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Jets Decisions Affect Fans And Employees

Over the past week, the Jets have made the news for various items.  I have already talked about Bart Scott making an appearance on this Thursday’s TNA Impact, which airs at 9 PM on Spike TV.  Now, the Jets have two other items that people have been talking about.  The Jets announced a 2.3% increase on all PSL seats.  They also announced for front office staff they have to take non paid week long furloughs once a month during the lockout.  Even with the season over and the CBA looming this week, the Jets still know how to make the headlines.

There will be a 2.3% average increase in ticket prices at New Meadowlands Stadium for the 2011 season. Upper level seat prices will remain the same.  I am sure those ticket holders are breathing a sigh of relief. The cost of all seats with a PSL will increase by $5.  If there is a shortened season, the effect will not be as bad.

Season-ticket holders will be required to pay only 50% of their season tickets & parking by April 1; full payment was due by that date last year. The remaining portion won’t be due until the league announces the date that training camps will open. Season-ticket holders will also have a six-month payment plan option.  I applaud the Jets for doing this.  They finally woke up and understand people may not be able to flip the entire bill by April 1st.  They should have started payment plans years ago.

Photo: JetsTwit.com

In the case of a lockout, season-ticket holders will be refunded a proportional amount if preseason or regular-season games are lost.  PSL payments won’t be affected by a lockout.  So no matter what, fans still need to hand over their money to help pay for the stadium, and their new renovations.

“While we have every reason to believe that the season will go forward as planned, we’ve adjusted our ticket policies to reflect this period of uncertainty,” said Matt Higgins, executive vice president of business operations.

The Jets will also work in conjunction with Mark Lamping, the CEO of the New Meadowlands Stadium Company, to provide more shelter from rain in the upper level end zone concourses and add 40% more capacity in the mens restrooms in the upper level. I interviewed fans who thought this move should have been done.  Fan favorite Woody Johnson toured the upper level concourse in the rain toward the end of the regular season before determining that more shelter from the inclement weather was needed.  The Jets played more than half their home games in the rain.

Matt Higgins also said “In the first year of any new stadium, you have a chance to evaluate what worked right and then where you can improve. “There’s always room for improvement. We had a few issues that we’re going to address in the off-season to improve the experience in the upper bowl.”  Fans during the season expressed a lot of changes that needed to be made.  It seems the Jets have listened to some of them.

The Jets also reduced orange level parking prices for season-ticket holders from $25 to $15. The orange parking is the NON PSL parking.  Fans can also upgrade parking levels from orange to yellow on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Many wanted to do this, seeing the yellow was closer and better areas to tailgate in.  There was only one orange parking section in close proximity to the stadium.  The rest was by the Izod Center.

Many fans have e mailed me saying they saw some kind of increase coming.  With no stadium sponsor the Jets and Giants need to generate extra revenue.  They may claim rising costs and overhead or economy issues, but with no stadium named after a big company, there is money that needs to be made.  If there is a full season, one seat will be $40 higher.  There is part of one parking pass or a 1/4 tank of gas right now.

On top of that the team announced that business-side employees will be asked to take a one-week per month furlough during the lockout.

“While we have every reason to believe that the season will go on as planned, it makes sense to adjust our policies to reflect that uncertainty around exactly when an agreement will be reached,” said Matt Higgins said, per the NY Daily News.

The effects of the lockout could prove catastrophic for some employees.  News of the proposed furlough came on the same day the team announced a blanket 2.3 percent increase on all season tickets in 2011.

This could backfire on the Jets.  Some employees might have to seek other employment.  This is not the kind of economy where not being paid one week a month would sit well with many.  Others might try to stick it out, seeing they work for an NFL franchise.  So the Jets try to cut costs in their organization and raise prices for fans to pay more for tickets.

Shouldn’t the Jets be the ones to pay more and try to save money for the fans?  I know there will be some kind of evidence where the Jets have said or will try to make sure fans pay less for something.  Not just on non PSL parking, but for everyone?  Now the payment plans and paying for only games played is a great business decision.  But there should be at least one season where the fans do not have to see prices go up on them.  Just once.

New York Jets Single Game Seats Pros & Cons

Had some issues with the website so I was finally able to get this posted.  This  past Tuesday the Jets announced they would be selling single game seats, but only in the upper bowl.  These are the NON PSL seats.  Matt Higgins, the Jets Executive VP of business operations said the Jets would not sell single game seats when the Giants made their announcement two weeks ago.  He was referring to the PSL seats, not the non PSL seats.  Obviously, the Giants had no choice but to offer PSL seats as all their seats have PSL’s.  This was a great move for the Jets organization.  The fact the upper bowl seats do not have PSL’s makes it easier for the team to offer them on a single game basis.

But lik any decision there are the good point and bad points to this.  Let us start off with the good points:

1-With about 2000 seats available on a per game basis, those who did not want to purchase season tickets can now purchase certain games, albeit they are not sold out by the time it gets to them.  Someone can go to 2-3 games instead of being responsible for a whole season.  Makes it easier on some peoples wallets.

2-It gives the Jets breathing room in selling off those seats.  They may go little by little, but at least those seats will be sold.  Instead of sitting on blocks of season tickets, they now will only sit on seats for certain games.  Depending how the Jets do over the season, those seats could go fast or slow.  Anyone wanting to get last minute seats for a game can now do so.

3-For those 2000 seats not sold, it would have been revenue lost.  Now that revenue can be made.  Once again, slow revenue made but it can be made.  With prices ranging from $95 to $125 for season ticket holders and $105 to $135 to the public the Jets will be able to make money on a game by game basis.  Unfair the general public has to pay more but what can you do.  That revenue can range from $200,000 to $260,000 per game estimated, depending on how many seats are sold.  But only if all 2000 seats are sold per game.

Now for some bad points on the seats:

1-Those from the general public that do buy them will not have a parking pass.  I do not think that is part of the deal.  One will have to park off site and take the shuttle or whatever parking the Jets designate.  Once again, some fans will be shafted on the parking.

2-The Jets will lose revenue once again.  They will not have guaranteed blocks of season tickets sold along with parking.  Instead it is a game by game basis and there is no guarantee every seat will be sold.  The Jets lowered certain PSL’s & seats by 50%.  They have to make up that lost revenue somewhere to pay for the stadium.  That was the intent all along.  Will ticket prices, parking, and other costs go up over the years to compensate for those prices being lowered?  Time will tell.

3-The Jets will now be responsible for ticket sales, or TicketMaster.  The Jets wanted to take ticket sales out of their hands and leave it to the fans.  Now, they have that responsibility once again.  This is one aspect I am sure is a burden and a responsibility no one wanted going forward.  Having TicketMaster handle the sales will make it easier for the Jets, but nothing they can breathe easy about.

4-Why would those who purchased PSL’s in the lower bowl want to buy seats in the upper bowl?  Maybe to give to friends or family that could not afford the PSL’s?  Perhaps.  Maybe to have options for family who come in from out of town, to use for business, or whatever else those have the money to spend them on.  Would make it easier on those with parking passes to buy them for friends so they have a ride to the stadium and not park off site.  But anyone who bought a PSL who buys upper bowl seats will not be sitting in the upper bowl.  Guess the Jets were being nice in offering the seats to them first.

I am sure there are other factors I have not thought about.  If anyone has any of their own feel free to leave them.  The whole PSL/Non PSL system the Jets thought about obviously has not worked for them.  They have had to change many of their original plans as the market dictated back to them what to do.  Lowering prices, single game seats, last minute sales are factors they never thought about or did not want to.  Even the New York Yankees had to lower prices and did not sell out their best seats well into the season.  Just shows the market you look for you may not find.

I know a lot of fans are happy about this and others not so happy.  I have come across many different fans over the past two years when it comes down to the new stadium and its seating.  Seems a great number of ticket holders from the 60’s and 70’s feel the PSL’s are ludicrous.  Something they would not pay for and feel it is a slap in the face to long time season ticket holders.  Younger fans who have had seats since the 80’sinto today feel like it is a necessity these days if one wants to see a football game.  A purchase like this to them is like purchasing a car or house, just another payment on top of the ones they already have.

Some season ticket holders see a PSL as a status thing.  Having one to them is like having a BMW, a beach house, a promotion at work, or anything else that they can brag or talk about to friends.  I have seen this in the past few months.  Some try to one up the other in regards to seat location.  It is not about being a fan, it is about how much one is laying out to show they are a bigger fan than someone else.  I can imagaine what some are saying that have seats in the Coaches Club section.

I actually had a conversation with someone who runs a Jets blog about the PSL’s.  He is actually proud of not just the money he spends on the PSL’s, but tailgating, merchandise, food in the stadium, and everything else to show how much of a fan he is.  Some people just love to show how much they spend to be a fan of their team.  Wonder if some would pay for the PSL’s above their kids education.  Do not laugh, I am sure some have.  Some fans just have the wrong priorities.

Many fans though do the right thing.  Whether it be investing in a PSL or watching from home.  Everyone should know their limits.  The single game seats will be good for those with tight budgets who still want to go to a game.  In time, those will be able to get PSL’s or season tickets.  I am sure people will sell them down the line.  Others will hold onto them for their kids and grandchildren.

The season begins in a week.  The parking lot will be filled and I am sure many will be tailgating and having a great time.  Will be interesting to see if there are any empty seats all around.  Be hard to see on TV because of the color of the seats.  Many will Tweet from the game and talk about it afterwords.  Might even see a lot of scalping going on for some of those seats.  Maybe those seats will be sold to those seeking season tickets in the future.  Something to keep an eye on.