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NFL Fans Should Pay For Their Tickets, Not Stadiums

The Georgia Dome in Atlanta remains a perfectly fine building for professional football. Still a teenager, it is nowhere near long in the tooth. Capacity is enough to accommodate nearly every Atlanta Falcons fan willing to buy tickets.

Arthur Blank, the team owner, craves a new stadium. That seems akin to trading in your car after it has logged only 20,000 miles, but he can well afford it.  Blank, the former owner of the ubiquitous American home improvement store chain called The Home Depot, has a net worth of $1.2 billion, according to Forbes, and the franchise value has risen 52 per cent since he bought it in 2002 for $545 million.

But wait. Blank expects the quasi-public agency that operates the Dome and the proposed site of a new stadium to issue bonds that would pay some of the costs. That should be 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, sticking it to taxpayers at the same time that funding for public schools in Georgia is being cut.

This sickness is spreading among NFL team owners. In Minnesota, the Vikings’ Zygi Wilf has capitalized on the collapse of the Metrodome’s inflatable roof amid a once-in-a-lifetime snowstorm and the fear of the franchise relocating to Los Angeles in his campaign for a replacement stadium. Of course, citizens would contribute to the project. Never mind that Blank might expect Wilf, worth $1.3bn, to pick up their lunch bill.

The shameless nonchalance of these folks who seem detached from reality has generated a shifting of the winds.  We have already experienced it here in New York and New Jersey.

The public, which normally sides with management during labor disputes in American sports, is sympathetic toward the players in a stand-off with owners that has pushed the league to the brink of a lockout.  In a poll conducted by Seton Hall University, 35 per cent who participated backed the players, compared to 22 per cent for their bosses. This, even though the same study found that most contend the players are overpaid.

Taxpayers are increasingly fed up with being forced to become stadium-erecting partners with Rolex-wearing, yacht-sailing jet-setters. Economists nowadays agree on little, but one belief they share is that public support of professional sports offers almost nothing financially in return.

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The Giants and Jets grew tired of their shared arena and convinced the government to pitch in for a new-and-improved one. The old Giants Stadium was torn down despite carrying more than $100m in debt that must be paid off by the good people of New Jersey.  Plus, the season ticket holders are also helping flip the bill on the new one with PSL’s.  Isn’t that double dipping?  The nerve!

Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, stands complicit in this wasteful building boom. From his office comes a wink-nod promise of the ultimate in ego gratification for owners: host your own Super Bowl! Just throw up a stadium and you will get the big game. How you bankroll it, that’s your business.

Which explains why the 2014 Super Bowl was awarded to New Meadowlands in a region where the average low temperature in February is -2°C.  Which also explains why 22 of 32 teams have moved into fresh digs or had their existing ones totally made over in the last two decades.

In that time, teams have been blessed with more than $7bn in taxpayer subsidies for construction and renovation, according to the NFL Players’ Association.

The players union reports that, on average, taxpayers put up 65 per cent of the financing for those projects. Owners found a way to avoid putting in any money for 10 of them; for nine others, their contribution amounted to less than 25 per cent.

Further driving public sentiment toward the players are reports on the sport’s inherent physical risk, particularly for victims of post-concussive syndrome that has ravaged retirees. Fans are looking beyond the average salary of $1.9m and discovering other statistics:

$770,000, the median yearly pay.  ŸThree-and-a-half years, the average length of career.  Eleven, the average number of players per team on injured reserve this past season.

While many of us might trade places with the players, the figures show that most of them accumulate more aches and pains than enough wealth to last them a lifetime.

For team owners, it is a different story. Admittance into the club all but guarantees going from rich to richer, experienced from the comfort of a stadium luxury suite.

Fine. That is the American way. But those who knock on government doors seeking handouts to finance mostly unnecessary arenas should instead heed the marketing message aimed at customers of Blank’s old home improvement stores.

Do it yourself.

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.

NFL vS NFLPA: Are The Fans On The Losing End?

Well, the dust has finally settled after another Jets season.  Many fans not looking forward to the 6 month off season before preseason begins.  The players and rookies will be called to camp before then, but not soon enough for some.  Counting down days on the calendar like prisoners waiting for parole.  I hate when football season is over.  I am not into basketball.  Hockey begins close to the playoffs.  Baseball begins for me at the All Star break.  Football is my true sports vice.

With the 2011 season still up in the air, many fans wonder if they will be able to use their season tickets.  Some others are wondering if it is worth even looking into the ones that are left.  With the NFL and NFLPA not close to agreeing on a new collective bargaining agreement the 2011 seems like a season of fantasy.  The NFL and players both have their terms they would like to be met.  In the end, if no terms are met, not only will the NFL and players both lose money but the fans will lose out as well.

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Many fans only paid one year into their five or fifteen year payment plan of their PSL’s.  If there is no season, one still has to make that payment.  But the Jets did say payment on season tickets would vary.  If there is no season, no ticket money would be paid.  If any games are played, then payments for only those games played.  With the football season only having 8 home games, a shortened season is close to having no season.  Especially to tailgaters.

I wonder just how often when the big decisions are being made in these meetings with team owners,, the NFL, and players that the fans are taken into consideration and discussed.  The fans are like the last ones picked in the game of kickball.  Is there a discussion on how all the decisions will affect their fans or is it about how they will lose out on generating revenue.  In reality, the fans are the ones who help them generate that revenue, not just sponsors,TV contracts, merchandising, etc.  I am sure the NFL and team owners know this, but is there a focus that is really put on the fans who come out and pay?

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I may be venting a little bit here.  I know the NFL and teams do think about the fans.  But I am sure they think more about the ticket sales and making sure seats are filled rather than who actually sits in those seats.  They could care less if Joe SuperFan who has been sitting in the same seat is there, as long as that seat is filled.  To them, Joe SuperFan is just a consumer.  They do not care if he comes to every game, they do not know him personally.  As long as his seat is paid for, that is all that matters.

But i am sure they know the VIP’s and those who purchase suites by name.  Those people get different sales reps who know their clients by name.  The sales reps for stadium seats wear Jets polo shirts.  The sales reps for suites wear suits.  I know, I followed a suite sales rep around as he was pitching a suite to a potential customer.  I heard their conversation.  It is such a different approach than the average fan looking into seats.  The suite sales rep mentioned how he would be treated the same way Woody Johnson would be treated.  Shouldn’t every fan be treated the same way?  Or only those that pay more than others?

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In this off season, a lot needs to be taken into consideration as to how the NFL, team owners, players, and fans should be considered.  For the last three seasons, I have interviewed many different Jets season ticket holders.  I have received opinions on various levels.  Many fans feel that even though they are talked to on varying degrees, their opinions do not really matter.  Even after the new stadium was built and was supposed to be better for all fans, complaints are still rampant.  Only the ones who follow the Jets like sheep and do everything they say do not complain.

In this off season many factors need to be considered.  The NFL and NFLPA not only should come to an agreement for what is best for both sides, but do it before the start of the 2011 season.  if they don’t, many fans will be outraged and angry.  Jet fans want the 2011 season to happen.  Even if the Jets do not keep the same team from this past season, the aura is there to make another worthy run into the playoffs next season.  No one wants to see a lock out, no one.  Not the teams, the players, the NFL, anyone.

I think the NFL and fans should have a collective bargaining agreement.  The fans should ask for certain universal concessions from the teams to make sure we actually get our monies worth.  Every fan has complaints about their team.  I do not think any fan is 100% satisfied with everything.  From the team to the concessions to the parking, everyone has at least one issue.  So as the NFL and NFLPA sit in their meetings for hours on end, they should keep one thing in mind.

Are the decisions we make not just right for us, are they right for our fans.

Super Bowl Eludes Jets, Off Season Holds Many Questions

Well, the Jets went down to the Steelers 24-19.  When the Jets decided to defer the toss at the kick off, that was their undoing.  The Steelers held the ball for an opening drive that consumed over nine minutes.  The Jets defense was put to the test early and had to endure Rashard Mendenhall.  The 5’11”. 225 lb running back was forcing the Jets to stop him on the way to an opening drive touchdown.  With that opening drive, it was amazing to see the Jets defense have anything left for the remainder of the game.  The fans were behind them the entire time.  But on Twitter, some were giving up on them the minute the first half was over.  One began to read the old saying: Same old Jets.

By the time the Jets got going in the second half time was not on their side.  Key calls in the red zone by Brian Schottenheimer did not help the Jets case to score.  On a Third and goal, they should have run the ball instead of pass.  They ended up running on fouth down but were held at the one yard line by the Steelers defense.  With minutes to go in the game one can see the Jets were getting into the groove, but it was too little too late.  Even after a 4-yard TD pass to Jerricho Cotchery made it 24-19 with 3:06 remaining. The Jets never got the ball back.

To Rex Ryan, Same Old Jets means Namath and Weeb Ewbank and those Super Bowl III champions, the ones that had his father Buddy coaching the linebackers. His approach to years of heartache and predestination’s of doom was to blow it over with bombast, overwhelm it with arrogance.  So when Rex hears same old Jets, he has a different thought in mind.

Since Bill Parcells finagled his way back to the Meadowlands in 1997, the Jets are 16 games over .500 — 120-104. In the last 14 seasons they’ve finished below .500 just three times, and two of those were crash-and-burn deals after injuries to Chad Pennington.

That leaves just one season, the 4-12 year in 2007, that the Jets flat-out stunk as built and planned. Think that’s a bad deal? Ask around the league. Start in Cleveland. Peek in on Detroit.

In the last 10 seasons, this was the sixth playoff trip for the Jets. Defensive end Sean Ellis, drafted in 2000, played his 12th Jets playoff game Sunday. How many other players around the league have played as many for one team in the last 10 years? Tom Brady? Petyon Manning? Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward?

The Patriots, Colts, Steelers and Eagles are the only franchises to have played in more playoff games over the last 10 years than the Jets.  The Giants have played in half as many.  Of course, the Giants went to the Super Bowl, and won it. So did the Patriots, Steelers and Colts. That’s seven of the last nine championships.  None for the Jets.

Failure is relative. The Philadelphia Eagles have been to five NFC Championship Games in the last decade, lost four of them, and still haven’t won a Super Bowl.

The Buffalo Bills once lost four Super Bowls in a row. Now they’ve gone 11 seasons without even making the playoffs. Which way do you think the folks upstate would rather have it?

Maybe this is small consolation, after Vinny Testaverde’s Achilles and Chad Pennington’s wrist and Chad Pennington’s shoulder, and all those almosts — from the Mud Bowl against the Dolphins to the collapse of ‘86 and to halftime leads vanished the last two times before Sunday the Jets got this far.

Will fans think the Jets can get this far next year is the question.  Many will boast and say next year is the year they win it all.  But coming up is an off season with a lot of uncertainty.  Will LT and Jason Taylor decide to stay with the team, retire, or go elsewhere?  Braylon Edwars is anotehr big question mark.  With free agency, contracts to negotiate, and a possible lock out, no one can tell where the Jets are headed next season.

Also, after not making the Super Bowl and the Jets still not sold out of PSL’s and no PSL seats, how will this help their case to get them sold.  I am sure many fans were on the fence and wanted to see how the season ended.  The Jets can not market the team as a Super Bowl team, but only as a playoff contender.  Two years in a row and this year was their second biggest game in the teams history does not bode well for sales.  They will get some hoping the Jets win their division and get at least one home playoff game.  But considering how strong New England is and will be, that is another uncertainty.

The fans had one hell of a ride though.  They followed the Jets no matter where they played to get to the Super Bowl.  Some Jets fans were happy they were on the road.  They had an opportunity to buy seats in lower parts of stadiums they would never have done in the PSL ridden seats at the Meadowlands.  That is one positive being able to see the Jets on the road.  Being able to purchase seats in any part of the stadium.  If the Jets had home playoff games, many single ticket buyers would be relegated to the upper bowl.  Makes sense to me why some would rather travel to see Gang green.

The Jets organization has a lot to do both on the field and off before next season.  Not only do they have their team to lock up, but their ticket holders as well.  With many open seats, they can consider some fans free agents.  What will the organization do to get those investors into those seats before next season.  What will the offers be.  How will they market those seats to the potential investors?

The Jets have been heavy on marketing over the years, the same way Jerry Jones has done with the Dallas Cowboys.  Will that marketing and the heavy calls their sales team makes be enough to convince investors to buy their share of the stadium?  No matter how well the Jets do and how excited the fans get, it always comes back to one old saying if the Jets never win that elusive Super Bowl.  Same Old Jets.

Jets Fans Could Pay For Seats They May Not Sit In Next Season

For the second year in a row, Jets fans have to travel to support their team in the playoffs.  I know many would love to be able to drive to the Meadowlands to watch the Jets, but that can not always happen.  Some enjoy going from stadium to stadium to watch games.  Other care to stay at their home stadium because it is familiar and easy to get to.  But in my experience, I never minded going to an opposing teams stadium.  I find it a great experience to see games in other arenas or stadiums, no matter the modernization.  Some are not happy in an old style stadium and want the huge screens, lounges, and easy access from highways.

I have only been to other stadiums for baseball games and hockey games.  I have not ventured out and been to another stadium to see the Jets.  But from where I have been, they have been great experiences.  Just because a stadium is not state of the art does not make it a worse place to watch a game in that one that is.  I had an individual who is behind a Jets blog and message board try to tell me differently.  He believes the New MEadowlands Stadium is worth every penny he pays and would not have it any differently.

This individual proceeded to say how other stadiums do not compare to the New Meadowlands Stadium.  He prefers huge video screens, easy to find stadium, escalators, expensive food, and seating outside in the cold.  He said his Jets PSL and season tickets are his vice and is willing to spend as much as he can on them.  He does not care how much money he lays out.  From reading some of his columns and posts on his boards, he is a Jets sheep.  He does what the Jets want and doe not question their motives no matter how much they ask from their fans.  These are the consumers the Jets look for, ones who are willing to spend and not question it.

Myself, I love going to older stadiums to watch a game.  I already have vision loss so I need binoculars to see any video screen, no matter the size.  Half the fun of going to a game is in the travel.  When I went to Hartford and Rentschler Field, I loved the trip to a new area and different stadium.  As far as escalators and elevators, I prefer to walk.  After eating all that food at a tailgate it is great to walk it off however one can.  I also only buy coffee in the stadium, if it is a cold game.  Why pay such high prices on mediocre food?  Everyone has different opinions.  But why spend unnecessarily if one does not have to?  Just to show you have disposable income?

Some who have the money do want to spend it on football and other sports.  That is their vice.  Some might take vacations, have a timeshare, or invest in the market.  Others buy season tickets and PSLs.  It just amazes me though some people spend more than they have to.  I have not heard anyone rave about the food in the Coaches Club section.  The free food tastes like it was given to the stadium for free.  For the money people are paying, I am sure the stadium could have invested in a catering company that would treat their shareholders a little better.  So is the money some lay out really worth it?

With the potential of a lock out next season, many fans will be upset over no football.  Especially those financing their PSL’s.  They will put money down on tickets and not even get a chance to see any games.  Money well spent.  That is a drawback to those spending big money on the PSL’.  You have to keep paying installments even if there is no football season.  So sometimes being the one who pays for the non PSL seats in the upper deck can come out the winner.  The lockout may not even go on for the whole season.  No one knows at this point.

The downward economy, unemployment and job losses, NFL lockout, and other factors have not been kind to the Jets over the past few years.  With the Jets still not sold out of PSL and non PSL seats, how will a lock out help the sales?  Not just that, how will the fans feel about paying for seats they may not use for a season?  A lot of factors had lead to fans being disappointed in the past and not keeping their tickets.  How will a supposed lockout affect those who just became season ticket holders?  Lot of questions to be answered in the next few months.

Not many critics are giving the Jets a chance this Sunday.  They can pull out a sneaky win, but they have to be a team they have yet to be.  Fans are aching for Gang Green to pull out an upset against the Pats in Foxboro in the playoffs.  It would be bittersweet if they did.  This could be the last Jets game many see depending on the lockout situation.  Not many players will commit to an 18 game schedule if the owners want to pay them less.  So right now, they are far from an agreement.  Things are not looking good for next season.  So get your ticket and PSL money ready for a season one many not see.

Jets On The Road To Lead Fans To Super Bowl?

Well, it seems the Jets beat The Stomach.  It was their year to beat Peyton Manning and the Colts in the playoffs.  The Jets did what they needed to do.  The ran the ball and forced their defense to stop them on the ground.  Darelle Revis held Reggie Wayne to just one yard.  Revis Island was more like Revis Prison.  Even though Manning was not sacked, intercepted, or blocked in any way, his presence on the field did not deter the Jets from accomplishing the first step in their goal, going to the Super Bowl.  Most importantly, Nick Folk stepped up and kicked the Jets into the next round against New England.  He showed he wanted to be an integral part of the team.

So the Jets are rolling in the playoffs for the second year.  The only thing that can stop them is themselves.  Many fans, including Fireman Ed made they way out to support the Jets on the road.  The main drawback to playing all road games is no Jets season ticket holder gets a chance to get those tickets first.  One has to see how they can procure them on the open market.  For the second year in a row, the Jets are in the playoffs and no home games.  So as you invest in the team with your PSL’s, it does not guarantee you a dividend of playoff tickets unless there is a home game.  They can play on the road every year and no Jets season ticket holder will have first access.

For many, they can not make it to away games, especially playoff games.  Getting time off from work, family, and other commitments make it difficult for some.  Some love to go to away games and factor that into every season.  For some, they feel it i cheaper to go to an away game.  Tickets are less.  Yes one has to pay travel and hotel expenses, but that can cost less that investing in a PSL and season tickets.  Ken Pikowski is one of those fans.  He talks about how ticket prices are cheaper in other stadium he attends.  This coming form someone who used to have six season tickets along the 50 yard line in the old stadium.

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Foxboro is not as far as Indianapolis, so there might be more Jets fans willing to make the trip.  Always a good feeling for the away team to know their fans are in the stadium to cheer them on.  It is that little extra motivation that can help a team win away from their home.  For those who have the buses, Winnebago’s,   campers, trailers, and any party vehicle on wheels, it makes the tailgating experience a little easier.  One gets to bring a little bit of home with them to away games.  But nothing beats sitting in the seats you sit in every game at your home stadium.

Many fans are hoping the Jets can win their division or get at least one home game in in the future.  Getting those post season games as a season ticket holder makes the season bearable.  When many invested in the team, they were hoping the Jets would get some playoffs games in the New Meadowlands Stadium.  But when ones makes an investment and it pays no dividends, why keep that investment?  I have said many times, many keep it to pass down to their kids.  But what about the ones who hope to sell them.

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If the Jets were a team who had home playoff games and fans knew they could count on those tickets every year, people could sell the PSLs at a higher profit margin.  Fans would want those tickets more than the season tickets.  For some reason, the playoffs just bring out more in a team.  Playoff tickets go for big bucks on their own.  Imagine if the Jets were a team, who won their division several times like other teams, and someone sold the season tickets knowing he could up the price because they were a home playoff team?  Look at New England, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and other NFL teams.  Their fans know that when their team is strong, home playoff games are on the horizon.  Jets fans want the same thing.

So it seems this year is a year many fans will remember.  Not just because Rex Ryan made a promise to beat Peyton Manning and did, but because of a new era with a new stadium.  It was a new season that had many firsts, from designated parking to social media interaction.  The Jets stock price is slowly climbing.  But the parking stock has already skyrocketed.  Keep in mind, both the PSL’s and parking passes are investment.  They do not come together as an investment.  If you have them together, now you have a Jets portfolio.  Not easy to invest in a team in this new era of sports.

Not All Jets Shareholders Created Equal

This coming Saturday marks the second season in a row the Jets will face Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs.  It seems Rex Ryan and Peyton Manning have this little feud.  Rex tries to figure out Manning and Manning can figure Ryan out.  But this is different year. The Colts rank 29th in run defense and are riddled with injuries.  This is the Jets year to beat the Colts.  Much like it was the Fink’s year to beat The Stomach in Meatballs.  The tools are there for the Jets.  Now all they have to do is be the team that was on the field against Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

This was an up and down year for the Jets organization.  Even though the team is in the postseason, it does not mean sales and merchandising stops for the team.  This is where they hope to make a little extra.  The Jets are expecting sales of merchandise, Jets themed party favors, and other branded goods to be purchased so fans can show their Jets pride.  For some reason, some always feel the need to have something new.  Could be a hat, t shirt, jersey, or even a coffee mug.  There is that need to buy more and show how big of a fan you really are.  Not like the one who has the most Jets merchandise is the biggest fan.

This past week I spent time with many Jets season ticket holders, new and old.  Some I met for the first time and others I was catching up with.  Many agree that for the money they spent, or invest in their team they do not see much of a return on their investment.  Many still complain about the parking, the look of the stadium, the lines,and other small items that seem to range from tailgate to tailgate.  It just shows that no matter what the Jets do, they can not please everyone about everything.  They do try.  But depending on who you ask, they do not try hard enough.  That the team only tries to cater to those willing to spend major bucks on Coaches Club seats and suites.

Seems the more you invest in the team, the better your return.  When one invests in stock, no matter the amount, they always get the same dividend per share.  It does not matter how many shares you have.  Weather you have one share or a thousand, it is the same dividend per stock certificate.  The onlt difference is how many votes you have and say in company business.  With PSL’s, the more you spend, the better your experience.  So the guy upstairs get what he pays for, very little.  So even though you have a seat, the ones who paid more for theirs, have a better experience.  But according to some I talked to, they would rather sit upstairs that down stairs.

Some younger fans, the ones who are just happy to have season tickets are glad to be in the upper deck.  They have complete view of the field, screens, and everything that goes on.  Some of those fans also said that the downstairs seating has such a sloped seating structure that you can have obscured sight lines if there is a tall person in front of you, people stand, etc.  While upstairs, the seating is steeper so your view is not obstructed by anything.  They feel it makes for a greater experience and would never pay more for a lower seat.  Others are the opposite.  They want to be as close as possible to the game no matter who is in front of them, as long as they have a close seat.

Keep in mind, everyone will have a complaints no matter what stadium they go to.  They can not please everyone all of the time.  There will always be people saying how something is not fair, how prices are too steep, or how their coffee is too hot.  But when it comes to season ticket holders, they are the teams investors and they should all be listened to.  There really is no more waiting list, people can get seats and PSLs if they want to now.  So the demand is not there like in seasons past.  The team would be wise to listen to its stockholders from this point forward.  And not just the ones who stand 15 feet from the teams bench.

So with the Wild Card round coming up soon, Jets fans are salivating at getting revenge on the Colts from last year.  Those who go to Indy will have a grand time, just like they did last year.  Those or here at home, will be rooting from the comfort of our living room or local watering hole.  There is an advantage to not seeing a game at the Meadowlands, but rather at home, restaurant, or bar in New Jersey.  That would be cheaper beer prices, better food, and the ability to sit with your friends.  I know beer prices in New York can be steep.  IS the investment worth eight games a year, not counting preseason?  That is still up for debate.

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 Fiscal Year Extended To Playoffs

This past Sunday the Jets lost to Chicago by four points.  Now some may have thought fans would have to wait until they played Buffalo to see what their playoff fate would be.  But since Jacksonville lost, the Jets received a sport in the playoffs.  For the second straight year, it came down to the wire.  Like a software programmer, they found a back door into the playoffs.  It would have been better for their confidence if they clinched it with a win, on their own.  But they had to rely on another team to lose in order to gain entry.  I do not think that is what Rex Ryan and the team wanted.  But Rex said he will take it however he can.

Last year, the Jets had to beat Cincinnati in the final game of the season to get a playoff berth.  It was the “Win and we’re in” campaign.  They did it and beat Cincinnati in two consecutive games.   This year has been a different story.  Only one win their last four games has not shown what a true playoff contender they should be.  If they want to show their fans and the media they are Super Bowl worthy, then they should have locked up their spot weeks ago.  New England showed how bad they wanted it, the Jets could have done the same t5hing.  If the Jets plan to show their future shareholders they really mean business, they need to turn more than one corner in the next two weeks.

When the Jets made the postseason it gives them a greater ability to tell future investors this is a company, or team, making strides.  Two years in a row in the playoffs, something they can market to future investors.  A reason to get in now so they can have a shot at getting tickets to possible future playoff games.  Call home playoff tickets a dividend.  A bonus for investing in their stock and season tickets.  But if they do not make the postseason, they there is no dividend.  If there is no dividend and one looks for one each year, then why keep the tickets?

Like I have said, many hold them to pass to future generations.  They enjoy coming, tailgating, and making memories.  Some others spent their disposable income to get the extras.  To show friends they have the money to spend on the VIP seats for the free food.  To sit in the suites away from the real fans, who brave the elements to watch the game..  Those are the ones who see it as an investment.  To woo clients, show their status, and look like they are one notch higher than the other fans.  They may dispute what I say, but is it worth the money for the free food that is horrible?  Compared to other stadiums around the league, it rates amongst the worst.

The postseason can be viewed as a great way to market empty PSLs to potential investors.  Letting them know it has been two years in a row so get in now before someone else takes your seat.  But the drawback to that is they have all road games.  You do not know if it is a home game until the week is right upon you.  This could be a make or break decision for some.  I know Jets fans are dying for a home playoff game.  I remember attending a Wild Card game at Giants Stadium in 1985 against the New England Patriots.  There is a different level of excitement at a playoff game.  PSL holders are hoping for that chance.  Some to attend the event, and others to make big bucks selling the tickets.

SO with the Buffalo Bills coming to town on Sunday, Jets fans are already thinking of that first round playoff game.  Wondering what town some will fly to to watch an away game while others plan for festivities here at home.  The Jets hold their future in their hands.  Which Jets will show up on Sunday?  I can assure you the fans only care about one version, the ones who will beat Buffalo.

So the sales pitches will continue on both the PSL and non PSL seats.  I am sure The Jets will not want to sell single game seats in the upper section next year.  They will use the Jets postseason spots as a part of their sales pitch to potential investors.  The more seats they have out of their hands, the more guaranteed money they will get on those season tickets.  Once they know more are in place, the more they can rely on that guaranteed income.  They still have a long way to go to convince many to invest in the remaining PSLs, club seats, and suites.  The sooner they convince they are a winning franchise, the easier it will be.

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.