Credit By Aaron Kuriloff & Bloomberg.com
Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) — The New York Jets have seen an increase in sales of seat licenses to their new stadium after a run to the National Football League playoffs combined with an improving corporate economy.
The Jets and Giants are opening a shared $1.6 billion stadium next season in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and paid part of the cost by selling personal seat licenses, or PSLs, which grant holders the right to buy season tickets.
Matt Higgins, the Jets’ executive vice president for business operations, said sales of seat licenses increased in December and January as the Jets made the playoffs and the economy improved.
“A lot of people who were sitting on the sideline in recent months, uneasy about making a purchase, have reversed course,” Higgins said in a telephone interview. “Part of that, we feel, is a function of team performance. But our sales force is also telling us that some of it is diminished concern about the economy.”
The Jets have sold out licenses to the stadium’s most expensive seats, which are inside the “Coaches Club” between the 40-yard lines, Higgins said.
The seats include access to a 20,000-square-foot bar designed by Nobo architect David Rockwell and a patio on the field five yards behind the team’s bench.
The team auctioned some licenses in the area for an average of more than $26,000 each in October 2008. Some “Coaches Club” seats are available in other sections for as much as $30,000 each, Higgins said.
The Jets also have sold out the stadium’s corners after cutting prices in October on some tickets to $195 from $400 and on the most-expensive “Prime” seats to $395 from $500.
The Jets beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-14 last weekend to advance to the second round of the playoffs, a victory that Higgins says can’t hurt the team’s efforts to sell out the stadium before opening day next season. Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez completed 12 of 15 passes for 182 yards to help first- year coach Rex Ryan record his first playoff win.
“The No. 1 driver of renewal is whether the team is headed in the right direction,” Higgins said. “I can’t think of a stronger indication that the team is headed in the right direction than a rookie coach and quarterback headed to the playoffs.”
Higgins said sales to companies also had improved, after months last year where many backed away from entertaining at sports events. Companies used about 71 percent of their sports tickets last month, according to an index compiled by RazorGator Inc.’s TicketOS, up 40 percent over the same month last year.
“We’re seeing a significant renewed interest in hospitality and suites,” Higgins said. “The stigma that has hung over the marketplace has faded. Companies that wouldn’t take our call four months ago are now calling us.”
Last Updated: January 12, 2010 00:01 EST