Yesterday’s Stadium Tour Afterthought

OK, I just feel the need to get this out.  After yesterday’s tour you can see that attending a professional sports event in this new day is truly catered to the corporate/high priced fan base.  The Coaches Club and Coaches Club prime areas are where the most expensive seats and PSL’s are.  Not just the access to field level watching behind the Jets bench, but the other amenities and dining opportunities seem to make the game going on a second reason to attend the game.  There is so much going on and so many decisions to make over carving stations, sushi, brick oven pizza, and other new choices.  The seats are plusher, the screns are larger, and so are the prices.  Corporate sponsors have their own booths and rooms just for their employees and guests.  For the casual fan you will have more food opportunities, but at the same level.  In this new era of sports, you have to pay if you want to play, even as a fan.

It is feeling more and more like the Roman Colosseum.  For those who have the money and can afford the best seats, you will be at the bottom on field level.  For those who are hurting in a down economy, unemployed, or just do not feel like giving the organization their hard earned money will be located at the top of the stadium.  Country Clubs have operated in a similar fashion. The more you pay for your membership, the better the benefits and surroundings.  In this day and age. there are no lengths these team owners will go to to attract the almighty dollar.  It is no longer about the average fan.  The average fan comes to the stadium to watch & enjoy the game and maybe have a beer and hot  dog.  The new fan is the one who looks at the stadium as a place to have dinner, go to a bar, maybe network for work or obtain business, and oh yeah, see a game that just so happens to be going on.  Guess which fan they REALLY want? Oh, the average fan does get something in their seats you do not get in the plush stadium seats……cup holders.

N.Y. Giants, Jets Must Defend Suit Over Stadium Seat Licenses

By David Voreacos    credit Bloomberg.com

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) — The New York Giants and Jets must defend a breach-of-contract claim by a fan forced to buy personal seat licenses to finance a new $1.6 billion stadium, a judge ruled in also throwing out three related claims.

U.S. District Judge Peter Sheridan dismissed antitrust, consumer-fraud and unjust enrichment claims by Harold Oshinsky, while raising questions as to whether Oshinsky’s contract claim will survive. Oshinsky, a retired businessman, has held season tickets for both National Football League teams for 24 years.

Oshinsky claims it’s unfair to force fans to pay as much as $20,000 for the right to buy each Giants seat and up to $25,000 to buy each Jets seat. The teams play in Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and are using the licenses to help pay for a nearby stadium that will open for the 2010 season.

“We’re trying to prove that the season ticket holders had a right to renew that was essentially taken away from them without any compensation,” Andrew Friedman, Oshinsky’s lawyer, said yesterday in an interview. “They’ve stopped allowing you to renew unless you buy a personal seat license.”

Sheridan said Oshinsky, who sued the teams in March, can pursue his contract claim through the pre-trial gathering of evidence. He said Oshinsky may depose three witnesses within 60 days and conduct other discovery to help build his case.

Mixed Bag

“The exact parameters” of Oshinsky’s “renewal rights (if any) will be defined, and only then can a determination be made as to whether those renewal rights have been breached” by imposing the licenses, Sheridan ruled Nov. 17 in Newark, New Jersey.

Pat Hanlon, a Giants spokesman, declined to comment. Jets spokesman Bruce Speight had no immediate comment on the ruling.

Oshinsky seeks to proceed as a group, or class-action, lawsuit. The ruling is “kind of a mixed bag,” said Friedman, of Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP in New York.

“I’m disappointed in the dismissal of the consumer and antitrust claims,” Friedman said. “I’m pleased that we’re allowed to go forward.”

In his 19-page opinion, Sheridan said Oshinsky claims he has two contracts with the teams: a right to buy tickets to all pre-season and regular season home games at an established location; and an implied “renewal right” to continue buying this bundle of tickets in perpetuity.

Renewal Rights

This alleged renewal right is the “central feature” in the dispute, according to the judge. The issue is “not whether renewal rights can exist at all, but whether they exist under the particular facts of this case,” wrote the judge.

By buying six contiguous Giants seats in Section 130 and four contiguous Jets seats in Section 131 for the past 24 years, Oshinsky “may possess a valuable implied right to renew his season tickets at both the existing stadium and the new stadium,” according to the opinion.

At this stage, it would be “inappropriate” to determine whether periodic disclaimers on Giants and Jets tickets has “waived or forfeited his renewal rights,” the judge wrote.

While the teams argue that the “express licensing agreement on the back of individual tickets trumps any renewal rights implied through the parties’ conduct,” Sheridan said he wouldn’t rule yet on that question.

“The licensing agreement on the back of individual tickets deals only with an individual game; it says nothing of the separate right to renew season tickets to all games,” Sheridan wrote. That agreement “may not bear up on long term renewal rights,” according to the judge.

Sordid History

Sheridan said he can’t yet rule on a breach of those rights, nor pass judgment on how the teams do business.

They “must ordinarily be permitted to increase ticket prices to keep pace with inflation, absorb the high cost of high salary talent or, as in this particular case, defray the costs of building a new stadium,” wrote the judge.

The judge, citing another legal opinion, said “it is common knowledge that professional sports franchisees have a sordid history of arrogant disdain for the consumers of this product.”

He also quoted another ruling, saying “whatever else might be said about professional football in the United States, it does seem to breed a hardy group of fans who do not fear litigation combat.”

The case is Oshinsky v. New York Football Giants Inc., 2:09-cv-01186, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

To contact the reporter on this story: David Voreacos in Newark, New Jersey at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: November 21, 2009 00:01 EST

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NY Jets New Meadowlands Stadium Tour 11-21-2009

Today Anthony and I had the chance to get a tour of the new stadium currently under construction. As we walked inside we were brought up to the 50 Club in the old stadium to sign waivers so that the Jets or the construction company were not responsible if we hurt ourselves on site. They were offering up the construction hats we wore and other items for those who purchased PSL’s. We were all given Jets hard hats, Neon Orange mesh vests and protective glasses. We were given a personal tour just the four of us. We were held back frm the first group because of the video camera we brought. We could not take it in but still managed to get some great shots.

Anthony and I with our wives Gina & Kim. We were rushed through most of it because they had to keep the groups moving but there wasn’t much to see as of yet since the majority of the work is still not finished. The only thing really new to see was the turf they just laid down this week. They are going to have tours going into the spring. The corner video screens are F’N HUGE!!!!! It was a very surreal experience seeing the new stadium in the shadow of the old stadium. Another interesting view was the old stadium through the slots in the new stadium.

Football has come into the 21st Century. The venues now resemble country clubs inside some areas more than sports arenas. Carving stations, bars, restaurants, posh leather seating in some internal areas. The more you pay the more perks you get. The less you pay, then you are just an average fan to them. If you think I am wrong, let me know.

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Getting Caught Up

Good evening one and all. It has been a while since I have been on here. Getting my first job in retail to pay the bills has been more tiring than i thought. But a paycheck is a paycheck these days. I am sure I do not have to say anything about the Jets season so far. Rex Ryan said they were a 4-5 team right now on the Michael Kay show on 1050 ESPN Radio this week. The Jets in my opinion have been the same old Jets. All hype and no bite. This roller coaster seems to have more valleys that hills to climb. Guess it is just a little to hard to get over the hill right now. Sanchez needs to step up his game and sharpen his game. Too many interceptions and blown chances. Even with Edwards, the receiving line is hurting. No one is stepping up their game. Let us all hope at some point they can make us all proud to be Jets fans.

Filming at the games has been limited this year due to rain. Anthony and I finally got to our first game this past weekend. Good stuff and as always we were at Sal and Carmine’s. They set up for Thanksgiving dinner at the tailgate. All the trimmings plus some of the usual tailgate food. The fried bananas were great! Received an e mail from the Jets yesterday extending an invitation to take a tour of the new stadium. They have been setting up tours for those interested in getting seats in the new stadium. I am using this as a chance to not just see it, but to film it. They also promised 2 tickets to a game this season. If they can not sell them, why not give them away. Great opportunity at a great time.

Going to be sitting down with Sal and Carmine in the next few weeks. Will also have updates from people I sat down with last year. Have to get into post production mode on a few things and get some others started. Will also be working on some new projects soon.

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