NY Jets Tailgating Creates Friends & Memories

I have talked before how there are a lot of new faces in the Jets parking lot during tailgating.  There are also fewer recognizable faces from years past.  Not only that I see, but others see less and less of their friends who did not get a PSL.  As the Jets organization pressed hard for the PSL’s, many long time ticket holders felt pushed away by the organization.  While others, felt they had no choice if they wanted to continue to see their team live.  Everyone has a choice, no one can say they were pressured into buying a PSL.  The pressure comes from yourself, and maybe some friends who already made their decision.  Some do not do it for the game alone, but for the tailgating as well.  It has become such a ritual for some, their warm up to the game itself.

The more I walk around during tailgating, the more I see friends and family partying like it was a major holiday.  Everyone comes to the game with what they feel are the essentials.  The necessary items to make their pregame ritual the best it can be.  The long time Jet faithful feel that friends are the best for the games.  Who better to share it with than those who you have followed the team with since the Polo Grounds or Shea Stadium.  It is the continuing of these memories that makes the next one that much better.  You can consider your memories your own personal NFL Films that many have viewed but only your friends will remember the way you do.

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There are some necessities to tailgating.  A grill, burgers, beer, chips, and a spot to have it all in.  Some prefer to add a lot more to make it exciting for them and their friends.  You can add a tent, a 10×10 canopy, or for the major league tailgater, a camper.  One camper I walked around in cost the fan about $75,000 complete with Jets memorabilia, fridges, bed, flat screen, and everything else he feels is needed for a Jets tailgate.  Some are towing grills/smokers behind their vehicles.  Nothing says tailgating like burgers for 120 people.  Now, one can have Lobel’s of NY and Weber grills prepare it all for them.  Just sit back and fork over your cash.

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Other people feel there are other necessities to tailgating.  Some prefer to grill steaks, lobster, pork chops, crab legs, sausage, vodka chicken parmigiana, and other foods based on the Jets opponents.  For the Patriots, some had New England clam chowder, seafood jambalaya, mussels, and a Tom Brady jersey over open coals.  Now a couple of guys said a necessity was hot girls at a tailgate.  When one is young and drunk, one will say anything.  But everyone agreed you do need close and dear friends to make every tailgate that much better.  Now one group forgot their propane, but they did not forget their friends.  So it really does not matter how big of a set up you have or what you prepare, as long as you have friends around you to share in the festivities.

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The Jet Pack, founded by Robert Parin in 1967, was all about fun with friends before the game.  IN  years past, they always had each tailgate a themed one.  They would do a pig roast one game, seafood buffet another game, and other great themed tailgates.  They were even responsible for the Spark Plug Award.  At the final tailgate of each season, it would be given to who the fans thought the season’s MVP was.  The last one was handed out in 2008.  As the members of the Pack dwindled due to many not investing in a PSL, they stopped the award.  Last Sunday, only a handful out of the 70-80 that had accumulated over the years of the Jet Pack were back.  Robert and a few dedicated others only had two small grills going compared to mega set ups they had grown accustomed to.  The prices kept many away.  Now Robert and others sit farther away from where their seats had been previously.

It does not matter how much the Jets charge for PSL’s, tickets, parking, or overpriced food inside the stadium.  Fans will always set up in the parking lot like nomads in the desert, looking for a place to rest, eat, and celebrate before moving on to their final destination.  That is something the Jets can not take away from their fans, no matter how confusing or expensive they make their parking.  I guess that is why I enjoy walking around and talking to everyone there.  It is where Jets fans show their true self.  Not just inside being led by Fireman Ed, but outside getting ready for the battle yet to be witnessed.

The Jets seem to have a separation between themselves and their fans. Many fans I talk to feel the Jets really do not listen to them or care about them. I guess that is why I listen to the fans so much and want to get their message across. Maybe if the Jets had people in the parking lot talking to fans rather than having employees paint peoples faces for $10 they could get more in tun with their fans. If anything, I would like my documentary to let teams know what they could do to come down to their fans level. To really let your fans know that you care about more than their checkbooks.

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Jets Tailgating Changes In Many Ways, But Still Fun

Sunday turned out to be a great day for a lot of people.  Before the Jets beat the Patriots 28-14, the Jet faithful were having a great day getting ready for the game.  Since it was a Sunday, people arrived faster and had enough time to get set up and tailgate the day away.  I like the 4 PM kick off time.  It may eat into the day a little, but it gives everyone good prep time to get there and have fun before the game.  Met some new fans out there.  Looking for first time tailgaters and season ticket holders.  So walking around seeing old and new faces makes this a season to witness.  In a way, it is the changing of the guard.  New era of football experience in the New York era.  Feel’s a little more like George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

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Was fun to meet some new fans and get opinions on what they paid for. This new parking structure you find both old and new faces.. We came across a lot of blacktop chef’s. Two different types with some mighty big rigs. One in Yellow Lot J and one in Green Lot F. The Lot J one were the guys form The Smoken Pit on Staten Island, NY. This was the first game for his pit. They had wings, burgers, dogs, brisket, ribs, nachos, and more. He does it with his friends and also rents it out. Sunday was a day to break it in for football. The other big grilling set up in Lot J come every couple games and just use it with friends and family. Form Long Island, the had sausage and peppers, steak, ribs, burgers, and a great day of food prepared. I will have pictures later in the week.

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Seems everyone we went to was warm and inviting. Many long time ticket holders eager to talk about past seasons and other stadiums they have been to. Everyone was joyous and and wanted to feed us. We must of shared at just about every tailgate we went to. That is what I love about the Jets fans. They are always willing to share their bounty. Everyone is proud of their set up and their food. It was an endless buffet that every fan contributed to. No one wanted the day to end.

One fan we did stop and talk to was Michael Finizio. He was a former Giants season ticket holder who just became a Jets season ticket holder. Complaining about how the Giants charged more for a PSL and tickets than the Jets did. That was his reason, lower prices with the Jets. Thought both the Mara’s and Tisch’s could stick it and felt Woody Johnson was more accommodating to his fans. Seems many have their opinion on each team’s decision to institute the PSL’s. Another Jets fan, who paid $75 to park his camper, thought they should get free electric for that price. He said they had to pay mroe while others who took up two parking spots should pay more than their $25.

In one of the Green lats we came across a limo driver whose limo gets rented for Jets and Giants tailgates. He has clients from Long Island who pay by the hour for him to sit there as they tailgate out of the back of his limo. They managed to save a piece of fillet Mignon for him. A couple of ladies from ESPN made the trek down from Bristol. One was a Jets fan and the other a Pats fan. Neither wanted to be seen with the other but still tailgated together. A lot of verbal jabs were made but it was all in good fun. No one got out of hand.

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The prices at Lobel’s/Weber grills was outrageous though. Seeing those prices and the ones inside the stadium made one ponder who are the games being catered to? What fans with what pickets are they looking to attract? I am going to let the price;s speak for themselves.

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There were some groups missing members. The Jets Pack who I have been visiting for the past two years was down a considerable amount. They have been setting up at games since 1967 and this has been their smallest turnout to date. The PSL’s forced many long time season ticket holder to opt out. Not many wanted to pay up and it left Robert Parrin and company with a smaller group than usual. What was about 40-50 is now down to less than a dozen. A lot of groups are down member from precious years. Many have said the experience is not the same but they come anyway. The Jets & Giants really do not know how much the PSL’s have hurt game day friendships.

That is one aspect I have noticed from talking to people, the loss of friends. Some only saw people at games, ones they met there and partied with. Others who are long time friends who planned the tailgates and arrived together. The younger the fans are the rowdier the tailgates are. You can see the difference in those who have been coming to game longer than those who are more recent season ticket holders. The set ups and demeanor of the people are so different. But everyone is there for the same reason, to see their team win. That is what brings everyone together.

Everyone was ecstatic with a win over the Patriots. The attitude of the fans before the game let the team know how much they wanted a Gang green win. The team knows when their fans are into the game. With the home crowd as the 12th man, there was no way the Jets would lose to Tom Brady and the Pats. Fans were letting others know how much they hated the Patriots. We even came across our second Revis Island. Fans are getting more creative and letting everyone know how much they care about their team. I will have more later in the week. Too much to cover in one post.

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New York Jets vs New England Patriots Motivation

I wanted to give everyone a little motivation before the Jets game tomorrow.  Knowing Tom Brady and The Patriots are coming to the Meadowlands with a winning record in New Jersey of 17-10 does not bode well for Gang Green.  But the two teams have a 50-50-1 overall record playing each other.  But the Jets are hungry for a win after the abysmal 10-9 loss from the Baltimore Ravens.  A couple of die hard Jets fans performed this for me at the Jets home opener two years ago.  Still one of my favorite cheers to date.

Getting To Jets Game Worse Than The Game Itself

You would think NJ Transit would learn their lesson after that nightmarish mob scene which ensued after a U2 concert at the Meadowlands almost exactly one year ago. Could it be they just don’t care that thousands of people have to grind together like livestock being herded toward the train platform, where there are too few trains to accommodate the crowd? Judging by the hellish accounts from commuters trying to get to and away from last night’s Jets game, they just can’t handle it.

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Fan snaps picture after the game of the madness

New Jersey Transit blames the overcrowding on the weather, and admits they struggled to accommodate 12,200 passengers, almost twice what it expected. “That is a record for us at a football game,” New Jersey Transit spokeswoman Penny Bassett-Hackett tells Bloomberg News. “The storm that came through the area caused some delays.” According to Bloomberg, getting there from Secaucus was half the fun: “Fans in Jets jerseys drinking beer stood four or five deep at the platform waiting. It got even more crowded, and trains would come and go without picking up everyone waiting. ‘I have been standing here for 20 minutes,’ Joseph Villorno, 50, of Manhattan said. ‘I literally could not get on that last train.’ ”

And getting back after the game was just as bad, if not worse, as thousands of fans bottlnecked trying to get to the platform to take the trains back to Secaucus. At least commuter Mike Lawson Word saw his wish come true to make up for the ordeal; before the game he wrote on Twitter, “Words cannot describe my frustration with the NJ Transit right now. So heated!!! Jets better lose.”

Jets Fans Celebrate Season Opener & Filming Continues

Yesterday was the inaugural game for the New York Jets in their new home, the New Meadowlands Stadium.  It was a Monday Night Football game that ended in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens 10-9.  But before the game even started, many fans were still getting acclimated not just to the new stadium, but to the parking and tailgating as well.  With it being a Monday night game starting at 7 PM, it did not leave much time for those coming right from work.  Some were able to get the day off while others battled traffic and the incoming elements to get there in one piece.

The start started off great, the sun was out and had a ride schedule to get myself & my friends Paul and Sixto who were helping me film into the stadium.  Since I did not invest in a PSL or non PSL seats, there was no way I could park at the Meadowlands.  Bruce Speight from the New York Jets mentioned he might be able to get me a parking pass for $25 but that never happened.  So Sal & Carmine who run one of the best tailgates was to be our ride into the parking area.  Sal & Carmine have been “base camp” while filming the past few years.  They have been great and so have the guys who party with them.  But since Sal was taking a different route, we had to meet him close to the stadium and they picked us up as we made our way over.

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Sal                                                                          Carmine

Just trying to find the right sport to enter the parking at the stadium was not too easy, for the first time.  A lot of people were waiting on long lines just to get into the parking section they wanted.  Depending on the lot you wanted to get into depending on how long of a line you waited in.  We were headed into Yellow Lot J and the line was not too long.  Some people got into the lot a little early and were asked to leave, then come back.  One of Carmine’s friends made it into the lot.  They asked him to leave around 1:52 PM and to come back in when it opened, 8 minutes later.  Crazy.  The thought they were making it easier for everyone to park but people just felt waiting on the lines were stupid.

After we got ourselves set up we decided to get a lay of the new land.  Felt weird walking across the parking lot where the old Giants Stadium stood.  Was a strange feeling not seeing it there.  I saw it come down for weeks in front of my eyes.  Just hard to stand on the exact site where it stood and knowing the parking structure was now sinking into the lot.  A huge stadium was there just a few months ago.  And now, just a basic parking lot.  The Green parking where the Club and Suite PSL holders park is the site of where the stadium once stood.  I am sure many others feel strange about parking and tailgating on the site of the old stadium.

It seems Weber Grills and Lobel’s of New York have teamed up to give fans an option in tailgating.  If there are fans who do not want to bring the grill, food, or even a cooler to the tailgate, Weber & Lobel’s will do it for them.  Yes, one can either rent the equipment & buy the raw ingredients or have them cook it for you there.  That is, if you do not mind paying $18 for a steak sandwich.  It was very pricey, once again it shows the clientele they are catering to at the new stadium.   They had all kinds of cuts of meat and chefs who were ready to prepare them all for you.  They will offer these services every Jets and Giants home game.  Keep in mind their stand is set up between Lots F & G of the Green parking.

From there were toured around the new lots.  Not too many people were there yet.  Was somewhat empty in many lots until people got out of work.  We did however come across some people partying it up and did not care who was around.  There was the 40 foot tall inflatable gorilla one fan had purchased off Ken Pikowski that wore his Jets shirt.  One tailgate had their own Revis Island complete with Revis and Ravens jerseys.  But everyone still had opinions on the PSL’s.  Everyone did not like the fact they were used but felt if they wanted to see their team live, in person,  they had no other choice.  Some were even proud to pay to them and said those who didn’t were f’n morons who were stupid not to since they did.

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Paul, Sixto, and I went all the away across to yellow Lot D by Route 120 to visit a guy who had a Jets hearse with a casket in back with a Ray Lewis jersey.  Another one not proud to pay for the PSL’s but felt the need to as he wanted to keep coming to the stadium to see the Jets.  Seems many who have the cheapest PSL’s thought they did the least of all the PSL evil’s.  Seems not many are proud they have them, but still feel fortunate to have kept their tickets.  A confusing situation to some.  The sky was looking very ominous.  The clouds were dark and looking like they were about to open up very soon.

As we were walking back over to Sal & Carmines, I managed to get some words with some Baltimore Ravens fans.  They had to endure PSL’s back in the late 1990′s.  They instituted them not too long after the Carolina Panthers brought them into the NFL.  Seems if you wanted seats 3 rows back from the 50 yard line all one had to pay was $3,000 for a PSL.  Higher up in the mezzanine it was $750 a seat.  Now this was over 11 years ago but still a bargain.  They said for the prices they were asking there was not much of a complaint by the fans.  Even the ticket prices were low.  But the Ravens fans did feel the Jets and Giants prices were too high and felt sorry for the New York fans.  Some ravens fans even sold their PSL’s making a profit.  One who had two $2,500 PSL’s sold them off for $8,000 a piece not long after they won the Super Bowl.

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The closer we got to Sal and Carmine’s the closer rain was coming.  We got pulled over to some Jets fans burning a Ravens hat on their grill.  Some Ravens fans came over and thought it was cruel.  Come on.  That is how fans are.  Well, maybe after a few beers.  Before the rain started to fall we got some footage of a band playing at one of the tailgates.  Seems every year some group has a band playing.  We managed to get all the gear away just before the clouds opened up on us.  Lightening was coming down pretty close by so we got out of there as fast as we could.  Tailgating was cut short by at least an hour and 20 minutes.

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As we were walking out to our car parked on the other side of route 3, the lines getting into the stadium were jammed.  Seemed no matter what road you came in on there were long lines backed up at different points.  Those who came from work or any time after 5 PM had to wait in long lines as the rain poured down.  It was coming down heavy at times and I Know it is not a good feeling coming to a game in the rain, stuck in traffic , and you think you will be parking far.  But I guess with the new parking some felt that no matter how long they waited, they would have a close enough spot.  Unless you had to park over by the Izod Center and had to walk all the way over to the stadium.  Guess everyone learned to get there early from now on and try to avoid the lines.

Now that I know the parking lot sections better it will make it easier to find people I would like to go back and interview.  Plus, I will be finding out from others their input for the season.  I want to see if by the end of the year if the Jets are not living up to expectation, how people feel about their PSL purchases.  Will they think they invested in a team that did not live up to their expectations.  Will they stand by a team that is all hype and no bite.  Only time will tell.  One game down and seven to go.  Still plenty of time for the Jets to turn it around and give their fans something to cheer about. Read more

New York Jets Parking Lot Hierarchy

Here is the parking lot map off the New York Jets website.  Gives you an idea of what you need to spend on your seats in order to park close to the stadium.  Guess the older you are, the closer you want to park if you can not walk over from the Izod center.  Hope they have people passing out water to those walking long distances.  Either that or find a way to get handicapped parking.  But I do not think you can tailgate in handicapped parking.  Wanted to show everyone how the Jets set their parking in regards to the PSL & parking pass one bought, or did not buy.

Parking Permit Allocation:

Club Seat Holders may purchase 1 permit for every 2 seats at a cost of  $350 for the season.  PSL Seat Holders may purchase 1 permit for every 4 seats at a cost of  $250 for the season.  Upper Level Seat Holders may purchase 1 permit for every 5 seats at a cost of  $250 for the season.  SO if you do not have the number of seats purchased, you have to get your parking permit off TicketMaster or any other way you can.  Single game parking permits are $45 per game and TicketMaster charges a $5 charge on top of that.

Examples:

-           If you have three Club seats, you may purchase two parking permits.

-           If you have ten PSL seats, you may purchase three parking permits.

-           If you have six Upper Level seats, you may purchase two parking permits.

Note: If your account has seats in multiple tiers (Club, PSL and/or Upper Level), your parking allocation is based on the highest level tier of seating.

Based on your seat location, your Pre-Paid Parking Permit will allow you to park in one of the three new color-coded parking areas. The green colored lots are for Club and Suite seat holders, yellow for all PSL seat holders and orange for all Upper Level seat holders. As in past years, you will need a Pre-Paid Parking Permit to park onsite (both on the stadium and arena side).

You may not purchase more parking permits than you have been allocated. Your permit allocation is based on the chart below.
Satellite parking is available through Murray Hill Parkway, off of Paterson Plank Road and Union Avenue in East Rutherford, NJ.  The parking lot opens 4 hours prior to kickoff and closes 1 hour after end of game.  It costs $25/game which includes parking and transportation.  There are approximately 1,600 parking spots available.  Tailgating is not permitted.  It is further than the satellite parking was when it was in Lyndhurst.

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Green parking permit holders can park anywhere though.  Yellow parking permit holders can park in yellow or red spots.  I will be curious to see how the tailgating differs from parking zone to zone.  Not to mention the further you park, the earlier you will have to finish your tailgate party just to get there for the kickoff.  Will the more expensive parking areas have better tailgates?  Will the Suite and Commissioner’s Club parking even have tailgating and what culinary tastes will be served there?  Or will they still be the same no matter where you park.  Knowing Jets fans, there will be a lot of jaw jacking when fans pass though the higher priced parking on the way into the stadium.  I will soon find out.

Jets Fans Enjoy Better Food Before The Game Than During

Here we are less than a week away until the Jets open up the 2010 season in their new home.  They face the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football as the first game of a double header at 7 PM.  Every Jets fan is on pins and needles to see Gang Green for the first time in a regular season game in the new Meadowlands Stadium.  While some will be watching from home for the first time, opting out of returning as a season ticket holder.  Monday begins a new era for everyone.  Some even are season ticket holders for the first time.  It will be an interesting first season in the new stadium for Jets and Giants fans alike.

I have a few things I would like to go over so this will cover a different topics.  Do not have the time to write 2-3 articles with Rosh Hashanah beginning tonight for my Hebrews and Shebrews.  Have dinner with family tomorrow and not sure about Friday.  So I will sum up a few things here tonight.  Things from the food at the new stadium to filming during tailgating to people I have interviewed in the past.

Ryan Sutton, the food critic for Bloomberg NY, recently reviewed the food at the new Meadowlands Stadium.  His article, New Meadowlands Has Horrible Edibles; Go With Deli, goes in depeth not just about the food, but about the stadium, drinks, and sight-lines from the Coaches Club section.   He talks about how expensive anything to drink there is.   $12 cocktails, $18 rum and cokes, $4.75 bottles of water are just crazy prices.  One does not even get the cap to the water as they worry fans would toss them at players.  Even one of the lounges is named after Captain Morgan.  Wonder how much sponsorship dollars that brought in.

Here are some of Ryan’s quotes about the food:

“The pizza’s free but so bad I almost yearned for a Domino’s slice. Miserable Manhattans, poured into a plastic cup with neither shaking nor stirring still help you forget about the turnpike-quality concessions and pricing on par with tuition at New York University.”

“Food is included in the Coaches Club ticket price; the David Rockwell-designed buffet dished out overcooked penne a la vodka, rubbery kosher chicken nuggets and mushy cannoli. There are medium-rare skirt steaks, succulent beef tenderloins, juicy stuffed turkey and spicy chili.”

Meats

Grilled filet mignon, turkey roulade and honey-glazed pit ham at New Meadowlands stadium. It’s the same type of fare one might find in any hotel buffet, anywhere in the country. Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg

“The fare at best is generic and utterly boring. The opposite is true at our other new stadiums: At Citi Field for example, Mets fans can snack on New York’s best local fast food, including burgers from Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, crispy fries from Box Frites, great tacos at El Verano Taqueria and David Pasternack’s fresh, meaty lobster rolls.”

“The Coaches Club, in contrast, embarrasses our country’s culinary capital with retrograde, flavorless Tex-Mex chicken tortillas, tuna fish-like lobster rolls and soggy fries. A “custom grind” Brooklyn Burger from the Mezzanine Club tastes nothing like the good sliders I’ve had in Kings County. Other sports complexes hire well-known regional chefs and restaurateurs; the Meadowlands picked the mass-market Food Network to provide $11 short rib hot dogs.”

“instead, have the deep-fried franks for $6.00. Or gorge on the least crowded and most authentic vendors in the general concessions area — the bridge-and-tunnel Italian deli stands.”

Coaches Club

Fans stand behind the Giants bench at the Coaches Club private on-field patio. Personal seat licenses cost $20,000 each for the club. Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg

Ryan is right on the ball.  Other stadiums across the country put more into the food served, even into the vendors brought in.  They go with local far and local vendors to run their own stands.  The Meadowlands still dishes out the same pre made slop.  Seems they put more into the building that what goes into the food.  I have watched specials on Food Network and The Travel Channel that spotlight stadiums & arenas across the country.  I see so many stadiums with such mouth watering goodies.  The Orioles have hand made crab cakes. The Royals has BBQ right in the place.  MEadowlands could not even give us NYC deli favorites or anything regional.

This is why many people tailgate.  One can cook better food than they could buy inside the stadium.  Then again, one could buy a six pack of beer cheaper than one inside the stadium.  It is cost effective for many to do it in the lot.  That is one of the best things about filming during tailgating, seeing all the food and smelling all the great barbecue.  I love to catch people on camera enjoying time with friends and family before the game eating and drinking.   Filming people in the parking lot makes for an enjoyable time.  Everyone is a big family and people invite you into their tailgate.  It is a very warming experience.

When I went to game with my father, we never tailgated.  We went right o the game, that was it.  When it is just the two of us there was no reason.  Plus, we did not know many other Jets fans.  These days, you can find tailgates that charge to eat their food so you can tailgate anywhere really.  Sal and Carmine charge but it is worth it for the food and drinks they provide.  So these days, you do not need to have a set up to tailgate.  You can join someone’s.  Just bring friends and enjoy the party.

When I go out filming, people offer myself and the crew some good stuff.  We have had some unbelievable food. Chicken vodka Parmesan sandwiches, homemade pizza, ribs, quesadillas,  chicken, and so much more.  Of course, who can forget the beer.  I just talk to everyone like they are friends and get their stories of being a fan.  In return, they share their food.  Like a community of neighbors sharing dishes during a block party.  I have met some great people while filming.  I expect this season to be no different.  It is best to interview people in a comfortable atmosphere so they are relaxed and able to talk openly.  For some, talking after a few drinks makes it easier too.

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Some I have interviewed in the past have set up their last tailgate and will not be back.  Guys like Steve Kern, Ken Pikowski, John Allen, and some of the Jets Pack who have been coming to games since 1967.  What some would have spent on PSL’s have been spent on large screen TV’s.  Not everyone went for a PSL.  Some of the Jets Nuts did, Sal and Carmine, Mary Lou Wilson kept hers after her husband Tommy had passed away.  Even their son Tommy Jr. keeps going.  I had written about Tommy Wilson on here & XtraPointFootball.com before.  I am hoping to find more fans like him this season.

I want to find people who not just have stories of the past to tell, but new tailgaters.  People who are new to it all starting their traditions.  It makes for a great story, and a great game experience.  I will be going back to those I have talked to before.  Hoping to add to their stories and see if their tailgating futures will ever be the same.  Let’s face it, with some friends and family not able to be at game anymore it changes the dynamic of the tailgate and game time experience for some.  This is a new era for many.  Will have more for everyone next week.  Until then, are you ready for some football?

DaveJetsPig

New York Jets Single Game Seats Pros & Cons

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

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

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

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

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

Now for some bad points on the seats:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who Do Sports Writer’s, Blogs, & Reporters Actually Write For?

A few weeks ago I talked with Bruce Speight from the Jets organization.  I told him I was going to be filming during tailgating again this year.  New stadium, new parking, and many fans will have new or old faces at their tailgates.  He asked me to send him an e mail stating what I wanted to do and when.  So I did that.  I call him back last week to follow up on the e mail, I left a message.  I did the same thing this week.  He called me back on Thursday telling me he did not open the e mail so to let him know what was in it.  Bruce tells me to send him something and he does not even bother to read it.  I guess I am that insignificant to them.  If I paid them, then I would be on their radar.

Maybe it is because I do not have the money to film or I am not giving them any money to film.  Seems I am a fly speck to them, insignificant.  That what I am doing with my documentary about Jets fans does not matter to them.  When you underestimate someone you let your guard down and anything can happen.  Maybe if I was HBO, Fox, ABC, Paramount, MGM, or a film company that has major money behind them then maybe they would take me seriously.  But instead, I feel like I am treated like what I am doing for their fans does not matter.

Plus I am not a writer like Rich Cimini, Manish Mehta, Jane McManus or anyone else from a major news publication.  Not even one of the Jets blogs who report only on the team and team happenings.  Seems majority of the Jets fan blogs write only positive articles about players & events.  Have yet to find one that truly gives opinions, positive and negative.  But since I report to myself, do my own editing and reporting why would they take someone like me serious.  I report on what is actually going on, no sugar coating it.

I do not play up to the organization just to get on their good side.  Maybe if I did, they would appreciate what I did more like the other blogs who do the “rah rah” stuff for them.   Maybe a small mention or paragraph about things is done, but no editorial or opinion piece about it all. I know of a few that do write for the Post, Times, and other news sources that do report on everything, good and bad.  Like the obstructed view of seats in the new stadium, the way fans have been treated by the organizations, and how PSLs were priced too high.  But those writers are not beat writers who do not cover the teams on a daily basis.

Maybe the ones who do cover it daily have an editor or boss does not want to create waves in the organization so they can keep getting access to the locker room and field.  If one makes too many waves, then no more access to players, the team, the field, or anything else closed to the general public.  Not good business for that paper, network or website.  Seems the teams make the rules on what to report about in some cases like interviews.

I just feel a lot of Jets blogs just cover the field and players.  Some will cover charity events and other activities the players take part in.  They should cover everything Jets, even the stuff that is not good that affects what happens off the field.  Do not see too many blogs or Jets beat writers focus on the stadium issues too much, or the PSL and ticket sales.  Do their readers feel that is not newsworthy?  The beat writers have to always beat the other out on team information and work hard at what they do.  Maybe information on off the field events could help.  Some Jets blogs come down on you hard if you go against their opinion.  They think you are not really a Jets fan if you do not think things their way.  Would like to see more blogs focus on everything Jets, not just Hard Knocks, the games, and what a player is doing off the field.

The only ones I see writing opinion pieces or editorials are ones who do not follow the Jets or write about them on a daily basis.  The ones who are not sports writers for major news sources or Jets beat writers for the NY Post, NY Times, ESPN, and other major news sources.  I read a great piece by Tom Dowd on SiLive.com about the new stadium, Jets, and Giants.  It is article’s like this I wish more had the urge to write.  He gives his honest opinion about the new stadium and others in the New York area.  Other New York area reporters talked about the new stadium, but many focus more on the pros than the cons.  He is some of what Tom had to say:

“The transformation of the New York sporting experience — also known as the exile of thousands of life-long, die-hard fans — is almost complete.

In two weeks, the Giants and Jets will play their first regular-season games at their new, $1.6 billion palace in the swamps of Jersey. The Yankees and Mets are in year two of their Shake Shacked, Hard Rocked monuments to excess. The renovation that will radically recreate Madison Square Garden — and likely its already oppressive ticket prices as well — has already begun…”

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The Giants practice at the new Meaadowlands Stadium during a June minicamp.

“And legions of fans deciding that a giant hi-def flat screen is a better deal than the prices on their old season tickets that have rocketed into the stratosphere.

This won’t hurt any franchise’s bottom line. Most of the tickets will still sell to somebody, and at a higher price than before.

It’s the final triumph of the free market and the end of shame in sports ownership.

Owners and commissioners still love their little sound bites, claiming their concern for the fans, but they only manage to set new marks for disingenuousness.

It’s an amazing ability to tell a lie that you know nobody will believe anyway.

Maybe they did think about the fans, just a little bit, once upon a time. Maybe there was a line, off in the distance, and beyond it lay excess that just seemed over the top. But that’s over.

What changed it? Try the explosion of the secondary ticket market on the Internet in the last decade.

On StubHub and Ebay and Craigslist, tickets were everywhere. People bought them, at prices far above face value. Sports owners — and concert promoters — saw this, and got angry. Because this was their product, and they weren’t getting a cut.

Now they knew, or so they thought, how much people were really willing to pay.

But they overreached. They confused the one-game-at-a-time high end ticket buyer with the faithful, steady season ticket holder. So the new buildings went up with their exclusive sponsored clubs and walled off premium seating areas.

It’s all very impressive, as long as your primary reason for going to a game has nothing to do with actually watching the game. Or if you’ve been dreaming of a $15 pastrami sandwich washed down by some fine spirits at the wine bar.”

“How much does the best seat in sports cost? Just $700 a seat each game — plus the personal seat license — although the alleged value lies in getting up out of that seat to mill around at the edge of the field behind the Jets bench, where the view tends to be obscured by 40 or so very large men. You could also wander underneath the stands to get a drink at the bar, grab a few shrimp cocktails from the buffet or pose at the lectern where Rex Ryan will deliver his postgame press conference in a glass-walled media room.

It turned out to be a harder sell than expected. The Yankees ended up cutting the prices of their most expensive tickets behind the plate – all the way down to $1,600 for one seat to a game.

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The Jets made the halfway sensible move of selling upper deck season tickets without a PSL, then watched fans flee field level when they couldn’t afford their old tickets. They cut some of their mid-level PSLs and ticket prices in half, but less than a month before their Monday night opener against the Ravens on Sept. 13, the Jets were still cold-calling upper level season ticket holders asking them to upgrade to lower level seats with PSLs attached that hadn’t been sold yet.

And if you went on Ticketmaster.com this week, you would have found that the New York Giants, only one of the toughest tickets in sports for decades, had single game tickets still available.

Of course, they would cost you $725.

For that kind of cash, I’ve got my eye on a nice 50-inch plasma screen.”

I could be wrong in my assumption, but you can find any post or article on the internet these days.  What I see is what I find.  And what I see is just news reporting on trades, training camp, players, and anything else team related.  Not too much Jets organization related.  They do a great job telling these news sources what to report about.  Guess that is why my documentary will cover everything, nothing held back about the stadium, ticket sales, PSL’s, or even the fans.  Stuff covered slightly by sports press I will go into more detail about.  I am not the liberal media & will not write just to make everyone happy, I write on what everyone sees & knows no matter how honest it is.

If i had the money, I know I would have more footage and coverage from the Jets.  But since I don’t, I am on the outside looking in.  If I was a Jets beat reporter, I would have better news and access to stories to add to the documentary.  But once again, I am on the outside looking in.  I may not have the right degree or work history to land myself a career in the media or broadcasting field.  But that does not mean I am not dedicated to what I am doing to get myself there.  I did not write for years on small papers or stations, have the right internship, or know the right people to get me a foot in the door with any employer.  But I do have the persistence, intelligence, and a fast learner to possibly help me get a foot in somewhere.  Filming this documentary and writing for my website and others has taught me a lot.

I will have more a little later about the Jets offering upper deck seats on a game y game basis.  Once again, Woody Johnson takes two steps back.  He did say they would not offer seats on a game by game basis.  Then again, he could say he meant PSL seats, not non PSL seats.  When you are privately held company, you can say whatever you want, no stockholders to answer to.  In this case, you have the fans to answer to.