Hello football fans. I figured that would be the best way to open up. I would like to thank Xtra Point Football for allowing me the room to talk about a growing concern in this country. The fact that professional sports has been changing and not for the better. Professional teams are always looking for a way to increase profit. Some increase ticket prices, some increase luxury seating, and others create a whole new stadium with state-of-the-art features & amenities. It seems the PSL has been a viable alternative for some time now. Organizations figure they can charge fans additional costs to help fund and pay for these new stadiums or renovations.
I am a life long New York Jets fan. My father had our season tickets since the then New York Titans of the AFL first offered them. My father and two friends were waiting for New York Giants season tickets but the wait was too long. The minute the Titans offered them, the three of them got in at the first opportunity. The tickets have been in my family forever. Well, until now. I have not purchased a PSL nor will I. I cannot afford it. I am not in favor of it. Not too many are actually. But that does not mean I will not cheer them on. I will always be a die-hard Jets fan, it is in my blood.
Once I heard the Jets were going to use PSL’s to help finance the new stadium, I knew many others would be as outraged as I am. What started out just creating viral videos turned into a documentary. I started filming in August of 2008 during the preseason and have not stopped. There is more to this story than two teams charging PSLs for a new stadium. There are lifelong fans who followed this team everywhere, except into the new Meadowlands stadium. The Jets fans themselves have their own stories, intertwined with the history that is the new York Jets. From simple tailgating with friends to finding husband’s and wives. Many stories have come to an end with the old stadium. Many new chapters for some will be written this September.
I am doing this documentary, for now titled Gang Greed, solely on the New York Jets. I am not a full time filmmaker and do not have the time to cover the Giants as well. I wish I could. But when you are a two-man team & have other jobs, you have to use the time you can. I say two-man team because one other individual is assisting me, another life long New York Jets season ticket holder Anthony Quintano. I feel the fans have truly not been heard. They do have a voice & deserve to have their stories told. Some have followed the team longer than anyone has worked in the organization itself. I do not want to go into any details yet about the fans, Jets, or even the documentary. I would rather give a history and overview first on what a PSL is and how it is used.
In the late 1980’s, America’s major league sports teams were caught between the need for newer and larger facilities and the public’s growing unwillingness to foot the bill. Fearful of raising ticket prices to the point of diminishing returns, teams looked for a way to raise more money without incurring more expense. Taking a cue from the options market, personal seat licenses turned out to be their ticket to easy street. The Carolina Panthers were the first true NFL team to use PSLs to pay for a new stadium in 1996.
When you buy a personal seat license (PSL) for a stadium or arena, you buy the rights to a specific seat; say section 32, seat 3B. With this comes the right to buy the ticket for your seat for any public event that is held there. If you decline, the venue can still sell the ticket to someone else, and they don’t have to share the money with you.
If you do decide to attend an event, you still have to pay for the ticket. The PSL simply gives you the option to buy the ticket before it is offered to the public.
For fans, a PSL guarantees that they will never again miss a game of their beloved team, be it the Jets, Giants, Raptors, Cardinals or Maple Leafs. For an investor with a high tolerance for risk, the PSL is a product that can be resold, sometimes at a huge markup. For the teams and venues, the PSL is free money with an added bonus; anyone paying for a PSL is unlikely to let the seats go empty very often.
Even if they do, they still have the option of selling their tickets and making a profit.
Since its inception, PSL revenue has been a major source of income for many pro and amateur sports. The New York Giants and Jets are currently building a new stadium in the Meadowlands, and 20 percent of the $1.7 billion price tag will be covered by PSLs (to the dismay of longtime season ticket holders who suddenly have to come up with tens of thousands of dollars to secure their tickets in the new stadium.)
In 2004, Churchill Downs, home of The Kentucky Derby, sold 3,000+ 30-year PSLs for $18,000 -$75,000 each. Some colleges’ have even taken advantage of the income PSL’s can bring. Ohio State sold 40-year PSLs for its men’s basketball program for up to $15,000 each!
Right now on SeasonTicketRights.com there is an auction for 4 Dallas Cowboys PSLs, Row 5, Section C136 for $250,000. Oh, and no parking pass. This is just for the PSLs, not the season tickets.
The resale market on PSLs is extremely volatile, and dependent largely on the success of the sports franchises that play in the venue. On eBay you could buy eight Dallas Cowboy PSLs for $160,000 or two for the Pittsburgh Steelers for $60,000. In contrast, two PSLs for the Cincinnati Bengals can be had for under $500. Some Dallas Cowboys PSL costs are over $100,000 per seat.
When it comes to a business model, how can you go wrong selling people the option to buy something you want them to buy anyway? Genius. Pure genius. But for the fans, it may come at a bigger price and for some, a price many cannot afford. We are still in a down economy and the New York Jets say they are selling PSLs and the economy is improving. Considering they are a private company, they can say whatever they want. The only reason they think the economy is getting better is because they are slowly selling the PSLs but nowhere close to selling all. If my business were making a profit even I would think the economy is turning around. Many Jets season ticket holders will not purchase a PSL and still believe the economy has not turned around yet.
This coming season will be an interesting one, not just for the Jets, but for the fans as well. Like I have been doing the past two seasons, I will be there in the parking lot filming Gang Greed to see how many will continue on and follow a team in a place they can finally call home. The fans there will know they helped to build the place, but at what cost? I will have more on not just the Jets, but the Jets fans and the PSLs as well. You can go to my website at LevysBakeryProductions or QuintanoMedia for more information.
The Jets write their own story, the Jets fans write the checks for the option to have a story to tell. – David Levy
David Levy is a life long New York Jets fan. He is also a football documentary filmmaker giving Jets fans a voice in Gang Greed & sports blogger. David is also working on other various media & writing projects for others and himself, Levy’s Bakery Productions.