Tailgate 4 The Tri-State Before Jets/Cardinals This Sunday


Tailgate 4 The TriState
held the first part of their cause this past Sunday at the Giants/Packers game to moderate success. Thank you to both Charles from Top Shelf Tailgate and Dave at The Fan Van Party Bus for helping us on the first part of T4T. Pictures can be found on our Facebook page along with details for Sunday.

This Sunday will be the Jets portion of Tailgate 4 The Tri-State. We welcome back The Fan Van this weekend and “Flagman” Frank Conway in Yellow lot L11.

Like this past Sunday’s Giants event, we will be raising funds for Hurricane Sandy relief during tailgating before the Jets/Cardinals game. All donations will go directly towards The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

The Fan Van Party Bus will be stacked and loaded in Yellow Lot L6 and Frank Conway and his flags along the median by the Track in Yellow lot L11

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The Tri-State to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts. The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund. The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles of Jets jerseys and possibly some former Jets players may show up as they have in the past. At our Giants event Sunday, former Giants player Steven Baker the Touchdown Maker made an appearance. They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves. It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well. Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ. He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate. That to me is the epitome of selfless.

Charles Mulea has been taking his Top Shelf tailgate to wherever he can to provide food, television, and a welcome distraction to many still cleaning up and for those responders in welcome need of comfort while assisting others. The best gifts comes from those who seek nothing in return.

If you attend the Fan Van tailgate, one cost covers all food and drink. Frank’s tailgate is very friendly, all are welcome. Just look for the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State signs at each location.

It is very easy to participate. Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!! Have fun! Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering. That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish. There are a few options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The Tr-iState:

A group or individual could make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate.

Purchase some raffles or while enjoying some great BBQ, make a donation to T4T since these tailgates are offering up their services to help us raise money.

The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation. This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

The Fan Van Party Bus is the Party City Tailgate of the Day.  Pictures was on the Jumbotron

The Fan Van Party Bus is the Party City Tailgate of the Day. Picture was on the Jumbotron

Many will laugh at the last one, but you never know how generous someone will be. But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted. Bring your checkbook and make a donation that can go a long way to helping those in need this holiday season.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you. Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page. He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

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Tailgate 4 The Tri-Staate Today Before Giants/Packers Game


Tailgate 4 The TriState
will be raising funds for Hurricane Sandy relief before today’s Giants/Green Bay Packers game as some tailgating crews have joined the cause.  Many have not just been chomping at the bit to help, but to chomp into some great BBQ as well.

Two groups have stepped up to offer their tailgating services to help us raise funds for  The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

The Fan Van Party Bus will be stacked and loaded in Red Lot G16.  Our latest addition, Top Shelf Tailgate will have their professional rig set up in Red Lot E26 just across from the turnpike off ramp.

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The Tri-State to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts.  The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.   The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

 

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles of Giants jerseys, Cheerleaders at the Giants game, and possibly some former Giants players may show up as they have in the past.  They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

Top Shelf Tailgate is the country’s first franchise tailgating opportunity.  Top Shelf offers trailers that are state of the art & built by them from the ground up to accommodate any possible need.  Catering to both children & adults the versatility is sure to please everyone. The kids can play the latest video games as the adults watch the big game on HD thanks to our DIRECTV satellite,
while our sound system keeps the music going & party alive.  A private bathroom is a luxury in the parking lot as well as the back yard.  The double keg taps conveniently serve guests the beverage of choice.  The possibilities are endless!

Top Shelf Tailgate will be accepting donations for T4T, for those seeking food and a chance to win Giants jersey’s can go to The Fan Van Party Bus

Also on hand by the Fan Van will be GMEN Shirts.  GMEN Shirts will have their shirts, sweats, hoodies, and more.  Portions of those sales today will go towards T4T.  So one could enjoy some music, food, beer, and grab some GMEN swag to show off your Big Blue pride.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The Tr-iState:

A group or individual could make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at the last one, but you never know how generous someone will be.  But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you.  Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page.  He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves.  It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well.  Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ.  He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate.  That to me is the epitome of selfless.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

 

 

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Tailgate 4 The Tri-State Shaping Up, Giants Tailgaters Needed

Since we announced our plans to have Tailgate 4 The TriState raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief, the reception has been moderate.

After consideration internally and from the opinions of others, we have decided to change the relief fund we are donating to.  Instead of the Red Cross, all donations will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The TriState to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts.  The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.   The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

We would like to thank The Jets Press, Turn on the Jets, Jets101.com, and SBNation’s GangGreenNation.com & BigBlueView.com for helping us get the word out on T4T.  Without the support of the fans and websites like these, the word of Tailgate 4 The TriState can not spread to others.  We appreciate the interest of wanting to gather others for a worthy cause.

After reaching out to various tailgating groups for both the Jets and Giants, we only have a combined 4 location at both games.

For the Jets game we have Frank Conway in Lot L11, Dave Fier in lot L5, and the Fan Van Party Bus in Lot L6 for the Jets game and VIP lot G16 for the Giants.

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles, Cheerleaders at the Giants game, and possibly some former Jets and Giants players.  They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

We are still looking for Jets and Giants tailgating groups to participate in the cause.  We thank those who are selfless and look to help those who do not have the means to help themselves due to Hurricane Sandy.

Tailgate 4 The Tri-State will take place Sunday, November 25th at the
Giants/Green Bay Packers game & Sunday, December 2nd at the Jets/Arizona Cardinals game.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The TriState:

1-Many tailgating groups charge a fee to be able to partake in their tailgate.  We ask if these tailgate groups could donate a portion of those fees towards the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State effort.

2-A group could also make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

3-The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at Number 3, but you never know how generous someone will be.  But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you.  Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

For those wanting to gets their morale boosted before the Jets take on the Arizona Cardinals, Firemen Ed will be making an appearance at Tailgate 4 The TriState on December 2nd to help us raise funds and fire up the Jets faithful before kick off.  Ed is passionate about giving his time for the right cause so we thank him in advance for his time.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page.  He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

It irks me to have great support from the Jets fans and not the Giants fans.  I personally have reached out to so many individuals I have met tailgating, as well as other groups to only get very minimal response in return.  It shows me some tailgating groups only care about their own publicity & exposure rather than using that attention to do something right for those in need.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves.  It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well.  Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ.  He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate.  That to me is the epitome of selfless.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

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Tailgate 4 The TriState To Raise Funds For Hurricane Sandy Relief Before Jets & Giants Games

Last Monday was the worst hurricane or “superstorm” to be seen by the east coast.  New Jersey’s shore line devastated.  Fires rage in New York City boros and burn homes to the ground.  Manhattan darkened.  Possessions lost, homes destroyed, and lives changed forever.

A recovery and clean up seems eternal.  Gas lines may be getting shorter but so are people’s patience.  Power has yet to be restored in many locations while families suffering their worst heart break have yet to receive help of any kind.

My family has roots in Belmar, NJ.  One of the shore towns hit hard by Sandy.  My grandparents ran Levy’s Bakery on F Street for many years.  My Aunt Norma and Uncle Herbie lived down there until the mid 90′s.

I practically grew up in Belmar.  I can remember not just being on the beach and enjoying the ocean, but the holidays with family, spending hours upon hours at Rooftop Golf and Arcade, Zelbe’s, Siderhoff’s hot dogs, Klein’s, Djai’s, Bar A, and so much more of my life happened in Belmar.

Sandy removed the entire boardwalk and dropped it off three blocks from the beach.  A town devastated along with many communities that seek assistance in rebuilding the Jersey shore.

Like many Jersey natives my heart sank lower and lower watching the destruction.  Not just here in New Jersey, but Staten Island, Long Island, and every area in new York ravaged by Sandy.

I felt the need to do something.  I am not sure what exactly, but I wanted to do something for those that had their lives disrupted and still looking for the pieces to get it back together.

So many individuals, companies, Government groups, and so many more are doing what they can to raise funds and material items for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy.  I did not want to carbon copy anyone and wanted an effort to be fun and unique while supporting a great cause.

I thought about the Jets fans I had met while filming my documentary about the Jets and their fans.  Here you have thousands upon thousands already in one location and many would be willing to support a great cause.

But why just limit it to the Jets?

Giants fans are very passionate and dedicated.  They bleed red and blue as much as a Jets fan bleeds green.  So extending an opportunity to donate to a cause that affected us all seemed only natural.

But the catalyst.  The concept to bring it all together to make it a worthy event where fans could give their time and donate to Hurricane Sandy relief.  Then it hit me.

Tailgating!

Every Jets and Giants fan likes to party and celebrate before any game.  Getting friends and family together to throw back some cold ones, grill up our meaty feast, and yell at those fans who wear the jerseys of the opposing team.  Ahh, yes….tailgating!

On behalf of Football Reporters Online, I am organizing Tailgate 4 The Tri-State.  We are looking for any and all New York Jets and Giants tailgaters to support T4T as all proceeds will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief and the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

Myself and others not just lost power, but many lost food, belongings, and homes as well.  As New York area fans, we want to provide support for those who need to start over.  That is why we are organizing this relief effort to cover both the Jets and Giants tailgating.

Tailgate 4 The Tri-State will take place Sunday, November 25th at the
Giants/Green Bay Packers game & Sunday, December 2nd at the Jets/Arizona Cardinals game.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The TriState:

1-Many tailgating groups charge a fee to be able to partake in their tailgate.  We ask if these tailgate groups could donate a portion of those fees towards the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State effort.

2-A group could also make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

3-The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at Number 3, but you never know how generous someone will be.

The Giants & Jets have already given $500,000eacg for Hurricane Sandy relief.  We as Jets and Giants fans have a chance to show our support and make our contribution.  We have an opportunity to be heard loud and clear.

As of now the Jets tailgate on December 2nd will get loud as Fireman Ed Anzalone is on board with T4T.  Fireman Ed will be offering his time at where we designate the central tailgate to be.

We will designate a flagship tailgating location at both games once we hear back from those wanting to participate.

We just started reaching out to fans, other companies, and former players to get involved with T4T, so updates will be coming.  They can be found on our Facebook page.

When I contacted the Jets on Monday, I added this in my letter:

I am sure you know time is of the utmost importance on this (organizing this project).  I hope the Jets organization would want to support their fans efforts in coordinating a program to raise funds for Sandy relief.  Please contact me with any questions or when a decision is reached.  Thank you for taking the time to consider this for your next home game.

After hearing back from the Jets, they regretfully can not get behind and endorse a cause that is being held on the MetLife Stadium property due to other contractual obligations.

They will be announcing their own efforts where fans can help raise funds during the New England Patriots game on Thanksgiving.  So for our effort during tailgating, we will not have the Jets support. The Jets can only support fans efforts away from MetLife Stadium.

For those Jets or Giants tailgaters looking to have their tailgate participate in Tailgate 4 The Tri-State can e mail us at Tailgate4TriState@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page where there is additional contact information.

 

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Tailgating As Important As Game Day Event?

Last time I talked about how bad tailgating had gotten at MetLife Stadium .  Someone from Twitter had read my article and said there are more important things to talk about with the Jets.

I agree, there is.  I do that on Football Reporters Online Presents The Jets Zone on Tuesday nights at 8 PM on BlogTalkRadio.  I know cheap plug.  But when it comes to on the field talk that is where we get it done.

I prefer to come on here and use this medium for off the field talk.  The time when many fans enjoy themselves even before any kick off has been taken.  The pregame festivities are planned by some well in advance.  Even more so that what they plan on getting inside the stadium.

Tailgating has become a ritual for some.  Making preparation a week in advance and doing prep work well into the night before a game.

Lynn Swann campaigning in Philadelphia on 2006...

Lynn Swann campaigning in Philadelphia on 2006…

Leaving early to make sure one has a prime piece of tailgating property.  Marking their territory, ready to kick the tires and light the fires.

There are quite a few who decide to watch the game from their HDTV at their tailgate rather than buying a ticket.  Truly making a full day of their blacktop BBQ.

So much attention has been centered on tailgating in recent years.  This is one volcano that is about to erupt and develop faster than Mt. Vesuvius. Leaving behind nothing but refuse, tired masses, and plenty of merchandise.

These days for Jets fans tailgating has been creating more positives memories and gatherings than the Jets games.  Certain games fans wish would be enveloped by amnesia.

Tailgating is as important as the game to so many fans.  I know a couple tailgating groups scattered around every parking section that prepare for tailgating a little more than your average joe.

Creating the bigger and badder tailgate has become a competition for those who decide to bring in their grills on a flatbed trailer.  It is amazing how some not just build a better mousetrap, but a way to filet and prepare it as well.

English: Tailgating

English Tailgating

This past Sunday, many from across the concrete jungle watched the New England game while attending a huge tailgating party as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Thrillist and Bleacher Report threw their latest Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Tailgate Throwdown at Beekman’s Beer Garden right on the pier.

Tons of events like these have been run that gather Jets fans to revel with their fellow Gang Green brethren.  It allows fans to enjoy a tailgate they may not have considered before.  Getting a new experience on what it means to watch a game.

I am sure today many are out making the necessary preparation for tomorrows game regardless of who they follow.  Menus being reviewed, meat being prepped, and beer being stored by the case so no one goes thirsty before kick off.

When it comes to college football, tailgating is a whole entity unto itself.  Many even tailgate and camp out the night before and turn it into a weekend festivity.  College football has had true tailgating going back to the late 1800′s when people had picnics behind their horse drawn carriages hence the name tailgating.

NASCAR fans party 24/7 before the green flag drops

NASCAR fans party 24/7 before the green flag drops

Now NASCAR knows the true passion of tailgating.  Thousands line up their trailers, campers,  and trucks on a Friday and party the weekend away just until the race on Sunday.  Now that’s tailgating.  NASCAR tailgating transcends what tailgating means.

So the next time someone tries to say tailgating is not worth discussing or not as important as the on field product, then that individual truly does not know the job tailgating does for their faithful blacktop chefs of BBQ.

Even the teams and companies who put out merchandise know the volumes of business it helps drive their way.  One can pass by a sponsored tailgate and see beer advertising, loaned grills, and free merchandise to help advertise their tailgating wares.

New York Jets fans know how important tailgating is.  The Jets do as well.  That is why they send Woody Johnson out there when they can to do PR to boost his positive image.  Certain Jets fans believe he visits tailgaters in order to keep a positive image and make fans believe he is just a regular guy.

But he isn’t.

Tailgating represents a way for fans to be individuals.  We may all arrive wearing the same colors and cheering on the same players, but we all tailgate differently.  That is why it is so much fun.  Everyone stands out in their own way and their tailgate becomes their own personal man cave.

No better place to throw some meat over an open fire.

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Inaugural Fantasy Football Fest Fumbles The Ball, But Room To Improve

Last weekend I was in Atlantic City to cover the inaugural Fantasy Football Festival, a one-of-a-kind fantasy football experience according to the organizers, ReedPOP.  This was the first time any festival or convention was organized and catered around fantasy football.

DSC_4086ReedPOP, the production company behind New York Comic Con (the largest pop culture convention on the east coast), PAX, PAX East, UFC Fan Expo,  & Star Wars Celebration organized the festival.  ReedPOP is dedicated to producing celebrations of popular culture throughout the world that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences for consumers and fans, is organizing the festival.

Headlining the festival were Philadelphia Eagles’ stars Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy, New York Giants’ greats Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor, former Washington Redskins QB Joe Theismann, NFL Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith and Chris Doleman, Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson, ESPN Fantasy Expert Matthew Berry and others as they participated in autograph signings, panel discussions and fan Q&A sessions throughout the weekend.

DSC_4091Aside from hosting your own fantasy draft live from the AC Convention Center with your friends, the inaugural festival in AC had a number of activities and special events throughout the weekend including fantasy expert round tables, video game tournaments, interactive athletic competitions (punt, pass, kick, sports memorabilia, & a tailgate party and beer tasting.

To read more about the festival and future events, you can visit their website at www.fantasyfootballfest.com.

Last Thursday night at 9 PM before the event, I was on the weekly Football Reporters Online BlogTalk Radio program interviewing our guest, Greg Topalian, ReedPOP’s Senior VP.  Gregg was excited about the coming event.  He mentioned the radio spots they ran, posting flyers on the boardwalk, and plastering any information about the event where ever they could.

Greg also mentioned how ticket sales were going very well and about 25000 tickets for the festival had either been sold or given out by the radio stations.  From all the information provided it sounded like the inaugural event was going to be a hot ticket in town.

DSC_4092But from those who attended, the event turned out to be a great effort rather than a memorable weekend.  Even Phil Simms could not wait to leave.  More on that later.

Day one started with about 25-30 fans waiting outside for he 10 AM opening.  I had this vision of a long line, maybe 100-150 people standing outside.  Chomping at the bit to get inside for a memorable fantasy football experience where one can also buy some memorabilia and meet some players for an autograph or two.

It was memorable all right, but not in the good way some may have liked.  By the time one was in the door, there was enough time and room to get everything done fast. Which many did.  Not many attended for fantasy football reasons.  Many came in and got the autographs they wanted and left.

Now some did come for fantasy football, but by the time the inquiries were done there was not much left to do.  Even though they had panels, fantasy football drafts on site, and video game stations lined up with Xbox & PS3 with Madden and NCAA football games, it was not enough to keep the patrons there.

The best part of the video game section was the original Nintendo Entertainment System with Super Techmo Bowl.  All one had to do was play as Bo Jackson to win the game.  Not a cheat, but a heavy advantage in the game.

There ere not many vendors inside as well.  There were a bunch of fantasy experts and websites to gain valuable knowledge from, but it was not enough to keep people there for an extended period.  After certain autographs were obtained, many fans left.  It seemed the players were more of a draw for some rather than learning how to draft your fantasy players.

DSC_4187

ESPN’s Matthew Berry & Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick & LeSean McCoy

Over the two day period there were less than five fantasy drafts overall.  Tables were set up to handle at least 12-15 per day at a time.  The panels also drew little listeners.  The only panels people sat and listened to were to the Eagles cheerleaders doing trivia and when the Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and ESPN‘s Fantasy Analyst Matthew Berry were taking questions.

Besides the typical fantasy booths like RotoExperts, FantasyGuru, Fantrax.com, Gameday Fantasy Football, and a slew of others, companies like Fathead, Steiner Sports Collectibles, Jack Links Beef Jerky, World Poker Tour, Point Pong. and others tried to offer up football merchandise.

DSC_4208Sirus XM radio had their Fantasy Sports Radio show broadcast live as the event was going on.  Fans could listen in to fantasy experts give their opinion as well as former athletes give their analyst opinions on who to draft for your fantasy team.  94WIP Sports Radio, 97.5 The Fanatic, 97.3 ESPN Radio, & 103.7 WMGM Rocks were also doing certain live broadcasts or reports from the event.

For those wanting a true taste of playing on the gridiron, there were interactive areas where one could catch a pass, kick a field goal, or throw passes for accuracy.  The Giants Perry Williams was having fun along side the fans in the passing section.  Jets/Giants Billy Taylor was giving defensive stance tips to the Lingerie Football League ladies who were also a part of the festivities.

DSC_4171

Jets/Giants Billy Taylor with the ladies of the Lingerie Football League

One could notice some of the other players and former players in attendance wanted to get their time there over as soon as possible.  Many of the fans and even the vendors noticed how some shortened their time on purpose due to the low turnout.

For example, Michael Vick was originally scheduled for his autograph session from 1:30-3:30 PM and then a panel discussion with Matthew Berry breaking down the QB position from 4:15-5 PM.  LeSean McCoy was scheduled from 2:30-4:30 PM for his autograph session.  The only session that did not change was the QB panel discussion.  LeSean McCoy took part in that as well and it became a general Q&A session as well.

Both Michael Vick & LeSean McCoy had their autograph sessions changed from their scheduled times  to 5-6 PM.  $100 for Vick to sign any item and McCoy $60 for any item.  As soon as 5:30 came they both left before the end of their scheduled times.  This could be due to low autograph requests, low attendance, or the fact not many stayed until the 6 PM day one close.

They were great with the fans and signed whatever people presented and answered tons of questions.  One has to wonder why they would leave early.  If they got paid for one time and left before that scheduled time, they really made out like bandits.

DSC_4093Day two of the event saw less fans attend.  Even some of the vendors did not come back for day two.  Some even came in after the 10 AM start time.  The demeanor of the vendors showed their displeasure with the event.  From the supposed 25000 tickets either sold or given away it appeared less than 2000 attended the event.

My wife and I stayed at the Sheraton, less than 50 yards from the convention center.  One of the Sheraton’s attendants mentioned he had no idea the event was going on that weekend.  According to him, he saw no posted advertisements for the event.  While my wife and I walked, we barely saw any ourselves.  The only ads we saw were on a revolving billboard and light post flags leading to the convention center.

DSC_4254Outside the convention center, there was a tailgating section.   WMGM Radio was broadcasting live outside alongside the the worlds largest portable bbq grill.  It takes p the whole trailer of an 18 wheeler.  Johnsonville has three trucks and brings them to various events across the country.  The next stop after the Fantasy Fest was to Bristol, TN for NASCAR.

It appeared there were more food vendors inside than outside.  The driver of the Johnsonville truck was also the grillmaster.  Johnsonville was at the event to help raise charitable funds for the Marines.  But they felt let down by the event.

DSC_4253They claim there were no signs or posters inside to direct fans outside to the tailgating section.  After checking the event floor, there really was no signs.  They were all posted outside the doos of the event in various parts of the convention center.  We went outside both days and each time the tailgating section looked empty.

The guys from Johnsonville felt disappointed as they look to help raise funds for charity.  This event let them down as they could not raise the kinds of charitable funds for the Marines as they had hoped.

Day two also saw former Giants QB Phil Simms as the autograph attraction.  Phil was great with the kids and more than happy to talk to the fans and sign whatever they wanted.  I found out from one of his handlers that he drove himself down there that morning.

DSC_4222

NY Giants QB & Football Analyst Phil Simms

Phil Simms was scheduled from 11AM-1PM.  And like a few others the day before, he could not wait to get out of the event.  His line for autographs was short and he left the event before the end of his scheduled autograph time.  Phil Simms sped out the door so fast he beat Usain Bolt’s world record in the 100 yard dash.  I should know, I was behind him taking video.

The event may not have been an overall success for some, but for those who got what they paid for, they left satisfied.  I guess if you are a true fantasy football fan and you had your questions answered before you could draft your players, then it was a success.  If your kids saw the players you grew up watching and had them sign the autographs you wanted, then you left smiling.

If ReedPOP plans to do this event next year, there is a lot that needs to be rethought and restructured.  Not only do the fans who attend need to leave happy, but so should your exhibitors.  They pay for space on the floor and should be given a true chance to make a profit on top of their expenses for the festival.  If the exhibitors leave the event pleased, then they will plan  to return next year.

If there had been video game tournaments where players could play Madden, NCAA 13, or Siper Techmo Bowl with prizes and sponsor tie ins from EA Sports, Nintendo, Sony or others could have added more of an interactive feel to the event.

ReedPOP could show live status feeds from Twitter to encourage the use of social media to get people to the event immediately.  Even a prize every hour for the best tweet.

I enjoyed myself at the event.  The Philadelphia Eagle cheerleaders formed lines to welcome fans in and I ran threw.  I took my attempt at the field goal kick.  If you want to know how I did, come back when the video is up.  Plus I interviewed New York Giants Otis Anderson, Howard Cross, Perry Williams, Billy Taylor, Jets Bruce Harper, Ravens Tony Siragusa, ESPN’s Matthew Berry, and more.  So in order to know what we talked about, you WILL have to come back for the video.

DSC_4199If ReedPOP decides to do this event next year, I will come back.  I’d like to see how they can improve in their second year to increase attendance.  This convention can be a success with the right adjusting.  Take advantage of the successes it had and capitalize on it for next year.  You will find football fans do enjoy events like this as it provides the interaction fans welcome from players.

When the players are signing autographs & laughing, fans obtaining signatures and memorabilia, and vendors are interacting with sales and valuable fantasy information, then everyone is happy.  That is how you measure an event’s success.

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2012 Season Preparation Begins For Jets & Their Fans

Over the past week, training camp began across the NFL.  The Jets reported to training camp with more questions than answers.  Even though the Jets will not be on Hard Knocks there is always enough drama and media following around Gang Green.  Just turn on SportsCenter.

From the release of information regarding locker room issues to the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow so called “QB controversy”, the cameras will keep rolling through Jets training camp.  Let’s face it, the Jets provide more drama than TNT.

The veterans need to let what happened months ago slide off their back and get down to business.  If Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez, and the other starters want to look ahead to the 2012 season, they need to forget about how the 2011 season ended.  The incoming rookies need to be led by the veterans example and act as a cohesive unit.

But as much prep work the Jets need to do, so do the fans.  Why should fans do prep work?  What could possibly be so important that fans need to do prep work for the 2012 season.

It’s called tailgating.

Majority of you are probably thinking all one has to do is pack food, beer, and a grill.  Then drive to the stadium, find a spot, set up and enjoy.

Sure, for the basic one timer this is a great idea.  But to the experienced season ticket holder who makes a day of tailgating, there are many steps taken for the quintessential tailgating experience.

Before MetLife Stadium & parking permits, one would be able to arrive as early as they wanted to.  At the old Giants Stadium, my wife Gina & I would get there as early as 7 AM before a 1 PM game.  A few others would arrive before us.  We made a day of it, breakfast and lunch before the game.  Everything packed the night before and finding a prime spot the next day.

The best part about arriving at least 6 hours before kickoff was that there were no employees at the entry gates.  One could drive to their stated parking destination and not pay $20.

I am 37 and I talk about 5 years ago as if I was referring to 1943.  Like technology, everything seems to be moving faster these days.

Some groups already established like L7 Tailgate, Dave Fier and the group at L5, and “Flagman” Frank Conway staked their clam the minute they were first allowed into the newly established MetLife lots.  They get there early enough to the same location to ensure there is room needed to support their tailgating experience for everyone involved.

MetLife Stadium is set up  according to your parking permit.  The more you pay for it according to its list price, the closer to the stadium you are.  This could play a factor in your tailgating.  The farther you are, the earlier you may have to end your tailgate.

This is why the Jets have preseason games, to work out the kinks before the season starts.  Same should go for those wanting the best tailgating experience during the season.

First off, not many die hard season ticket holders attend preseason games.  One could go and scout every location needed.  To go from colored lot to colored lot is not easy, but it can be done.  Attend one or two preseason games and you will find your prime spot for the season.

Here is a layout of the MetLife Stadium parking situation
Parking lot B was formerly a non PSL parking area.  In 2011, it was converted to yellow PSL parking.

By viewing the map, the areas that fill up first are the outlined black areas in each parking section.  Look at is as real estate while tailgating.  You can have a small plot to host a tailgate and not have to compete with drivers looking for a place to park.

Many campers, diesel trucks, and u-hauls tailgate on the “outer rim”(Star Wars reference).  “Flagman” Frank Conway has room to fly his 546 flags this way.  If there is a section of concrete or grass that can be occupied, those will go first.

Next to go are the parking lot lights with the lot location on it.  Hence the L7 Tailgate and Dave Fier with L5.  Get a bunch of friends to park side by side and in some cases, on the opposite side as well to have a central hub for tailgating.  Some of the guys at L5 have a fun and entertaining way to mock the opposing team each game day as someone drives through their tailgate.

Once the outside rim and the lot markers are gone it all spreads out from there.  The prime spots are usually gone in about an hour.  This is why many line up at least 1-2 hours before the gates are opened.  They know by waiting, even for that long, you can guarantee yourself a prime location.

Relax, one does not have to line up as early as fans did to watch Peyton Manning practice for the first time with the Denver Broncos.

Just keep in mind the larger your tailgate, the earlier you want to arrive to secure a spot that can hold not just all the people, but what everyone brings with them.  So act like Indiana Jones and choose wisely.

August is a great time to get those needed essentials for tailgating.  Many stores view August as the end of summer.  So many tailgating essentials for grilling or barbecuing will be available for a discount.  One can find coolers, utensils, charcoal towers, certain portable grills, and more for prices lower than some expect.  Stores would rather sell them for a deep discount than not sell them at all.

One item that is an essential for any tailgate is a pop up tent.  They come 10′x10′ standard and usually start around $95.  It comes it handier than an umbrella in rainy situations.  Keep your grill and food dry so your tailgate can continue in any weather.  Many put them over the back of their car so friends always have a dry place to stand.  Trust me, if it rains and you do not have one, you will wish you did.

Other items like chairs, tables, flags, inflatables, air horns, fire pits, flat screen TV’s, satellite dishes, couches, end tables, or whatever else makes your tailgate a memorable one is up to you.  I provide the basics.

Maybe a future article will focus on the more extravagant and stranger tailgates out there.  I have pictures on some and they will definitely make you laugh.

One could use the above guidelines for either the Jets or Giants home games.  The parking doesn’t change.  Only the fans tailgating.

Jets Lower Ticket Prices; Fans Hope To Raise Expectations

It has been a while since I actually sat down to write.  Had some distractions that interfered with the creative flow.  So I guess I needed a mental vacation.  An opportunity to dump the mental waste and fill it with fresh thoughts that makes me want to sit, down and make this seem seamless.

For a while there I felt robotic, pushing myself to churn out something I felt had no heart behind it.

Sometimes it takes a wave.  To fully reach its potential with a lot of mass, force and power behind it.  But to be the one to ride that wave, derive its energy and untapped potential.  Riding that wave to mastery.  Those are the best writers.  The ones who take that untapped potential and ride that wave past the crest.

Once I read the Jets had lowered ticket prices in the upper deck, I knew I had a reason to sit down just to get back up on my soap box.  For the few that gather, it just makes sense.

Apparently, the New York Jets are lowering the price of some 12,000 upper tier seats at MetLife Stadium for the 2012 season.

Jets President Neil Glat said that seats in the end zone, corners and some along the sidelines that cut in from the corners will drop in price for next season.  The seats farthest from the 50 yard line are generally the ones least sought after.  With many not wanting to sit next to the clouds this is another opportunity to make the upper deck attractive.

The last seven rows of four sections of sideline seats will fall from $105 per game to either $75 or $50, depending on the row. Those in the corners and in the end zone will drop from $95 to either $75 in six rows or $50 for the last seven rows.

DSC05962The upper deck has been a hard sell to Jets fans.  Even with single game seats the transportation alternatives and costs could add up.  Even a day at the game is not cheap for some in a down economy still.  A reason I am sure the Jets took into consideration when lowering ticket prices.

“After taking a hard look and having analyzed the 300 level, we are going to adjust the price,” Glat said. “We think we can do better in that area for our fans. The goal is to ensure that we have a lot of season ticket holders up there.”

I think their hard look came from ticket sales to date.  I am sure they see less being taken in the non PSL region.  A down economy and unemployment will be two reasons the team will not acknowledge often.  They have before, it would be a relief if thy would do it again.

Saying what they did was a more PC way of acknowledging the reasons without saying them, but we all know.

Jets fans will be able to purchase a season ticket for as little as $500, including two preseason games.  A parking permit could cost a few hundred for the season so add that into consideration.

“This was not an issue about worrying about getting games on TV,” Glat said, “but what is the right price for the value for the fans. And there’s really an emphasis in the NFL on season ticket holders, the lifeblood of the league.”

But wait, there is more dangling off the hook of being a 300-level Season Ticket Holder:

  • Great savings off the individual game ticket price (duh)
  • Special concessions offers including $3 value menu snack items (dollar dog)
  • Meet & greets with two Jets Alumni before every home game (ones who are there anyway like Greg Buttle & Joe Klecko)
  • Complimentary team roster cards located on the 300-level concourse (low cost printing)

I can see how this could be attractive to some who want to get their kids to a few games, give them some perks and not be tied to a PSL.

It may encourage those already in the upper deck to spread their claim to more seats.  I see this working well with younger fans but not the older fans.  It would take an effort and a few elevators to get up there and not an attractive option.

JetsBlog2I bring that up because a lot of older fans, the season ticket holders who had seats for more years than some current PSL holders have been alive, might like the prices slashes.  But they may not like the seats location and the journey it takes to get to the top of the Roman Coliseum.

I admire those long time season ticket holders for not going to the new stadium.  They knew when to say when.  When to make a new experience away from the new American Dream MetLife Mall that will soon exist.

Now a football Sunday can start with tailgating and commerce.  Players can go from a personal appearance in one facility right into the lockers before a game in the other.

With all the bonus features, v.i.p. sections ,and coaches club attractions in MetLife Stadium is football even a feature attraction?

The days of tailgating before the game, going to the game, then leaving will soon be a memory faster than Derrick Mason.

I am old school, I guess.  Football Sunday is meant for football and tailgating, that’s it.  Men need a day for themselves during the week to focus on football, it’s in a long standing rule book somewhere..  Look it up.  Maybe Wikipedia.

Those fans who saw the rise of the Titans of New York and early Jets years made a lot of sacrifices.  They came out before the games when they could.  They paid their dues.  Many never step foot in the new stadium.  For most of them, the magic was gone.

Not in the team, but in the way they experienced their football on Sunday.  Not just the extra entertainment but also in the way of portable devices, I-phones, and everything else that takes one’s attention off the game they paid to see.

DSC07225The Jet Nuts, Jets Pack, and many other long standing tailgating groups did not want to keep up with the costs.  Many said no to the ever changing price structures.  The Jets have not kept a single cost the same on both the tickets & PSL’s since they were first announced for MetLife Stadium.

When one overprices in a down economy, you have to make constant shifts.  For every step ahead they take with trying to lure fans to buy tickets, they take two steps back each time they change their price structure.

Many don’t mind.  They will take whatever price structure they can get just to be able to say they have New York Jets season tickets.  It has become a possession of status to some.  Trying to prove they are a bigger fan than others.

But no matter how you watch Mark Sanchez, Darelle Revis, and now Tim Tebow, we are all fans.  Opinions will vary between Jets fans on the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow QB controversy.  Spend as much as you want either viewing from home or the most luxurious seats in MetLife Stadium.  The organization only knows you from one perspective.

As a consumer.

Help The Jets Design Their 2012 Season Tickets

This past Monday, the Jets announced via Facebook a contest where some lucky fan could win season tickets for the upcoming 2012 season.  One lucky individual will be able to share their ideas and have them voted on to see if their design is worthy enough to be placed on a season ticket.  Here are details from the Jets:

The Jets have announced that the team is asking fans to help design their 2012 season tickets. Fans who like the Jets on Facebook can vote for the photos that will be incorporated into the 2012 season ticket design. Also, fans can enter to win a pair of 300-level 2012 season tickets and one lucky fan will get to use the tickets he or she helped design to see the Jets live at MetLife Stadium this year.*

Fans can vote on three tickets per week for a total of nine tickets through April 23rd.  The 10th ticket is reserved for the Jets Ring of Honor, an announcement that will be made later this year.  Seven current players – David Harris, Santonio Holmes, Nick Mangold, Sione Pouha, Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez, Bryan Thomas – and Coach Rex Ryan will be included in this vote.  Curtis Martin, 2012 Hall of Fame inductee and Jets Ring of Honor great, will be featured on a ticket and also included in the photo vote.

Fans can vote and enter for a chance to win at facebook.com/jets.

This is the first week pictures can be submitted and voted upon.  The Jets used Facbook again this year for fans to enter into a drawing to announce a draft pick at this years 2012 NFL Draft in NYC.
The Jets always make their official announcement regarding any contest or promotion on their website first.  But more and more people visit and use Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis.  It makes sense to update on these sites more often as the Jets will will reach a larger demographic.

Facebook and Twitter provide a faster, streamlined process for conducting market research.  From comments left to liking a page to entering contests, companies have instant information provided to them on a real time basis.  A company’s Facebook page or Twitter account can do the work of a market research firm, to some degree.

Now the team needs to integrate social media into their live events.  Whether at a game or a rally, it is easy to use tech outdoors to keep the plugged in updated on their live feed.  Many events already do this during trade events, company sponsored events, and countless more gatherings that use social media to spread the message outside the event.

Each Bing event I went to utilized Twitter in easy ways.  They set up monitors to view feed, provided a hash tag, and gave out prizes to those who Tweeted.  Twitter is great for real time during live events.  Facebook is good for real time on a mobile device.  Hard to set up a public live feed in a central location.  Facebook is better for individual use to create buzz or on the company page with real updates, pictures, comments, and more.

I walked and filmed in just about every parking section at MetLife Stadium.  I have seen what fans do in each section.  Like nomadic tribes, they all have a certain spot they prefer.  There are many ways the Jets could implement social media interaction during tailgating.  If they create a buzz and feature aspects of it during the game, it would provide a true social experience.

The digital screens around the outside of the stadium could feature Twitter posts with the Jets hash tag.  Show pictures taken right there during tailgating so people can see themselves as they enter the stadium.  Best tailgate picture could be featured on the website and in the stadium.  There are many other ways to integrate social media into tailgating, but if the Jets want to know, they know who to contact.

Many Jets bloggers and fans already use social media to enhance their tailgate.  L7 Tailgate was founded on Twitter.  Their use and others I know of supersede what the Jets do with social media during tailgating.  When done right, you create the perfect pregame fan interaction.  I am not sure what other sports franchises do, but the Jets can do more to create real time in real time.