may have though about selling it to make a profit. If they finish the year with Super Bowl hopes crushed, one may have to hold it and sink more money into it. Thus, holding it longer than ones wants.

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The Jets are a company that controls how well their stock performs. As long as the team is a playoof and Super Bowl contender every year, people will want those PSLs and pay to have them. If the Jets fall back to being the Jets everyone knows, then they will never sell them all. Theey still have yet to sell all their PSLs. They can not even sell out their non PSL seats. So their stock is not worth as much as they think it is. The Jets hold their own future in their hands. As long as the team performs, people will wants to attend the games.

As I have been noticing this year, their is a younger fan base than previous years. Many older fans opted out of the PSLs and there are many younger first time season ticket holders. Those who purchased their PSL should treat it like stock. You have a piece in the teams new stadium you helped to build it. The PSL holders are shareholders in the new stadium. They should have a voice as to what goes on, but don’t. Stockholders in a company get one vote per share f stock in most cases, same should go for PSL holders. If that money went to help fund the stadium, then they should have a say in what goes on.

The Jets will face the Steelers this Sunday. With wins over them, Chicago, and Buffalo they can still show they want to make the playoffs. They are just not the elite team they think they are. Two of their nine wins came against teams with winning records. Plus, four of their wins they just squeaked out. The defense has not been as good as last year and not as good as Rex Ryan keeps claiming. Even Joe Namath said on Michael Kay that the Jets are not as great as they think they are. All of these are factors in what fans decide to do in the future, especially next season.

So if the Jets do not make the right changes, then no new stock will be sold. Investors will not want to sink money into a team that is not a playoff contender. Investors will not want to spend their hard earned money in what is still a down economy to invest in a team that is not offering a return to the playoffs. Some may have a hard time even selling them in the secondary market, not able to offer more than what they paid for them. The Jets and PSL molders have a lot to think about when one can finally sell them off.

It all comes down to performance. Many fans will never give up their seats. If they never got rid of them in the 4-12 and 1-15 seasons, they never will. But some might still decide to get rid of them. Those are the ones who have to decide if the investment was worth the thousands. Some might incur a loss trying to sell them if the Jets do not turn around, at any point. I still would like to see the Jets win a Super Bowl in my lifetime. If they do, I am sure their stock will go up. But as of right now, their price is lower than when the season started. Their stock (PSL) price has dropped.

Bing National Tailgating Competition Fires Up Jet Fans

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Not only did the New York Jets pull out a win in the final seconds of the game, but there was another winner at the New Meadoalwands Stadium.  A winner in Bing’s National Tailgate Competition.  This morning at 10:30 was the national competition being held in seven locations across the country sponsored by Bing.  Today’s stop in New Jersey was the third stop on the circuit.  It will end on Thursday February 3rd in Dallas during Super Bowl week.  All the winners will go head to head to see who is the best tailgater in the country.

Sixto, Anthony Quintano, and myself got there early enough to stop by the L7 Tailgate who got together via Twitter.  They had about 40 or so Tweeters there and I missed out on the Rex Ryan for another week.  DAMN!  By the time we got to the Bing.com set up we were presented with free scarves and wool hats bearing the Bing.com logo.  There were four groups vying for best tailgater.  You had Franks Lot 11 Flagmen, Lenny’s Lot K Tailgaters, Gang Green Grillers, and the Winters Brothers.  Each group had not just their own set up, but they had to stand out from everyone else.  The Winters Brothers had their Jets bus behind them.  Frank Conway had 28 flags flying on 14 poles.  The Grillers had a tiki bar, Revis Island, and ice sculptures.  Lenny’s had a kosher grill and his famed Lenny’s burgers.

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There were also social media photo booths with wall mounted touch screens provided by SMART that allowed guests to immediately Tweet, Facebook or email photos right from the event.  Or just play the bean bag toss or football throw on your own/  Even a couple of stations where you could try out Bing if you were unfamiliar with the website search engine.  DJ’s not just from Bing were playing music, but from every tailgate.  You could not walk anywhere without being blasted by some kind of music.

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Before the event started, we were introduced to the judges.  First up as “Crazy Legs” Conti.  The green bean eating champion and a regular on the competitive eating circuit.  You can see him in his dreadlocks every year on the Natahan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.  Next up was SNL Alum, comedian, actor,  and fitness magnate Joe Piscopo.  Even though he is a Giants fan, he had a blast being amongst the Jet faithful.  The third judge is no stranger to Jets fans.  Two time Pro Bowl player, inducted in the Football Hall of Fame, and Wide Receiver for the Jets from 1977-1989 was none other than Wesley Walker.  The final judge is the Commissioner of Tailgating and head of the Tailgating Institute of America, Joe Cahn.  Four men brought together for their love of food and football.

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The teams were judged on their tailgating game skills first.  A bean bag toss and football throw was up first that was not easy for all those who competed.  I can not post all the pictures here so check out the slide show at the bottom of the page or on my Flickr page.  Next the judges went around and had to taste all the food.  What would a tailgating competition be without eating?  Lenny had his special Lenny Burgers with the cheese inside.  Wesley Walker could not put his down.  The Winters Brothers had a menu all prepared with Jets players names accompanying the dishes.  The Flagman Frank had some nice steaks prepared that tasted great.  The Gang Green Grillers had, well, about everything as their special!  Was hard to keep track of all the food.  Some had great shrimp, turkey legs, fillet mignon, and anything else that would make the Homer Simpson in us drool.

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We wanted to eat more than we did.  Which was not enough.  We had to do a lot of interviews and film the event so there was not enough time to eat.  I will say the coffee flavored Patron is very good though.  Beers to the left of me.  Beers to the right of me.  Would have been nice to have had one but we had to stay focused.  By this time I was able to talk with Wesley Walker.  Wesley loved being amongst the Jets fans who had not only watched him when he played, but even the younger fans who were introduced to his greatness.  He did say he was such a great receiver that he would be able to escape Revis Island every time jokingly.  Wesley does enjoy watching today’s players as he sees an intensity now that was still around when he played.

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There was one aspect of Wesley Walkers career I had to find out about in depth.  Wesley is legally blind in one eye.  He was able to make it past the physical back then as there was no vision test.  He knew what he needed t do to compensate for that vision loss.  It made him step up his game and be that much of a better player.  It was after a while that the team had found out about his vision.  Wesley says it was because of that they started doing the combines, to make sure players were 100% in all areas on the field so they would not play with any limitations.  I myself have a loss of central vision in both my eyes that forced me out of wrestling in high school.  So it was a unique experience to be able to find out from an NFL Hall of Famer what he did to make sure his “handicap” did not stop him from what he loved to do.

As the competitors were trying to grease the palms of the judges with their burgers, chicken, and ribs, I managed to get some words with Bing.com representative Kari Dilloo.  Kari talked about Bing’s abilities to search anything football like Bing’s Sports Compare & Bing Instant Answers.  Bing is doing what they can do make their search engine so football user friendly that you can find anything on football.

Multiple stations set up throughout the event to allow guests to try their new software.   “Bing Sports Compare” which creates a direct side by side visual comparison of NFL players and “Bing Instant Answers” which provides instant and accurate information at your fingertips – both perfect for brushing up on football stats prior to tailgate and game time. Also on display was “Bing Travel” which is perfect for the next time you are looking to follow your favorite team to an away game as Bing not only allows you to see hotel and flight price comparisons but also lets you know when would be the best time to book your trip.

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The final contest of the day was the trivia contest.  Each team sent their best man to the stage to answer questions on everything Jets.  From questions ranging from where was Super Bowl III played to where did Nick Mangold go to college.  Every team had their strengths and weaknesses.  But only one team could walk away the best Tailgater in NJ and move on to Dallas.  Joe Piscopo said he has never really tailgated before and wished he could send them all.  He enjoyed his time there even though he looked like a fish out of water.  He provided the comedy element for the day.  Joe said he would rather be escorted into the stadium via a side door than go in through the fans in the parking lot.

But in the end just like in the Highlander, there can be only one.  Everyone did what they could to come out on top.  As the judges tallied their votes they all settled on one winner.  The Winters Brothers took the trophy and title of Best Tailgater in NY.  They will head to Dallas during Super Bowl week to compete for best tailgater in the country.   All in all it was a success and everyone that participated enjoyed themselves, especially the Winters Brothers.  I will have more details up soon along with videos of the event and interviews with the judges.  Next year will bring about more competitors and Jets fans.  No one left unsatisfied, or with an empty stomach.

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NY Jets Tailgating Creates Friends & Memories

I have talked before how there are a lot of new faces in the Jets parking lot during tailgating.  There are also fewer recognizable faces from years past.  Not only that I see, but others see less and less of their friends who did not get a PSL.  As the Jets organization pressed hard for the PSL’s, many long time ticket holders felt pushed away by the organization.  While others, felt they had no choice if they wanted to continue to see their team live.  Everyone has a choice, no one can say they were pressured into buying a PSL.  The pressure comes from yourself, and maybe some friends who already made their decision.  Some do not do it for the game alone, but for the tailgating as well.  It has become such a ritual for some, their warm up to the game itself.

The more I walk around during tailgating, the more I see friends and family partying like it was a major holiday.  Everyone comes to the game with what they feel are the essentials.  The necessary items to make their pregame ritual the best it can be.  The long time Jet faithful feel that friends are the best for the games.  Who better to share it with than those who you have followed the team with since the Polo Grounds or Shea Stadium.  It is the continuing of these memories that makes the next one that much better.  You can consider your memories your own personal NFL Films that many have viewed but only your friends will remember the way you do.

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There are some necessities to tailgating.  A grill, burgers, beer, chips, and a spot to have it all in.  Some prefer to add a lot more to make it exciting for them and their friends.  You can add a tent, a 10×10 canopy, or for the major league tailgater, a camper.  One camper I walked around in cost the fan about $75,000 complete with Jets memorabilia, fridges, bed, flat screen, and everything else he feels is needed for a Jets tailgate.  Some are towing grills/smokers behind their vehicles.  Nothing says tailgating like burgers for 120 people.  Now, one can have Lobel’s of NY and Weber grills prepare it all for them.  Just sit back and fork over your cash.

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Other people feel there are other necessities to tailgating.  Some prefer to grill steaks, lobster, pork chops, crab legs, sausage, vodka chicken parmigiana, and other foods based on the Jets opponents.  For the Patriots, some had New England clam chowder, seafood jambalaya, mussels, and a Tom Brady jersey over open coals.  Now a couple of guys said a necessity was hot girls at a tailgate.  When one is young and drunk, one will say anything.  But everyone agreed you do need close and dear friends to make every tailgate that much better.  Now one group forgot their propane, but they did not forget their friends.  So it really does not matter how big of a set up you have or what you prepare, as long as you have friends around you to share in the festivities.

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The Jet Pack, founded by Robert Parin in 1967, was all about fun with friends before the game.  IN  years past, they always had each tailgate a themed one.  They would do a pig roast one game, seafood buffet another game, and other great themed tailgates.  They were even responsible for the Spark Plug Award.  At the final tailgate of each season, it would be given to who the fans thought the season’s MVP was.  The last one was handed out in 2008.  As the members of the Pack dwindled due to many not investing in a PSL, they stopped the award.  Last Sunday, only a handful out of the 70-80 that had accumulated over the years of the Jet Pack were back.  Robert and a few dedicated others only had two small grills going compared to mega set ups they had grown accustomed to.  The prices kept many away.  Now Robert and others sit farther away from where their seats had been previously.

It does not matter how much the Jets charge for PSL’s, tickets, parking, or overpriced food inside the stadium.  Fans will always set up in the parking lot like nomads in the desert, looking for a place to rest, eat, and celebrate before moving on to their final destination.  That is something the Jets can not take away from their fans, no matter how confusing or expensive they make their parking.  I guess that is why I enjoy walking around and talking to everyone there.  It is where Jets fans show their true self.  Not just inside being led by Fireman Ed, but outside getting ready for the battle yet to be witnessed.

The Jets seem to have a separation between themselves and their fans. Many fans I talk to feel the Jets really do not listen to them or care about them. I guess that is why I listen to the fans so much and want to get their message across. Maybe if the Jets had people in the parking lot talking to fans rather than having employees paint peoples faces for $10 they could get more in tun with their fans. If anything, I would like my documentary to let teams know what they could do to come down to their fans level. To really let your fans know that you care about more than their checkbooks.

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Jets Tailgating Changes In Many Ways, But Still Fun

Sunday turned out to be a great day for a lot of people.  Before the Jets beat the Patriots 28-14, the Jet faithful were having a great day getting ready for the game.  Since it was a Sunday, people arrived faster and had enough time to get set up and tailgate the day away.  I like the 4 PM kick off time.  It may eat into the day a little, but it gives everyone good prep time to get there and have fun before the game.  Met some new fans out there.  Looking for first time tailgaters and season ticket holders.  So walking around seeing old and new faces makes this a season to witness.  In a way, it is the changing of the guard.  New era of football experience in the New York era.  Feel’s a little more like George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

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Was fun to meet some new fans and get opinions on what they paid for. This new parking structure you find both old and new faces.. We came across a lot of blacktop chef’s. Two different types with some mighty big rigs. One in Yellow Lot J and one in Green Lot F. The Lot J one were the guys form The Smoken Pit on Staten Island, NY. This was the first game for his pit. They had wings, burgers, dogs, brisket, ribs, nachos, and more. He does it with his friends and also rents it out. Sunday was a day to break it in for football. The other big grilling set up in Lot J come every couple games and just use it with friends and family. Form Long Island, the had sausage and peppers, steak, ribs, burgers, and a great day of food prepared. I will have pictures later in the week.

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Seems everyone we went to was warm and inviting. Many long time ticket holders eager to talk about past seasons and other stadiums they have been to. Everyone was joyous and and wanted to feed us. We must of shared at just about every tailgate we went to. That is what I love about the Jets fans. They are always willing to share their bounty. Everyone is proud of their set up and their food. It was an endless buffet that every fan contributed to. No one wanted the day to end.

One fan we did stop and talk to was Michael Finizio. He was a former Giants season ticket holder who just became a Jets season ticket holder. Complaining about how the Giants charged more for a PSL and tickets than the Jets did. That was his reason, lower prices with the Jets. Thought both the Mara’s and Tisch’s could stick it and felt Woody Johnson was more accommodating to his fans. Seems many have their opinion on each team’s decision to institute the PSL’s. Another Jets fan, who paid $75 to park his camper, thought they should get free electric for that price. He said they had to pay mroe while others who took up two parking spots should pay more than their $25.

In one of the Green lats we came across a limo driver whose limo gets rented for Jets and Giants tailgates. He has clients from Long Island who pay by the hour for him to sit there as they tailgate out of the back of his limo. They managed to save a piece of fillet Mignon for him. A couple of ladies from ESPN made the trek down from Bristol. One was a Jets fan and the other a Pats fan. Neither wanted to be seen with the other but still tailgated together. A lot of verbal jabs were made but it was all in good fun. No one got out of hand.

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The prices at Lobel’s/Weber grills was outrageous though. Seeing those prices and the ones inside the stadium made one ponder who are the games being catered to? What fans with what pickets are they looking to attract? I am going to let the price;s speak for themselves.

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There were some groups missing members. The Jets Pack who I have been visiting for the past two years was down a considerable amount. They have been setting up at games since 1967 and this has been their smallest turnout to date. The PSL’s forced many long time season ticket holder to opt out. Not many wanted to pay up and it left Robert Parrin and company with a smaller group than usual. What was about 40-50 is now down to less than a dozen. A lot of groups are down member from precious years. Many have said the experience is not the same but they come anyway. The Jets & Giants really do not know how much the PSL’s have hurt game day friendships.

That is one aspect I have noticed from talking to people, the loss of friends. Some only saw people at games, ones they met there and partied with. Others who are long time friends who planned the tailgates and arrived together. The younger the fans are the rowdier the tailgates are. You can see the difference in those who have been coming to game longer than those who are more recent season ticket holders. The set ups and demeanor of the people are so different. But everyone is there for the same reason, to see their team win. That is what brings everyone together.

Everyone was ecstatic with a win over the Patriots. The attitude of the fans before the game let the team know how much they wanted a Gang green win. The team knows when their fans are into the game. With the home crowd as the 12th man, there was no way the Jets would lose to Tom Brady and the Pats. Fans were letting others know how much they hated the Patriots. We even came across our second Revis Island. Fans are getting more creative and letting everyone know how much they care about their team. I will have more later in the week. Too much to cover in one post.

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New York 1 Interview For Jets Documentary

Today I was interviewed by Jon Weinstein from New York 1 News about the Jets Documentary I have been working on over the last 2 years.  Jon showed up to Anthony Quintano’s studio so he can get some B roll shots of us working on the documentary.  Questions ranged from how long the season tickets have been in my family to what would I like to gain from this documentary.  Obviously, there are comments I would have liked to have made that I thought of after the interview.  But that is how it goes.

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The interview and story will be up on their website by next Wednesday.  I will have a link here and on my Facebook to push it.  Have to take all the attention I get and plaster it all over the place.  I sent an e mail over to John Gambling;s producer Mike Figs.  We had spoken last year and John brought up the PSL’s again this morning on the air.  Now is the perfect time to talk about it, before the start of the 2010 season.

Have also been in touch with Bruce Speight of the New York Jets about filming for the upcoming season.  Told him I want to film once again during tailgating at the new stadium.  I would like to see where people I have visited in the past wind up now with the new parking situation.  Also see who came back and who did not.  There are some who said they would not get a PSL that I know did.  Will be funny to see their faces and hear them explain why they did.  Just a few weeks to go.  Have some interviews to gt in before the start of the season.  Should have some clips up here soon.  Anthony has a new edit system I can use and not bother him as he works.  See how the footage looks.  I will have an update next week after the NY1 story is posted.