Season Ticket Holder Feels Cheated by New York Jets

Last night I was doing my usual nightly research on daily New York Jets topics.  I check the internet and Google news for any new reports on the Jets, any PSL topic, stadium info, and other info that does not surround the players.  As I was reviewing visitors to my own website, I noticed a comment from an unusual website that seems new and deals only in PSL news.  The website is PersonalSeatLicense.net.  The site is very basic but has some good news pieces.  As I was checking out the different links, I came to one on JetsInsider.com and their forums.  It listed an article on SILive.com about a season ticket holder who has had his seats since 1964.  A lot of links to go through to find one article but worth it.

Apparently, he paid the Jets for his PSL and tickets but nothing was ever confirmed.  He received them and when friends tried to use the Jets/Giants preseason tickets they were refused entry to the game saying the tickets were not valid.  Here is the article and judge for yourself:

“STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. —  A season ticket holder since 1964, William Antico bleeds Jets green.

So deep is his love for the team, he spent $86,000 — his children’s inheritance, he says — on licenses for four prime seats, and tickets to this year’s inaugural season in the new Meadowlands Stadium.

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Staten Island Advance/Hilton
Flores A Jets season ticket holder since 1964, William Antico holds up his tickets from Super Bowl III. Recently, Antico found that his tickets for the exhibition game between the Jets and Giants were invalid.

Unable to make last Monday’s first-ever game in the brand new facility, the 75-year-old Willowbrook resident sold the four tickets to a friend. But when the friend and his buddies showed up at the gate, they were refused admission and told the tickets weren’t valid.

Now the friends are out $620, for the four seats and a parking pass, and Antico is fuming, and at a loss to explain what happened.

Antico received an invoice for the four Personal Seat Licenses he bought at a cost of $20,000 each for “fantastic seats” on the 45-yard line at the new stadium. He also got one for the $6,000 he spent on season tickets, including the four $150 tickets to the Aug. 16 Jets/Giants exhibition game.

According to a Jets spokeswoman, there was an issue with Antico’s purchase agreement for the seats, and there were necessary elements of the contract that were not fulfilled.

Because the contract was not finalized, the tickets were never validated.

Antico blamed the Jets for losing a copy of his contract.

Both sides say the other fumbled the ball.

The spokeswoman for the Jets declined to elaborate on the specifics of Antico’s account and what the problem was, but said the team and Antico have reached an agreement and the tickets are now activated.

“We believe the matter is resolved,” she said.

But Antico said he has not yet been refunded the money from the missed game, and he is considering taking the matter to Small Claims Court to recoup the cost and repay his friends.

“I should have never even been treated this way after being a ticket holder for so long,” Antico said.

He wants a refund and an explanation. “I want them to take the agita out of my stomach,” Antico said. ”

Apparently, both sides can be found at fault here.  Antico should have looked over every form and made sure they were all signed.  The Jets sales representative should have made sure they were all signed as well.  As a former insurance sales rep, I made sure everything was signed or followed up on all contracts as you do not get paid our commission unless everything is signed.  Why didn’t the sales rep follow up to make sure?  Did he not want that commission?  Or did he think Antico did not want the tickets?  The sales rep should have followed up on them to make sure, that is correct customer service.  The sales rep from the Jets probably moved on to another customer and gave the tickets to him knowing he would sell them and get the commission anyway.

I have read and heard many stories from long time season ticket holders who feel they are just another customer no matter how long they have had their season tickets.  Many original season ticket holders feel like another number to them, Their decades of dedicated & loyalty to keeping those tickets has not meant much to the organization.

Now the Jets claim they have tried to do what they could to make many long time fans happy.  But is that only good PR on their part?  Have they done all they could?  For those who have had seats since the 60′s & 70′s do not feel that way.  It seems the fans who have had their seats the longest believe the team only cares about their money, and not the fan who wants to remain sitting in that seat.

Football is no longer about the game, it is about business.  The days of the organizations catering to the fans to make sure they enjoy the game is over.  Football has turned into a complex business.  It is about catering to the consumer and seeing how much more you can get them to spend on top of their tickets and PSL.  Not just concessions and parking at the stadium, but memorabilia, jerseys, hats, and anything else the teams logo can be stamped on to make a profit from.

Many fans feel they need to buy all this merchandise to show they are a die hard fan.  Being a die hard fan to me is staying with your team no matter what their record is, not how much you spend.  If you need to spend on so much merchandise & tickets, then it is more about image than being a true fan.

Meadowlands Stadium Parking Lot Above Old Giants Stadium Sinking

OK, take this information for what it is worth.  I received some information from a worker/driver at the new Meadowlands Stadium & old Giants Stadium site that the parking lot above the old site is sinking.  Apparently, the materials used were not enough and it is slowly sinking down.  There is a plan to excavate it and redo the entire site after the 2010 season.  This can not be good for both teams.  This will cost more money that I am sure both teams did not want to lay out.

According to reports on both ConstructionEquipmentGuide.com and Ehrbar Inc.’s Advantage Magazine, this is what Gramercey, the firm in charge of the excavation and new lot, had said about the construction of the new lot:

“Safety is our utmost priority, followed by getting the job done on time and on budget,” said Vincent Parziale, president and CEO of Gramercy. “We hired extra employees, and we’re working two eight-hour shifts to ensure we stay on schedule.”

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Gramercy Group expects to finish the more than $10 million project in early August, leaving an area for a future parking lot for the new stadium where the old stadium once stood. Underneath that parking area will be thousands of yards of concrete that Gramercy recycles on site as part of the demolition process.

“There will be a hole where the field was, and that has to be backfilled with about 210,000 yards of material,” Parziale pointed out. “Some of that material comes from excavation of the new stadium. As that took place, we processed the material, screened it and stockpiled it. Also, a portion of the backfill will come from about 40,000 yards of concrete that comes from recycling almost 100 percent of the old building.

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“In all, we’re moving about 75 truckloads of steel and 100 loads of concrete out of the stadium area per day,” he added. “The steel is taken off site for recycling. The concrete is recycled in a staging area just outside the stadium and will be brought back later and used for parking lot base.”

Apparently, that base is now sinking into the hole.  The new parking lot was finished under the deadline which was rapidly approaching.  If they worked past the deadline, Gramercy would had to have paid some money back.  But since they finished before the deadline, I believe that they would be paid more.  All in all, it is a project that has to be done over.  The job was rushed and many knew that it was.  They pushed hard to get it ready in time for the coming season.  What does this mean for fans going forward?  Will parking prices go up?  Will other prices or fees go up as well?

I was just told this information today and informed not too many have this information.  I do not think this is something the organizations felt would ever happen.  Let alone have to be done over.  Seems the cost for the new stadium is going up because of this error on Gramercy’s part.  Who knows if any monies will be due back.  A lot of questions remain as more on this story develops.  Will parking be limited in that area as well.

I do not think this will be kept quiet for long.  I am sure others do know about the parking lot and plan on writing about it.  I guess it depends on your sources.  I have talked to different workers from different areas of the demolition project for months.  From drivers, to electricians, to excavators, to security, to even those who were supervising the demolition process.  Every time one of them told me information passed to them from the organizations and supervisors, majority of the time it was true.  I know those who worked for Skanska signed forms to not talk to the press.  I guess that did not go for anyone else who worked there.  The parking lot sinking is a major issue and one that needs to be addressed immediately.

I hope this is not a cost the fans will be paying for over the years.  I can see parking being increased.  Ticket prices going up little by little.  Beer going to $10.  Any little thing to pass the cost along to the fans who have already paid enough for PSL’s and tickets.  I hope the fans do not have to pay anything more than they are paying now.  Would not be fair to them.  This was the Meadowlands Stadiums fault and they should be the ones to clean up their own mess.

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Jets Hard Knocks Review & Giants One Up Jets

HBO Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The New York Jets week 2 has come and gone.  It showed the Jets still have a lot to do if they want to make a run for the Super Bowl this season.  I am not just talking about the loss to the New York Giants, but the work all the playing lines have in front of them.  Let’s go over this all one piece at a time, shall we?

Show opens with Bruce Springsteen singing a little diddy about New Jersey and the old Giants Stadium.  The one I had covered and was told to not come back to to take pictures.  I can see why.  They were using clips of it for Hard Knocks and wanted to make a dramatic impression with the images.  Well, I captured some of the same images they did.  Check the pictures & video below to the footage in Hard Knocks. You can read more about my coverage of the old stadium in previous posts.  It was a nice tribute to open the show.
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REx Ryan showing why he is one of the NFL’s top coaches and knows they are a little off but know they will get it.  The team will be on before the season begins.  Jets have cut two players so their replacements will have to get up to speed real fast.  Tim McKnight, better known as Nicky, is getting tested on the plays and routes.  He is a rookie running back off to a rough start.  He threw up on the field during mini camp and failed his conditioning test at rookie camp.  A stand out player in high school, he shows what made him a top recruit for USC and times he does not show the potential.  Joe has the potential to give the team more speed in the backfield.  He just needs mroe confidence in himself and his playing.

IS Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum always stuffing their face?  The more they show them sitting around the more I see them eating.  Maybe they should be in a conditioning program along with the players.  Mark Sanchez complaining about paying $.59 for ranch sauce is like Darelle Revis complaining he is only getting one million dollars this year.

Mark Brunell has the right experience to back up Mark Sanchize and give him the tips he needs to improve as starting QB.  Being one of the NFL’s top QB’s, it makes sense to have Brunell as a back up and pass along his experience.  At age 40, he has been around the league long enough to make Sanchez’s sophomore year a better one than having Clemens as his back up.  But Brunell is right, keeping his 18 year old daughter away from Mark Sanchez.  Nice to see a father that cares.

Brian Schottenheimer has a great role model in his father Marty.  A former head coach who can pass along the right knowledge and experience.   He may be on Sanchez’ case a lot, but it is for good reason.  It is that constant drilling that will make Mark make less mistakes.  Passing that experience from his father to Mark on top of Mark Brunell’s is something many QB’s do not get.  Even QB’s coach Matt Cavanaugh telling Mark to hold his head high and respond affirmatively to advice will make him a better player.

Once again, the Darelle Revis show takes place.  This time they announce a media blackout and keep all future information confidential.  Which they should have done from the beginning.  The media should focus on the team that is at training camp, not the ones holding out.  Kyle Wilson, rookie draft pick filling in Revis’ spot, is someone the media should be talking about.  He is at camp and doing what it takes to fill that spot and make the main roster.  Antonio Cromartie on the other end in his forth year is making sure no one forgets him or his seven kids.  Or is it six?  He is a true talent and needs to live up to that potential.  If he blows a tackle the way he blew one against the Jets in the playoffs the fans will not let him forget it.

You can tell Rex loves to coach.  He wants to be on that field no matter what.  No issues about being hands on and getting in the face of the players if he has to prove a point.  That is what all the Jets coaches do.  They are touch as nails, balls to the walls coaches who do what they have to do to make sure the players learn everything.  Even when reviewing film they know if they made a right or wrong decision.

Mike Tannenbaum asking rookie Tight End Jeff Cumberland what are the three things it takes to make the team lets the rookies know what they need to do.  That answer?  Special teams, special teams, special teams.  Special Teams coach MIke Westoff has survived cancer of his femur for the past 23 years.  He has used special shoes, braces, crutches and anything else he needed to walk.  He pretty much has a rebuilt leg with more metal in there than Wolverine.  It is that heart and dedication to his coaching that makes Mike Westoff an effective coach.  His resilience and determination is something those rookies can learn much from.  Special teams is filled with unknowns and rookies looking to make the team.  His job is to make them into solid football player worthy of wearing that Jets jersey.

Punter Steve Weatherford did something I thought was hysterical.  He bought 100 Shake Weights to give out to his team to help get them either motivated, in shape, or get them laughing.  If you shake it a certain way the players only need five minutes alone in their rooms to use it.  Maybe best used in private.  I heard it does wonders for certain muscle groups above the waist.  Seeing the players and coaches faces when using them was priceless.  I have wanted to use one myself.

Nick Mangold and Kris Jenkins are fantastic teammates.  Each one pushing the other further.  Taking it one step further so the other performs better when they are on the field against their opponents.  Jenkins is itching for the season to start after missing half of last season.  These guys are such forces on the field. I feel sorry for whoever the oppose on other teams.

Vernon Gholston moving to Defensive End is a last ditch effort to make a solid player out of him.  A bust since he was drafted two years ago, he hopes taking a pay cut will show the team he is serious about keeping his job.  Rex Ryan has faith in him and believe in his abilities.  He is playing well, but is well good enough?  Even being tested in a fight on the field showed that he does want to keep his place on the team.  Every Jets layer is stepping it up this year.

Good to see the team head to the movies to relax.  Now Rex may have taken a small popcorn with no butter, but did he grab a diet soda?  The world may never know.  If he did pig out then the title of the move says it all: Dinner For Schmucks.

John Connor is edging out veteran Tony Richardson in the Fullback spot in my opinion.  His showing in training camp and the Jets/Giants preseason game shows he wants to hurt people.  He loves throwing blocks and making opposing player lie on their backs.  Richardson is passing his knowledge and experience along, that may be his undoing in getting a starting spot on the roster.

I do not have to go into details about the Jets/Giants preseason game.  Everyone has done their reviews and saw the highlights.  Seeing Woody Johnson walk around the parking lot makes me laugh.  He is the owner of the team, not a fan and one of the true fans.  It is more about a PR session for him that knowing what the true fans are about.  Maybe if he sat in the upper deck, the non PSL seats for a whole season he might know what it is like to be one of the true fans of the Jets.  Everyone wants their picture with him, I got mine.  But I also asked him some touch questions.  If you see him walking around, confront him, he is fair game.

REx Ryan has every right to yell at the team.  They are a playoff caliber team.  The second and third string players need to show they want to make the team.  They need to step up their game and prove to the coaches they want it as bad as the high paying starters.  This is why there is a preseason, to make your impact.  Show the coaches you want that first team spot.  Make the tackles, the catches, the key blocks.  They still have some time to prove they are worth that spot.  I know they will do what they can.

OK, today the Giants announced they would put single game tickets on sale.  IN return, the Jets said they would not put single game seats on sale.  The Jets have under 1,000 PSL’s remaining from the 9,000 marked down seats.  This does not count other various seats still unsold throughout the stadium.  If the Jets do not sell out these seats by opening day, what will they do?  They have to sell them one way or another.  It will come down to the wire.  If Woody Johnson does announce single game seats, he will have to backtrack his steps as far back as Cleveland.

The Giants do what is right and it shows in their sales.  They have made wise decisions in their sales practices.  The Jets are still playing second fiddle, caring more about the bottom line than doing what is right to sell them off.  Maybe the fans would not be so upset if for once they listened now rather than later.  I was told by one high ranking official in the Jets organization that they can not please everyone and do what they can.  They are confident they will sell all of the PSL’s by opening day.  What if they don’t.  What will be their next decision.  The closer it gets to opening day, what will the right decision be?

The Monday Night Infomercial

So the Jets lost the first official NFL game in the New Meadowlands Stadium by a score of 31-16. Albeit it was a preseason game, but it was the game for New York bragging rights.  The New York Jets did show some promise.  Mark Sanchez was 13 for 17 with an interception & touchdown early in the first quarter.  LT and Shonn Greene ran the ball well and had both speed and yardage to get into the end zone.  Running behind rookie fullback  “The Terminator” John Connor helped create extra running yards as he opened up the lane and created many key blocks.  Al in all the Jets showed promise in their first preseason game.  They were able to show they can transfer what they learned in training camp into an actual game.  Now they can take a step forward and improve for their next outing.

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I believe the game took second chair to what was truly on the main stage tonight, the new Meadowlands Stadium.  Tonight’s Monday Night Football game was the first time a Jets and Giants preseason game was held on a Monday night.  Let alone any preseason game on a Monday night.  The team owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell probably talked months ago about how a Monday Night Football game would really show the new stadium in a way that could not be shown on a Friday night or Saturday.  Figuring having it on prime-time on ESPN would really make the place stand out to those who were on the fence about a PSL.  The camera shots not on the game and sideline made it feel more like an infomercial for the new stadium than a football game.

Coming back from commercial they showed the bars on the mezzanine and lower levels.  The Clubs around the Coaches Club area.  The Green rooms where certain PSL holders get their free food.  The Luxury suites with leather chairs and fireplaces.  Coaches Club VIP areas behind the teams bench.  I think the only thing they did not show was how spacious the bathroom stalls are.  To me it felt like an infomercial about the new stadium.  A way to showcase it to millions watching at home as if to say “don’t you wish you paid your money to be here?”  Even the commentators were going on about the new stadiums amenities.  Did everyone forget there was a game going on?  Of course they didn’t.  They want fans to spend time out and about away from their seats in the other areas of the stadium.  They already got their money for the PSLs and tickets, now it is time to spend it in other parts of the new stadium.

There will be those who will disagree with me and say how sports is a luxury.  Say how that is how it is these days and if you do not have the money then you can not experience the way a game was meant to be seen.  There are two sets of fans now.  Those who have and those who had.  The ones who had wish they could still be there, but do not want a PSL or sit so far up.  Those who have are excited, able to watch their team in a state of the art stadium.  But will it be worth the price in a few years?  Many view the PSL as stock and what will that stocks price be worth if the Jets become the Jets of old?  If the Jets do not win the Super Bowl or make the playoffs, how much will those PSLs be worth?  Now it seems like a great investment to many and many will hold onto them for life.  But to others, the not so die hard fans who have been there for years, how long will they want them?

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Many were very excited to be there tonight, win or lose.  Able to gawk at the new concession stands, bars, and other areas to shake your wallet at.  But in the end, everyone is there for the game.  To see two football teams play on the field.  If you are there to watch the game at one of the bars, VIP lounges, or any other screen away from your seat, what was the purpose in buying your seat?  Just to say you have season tickets?

I wish the New York Jets well this season.  I hope they can provide that elusive Super Bowl win they have wanted to give their fans for decades.  But unless they sign Darelle Revis, what will those odds be?  ESPN played one hell of an infomercial tonight.  Woody Johnson must be proud of his new county club.  I am sure the Jets and Giants sales representatives will be by their phones tomorrow hoping tonight’s prime time sales pitch did its job.

John Gambling & NY1 News Talk PSLs & Jets Documentary

What a couple days so far this week.  I was on The John Gamblng Show on 710 AM WWOR radio this past Monday morning.  Then today on NY 1 News for a story they are doing on the New York Jets and New Meadowlands Stadium.  Seems the closer it gets to the start of the 2010 season, there is more talk about the PSLs being sold.  Some seem to think they will all be sold while many others feel they will still have empty seats.  As long as there are no blackouts, I do not think either team cares.  Sure they would like a complete sell out, but making sure the revenue is there from advertising is important as well.  The most expensive Coaches Club seats will not be sold by the home opener.  May be hard to tell on TV, but the gray color of the seats were designed as such to look like someone is sitting there even if empty.

Monday morning I was on the John Gambling Show on WWOR 710 AM.  I was on his show preciously last year to talk about the documentary.  John had talked about the PSLs last week as he gave up his New York Giants season tickets after 30 years.  Even those with the income to afford them feel it is a bad investment.  I spoke with John’s producer Mike Figeola about coming back on and he thought it was a good idea.  On Monday, we discussed the PSLs, Darelle Revis’ holdout, Levy’s Bakery Productions, and other small talk.  John introduced me as a sports writer and filmmaker.  Even after filming this documentary for two years and writing about sports for one year it did not hit me until that point.  It felt good inside to hear others recognize me for the work I have been doing and will continue to do.  I can only hope it leads to some employment in the field.

Last Wednesday I was interviewed by Jon Weinstein of NY1 News in New York City.  He was putting a story together on the New Meadowlands Stadium and PSLs before the season begins.  We talked about the PSLs, the new stadium, my documentary, and other subjects that revolved around myself and the Jets.  But like most media stories go, most of it ended up on the cutting room floor.  It was a two minute piece and only 15 seconds of my interview were used.  Jon also interviewed Anthony Quintano of Quintano Media because he was also a Jets season ticket holder and is assisting me with the documentary.  His footage was not even used.

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The story was put up yesterday on the NY1 website.  Jon’s piece was part three of a three part series on the new stadium.  Three reporters were responsible for each piece.  Guess Jon was extremely limited.  I even gave him some footage from the documentary to use.  Even footage of myself and Woody Johnson.  But hey, that is the press.  They take tons of footage only to use precious seconds.  I am just thankful I  was a part of the piece. At least when I was on John Gambling’s show, he mentioned my website and we discussed the history behind the Levy’s Bakery name.  I could not even get a mention of it in the NY1 news piece.

I have been trying to gt in touch with some Jets fans I have interviewed in the past.  I leave voice mails and message but they go unanswered.  I know there are some who were happy to be a part of it before investing in the PSL.  But now that they have them, they have a different attitude.  They can not bash the PSL or the team now that they have it.  Some will continue to talk with me, even after their purchase.  The die hard fans knew in their hearts they had to be there and no on their couch.  Some like Sal and Carmine do not talk to me as much because they bashed the PSLs then got them.  They knew they could not take back what they said, only prevent themselves from saying anything further.  Below are links to both interviews.

Daid Levy on The John Gambling Show 8/9/2010
NY1: Football’s New Address: Some Fans Not Sold On Season Ticket Rights

New York 1 Interview For Jets Documentary

Today I was interviewed by Jon Weinstein from New York 1 News about the Jets Documentary I have been working on over the last 2 years.  Jon showed up to Anthony Quintano’s studio so he can get some B roll shots of us working on the documentary.  Questions ranged from how long the season tickets have been in my family to what would I like to gain from this documentary.  Obviously, there are comments I would have liked to have made that I thought of after the interview.  But that is how it goes.

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The interview and story will be up on their website by next Wednesday.  I will have a link here and on my Facebook to push it.  Have to take all the attention I get and plaster it all over the place.  I sent an e mail over to John Gambling;s producer Mike Figs.  We had spoken last year and John brought up the PSL’s again this morning on the air.  Now is the perfect time to talk about it, before the start of the 2010 season.

Have also been in touch with Bruce Speight of the New York Jets about filming for the upcoming season.  Told him I want to film once again during tailgating at the new stadium.  I would like to see where people I have visited in the past wind up now with the new parking situation.  Also see who came back and who did not.  There are some who said they would not get a PSL that I know did.  Will be funny to see their faces and hear them explain why they did.  Just a few weeks to go.  Have some interviews to gt in before the start of the season.  Should have some clips up here soon.  Anthony has a new edit system I can use and not bother him as he works.  See how the footage looks.  I will have an update next week after the NY1 story is posted.