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NY Jets Need To Deliver, For Their Fans Sake

I was originally asked to write this piece for the Football Reporters Online NFL Draft guide.  Unfortunately, the guide was not put together for release.  The piece focuses on the New York Jets, their fans, MetLife Stadium, and PSL’s in regard to the Jets.  The idea that a PSL is “an investment” is discussed in contrast to those who want them for future generations.  This is a topic I have covered countless times.

I did not want this piece to sit in limbo for eternity.  Every Jets fan has their opinion on the PSL’s.  They are also outspoken in regards to other teams possibly entertaining the PSL idea.  The story never changes, but every once in a while new pages need to be added for a deeper in depth story.

Enjoy!

Since 1996, football has watched itself grow beyond the typical funding, state grants, and loans that it takes to create and furnish a new stadium in the NFL.  The advent of the PSL has created opportunities for some but has also turned off many depending on the team you are a season ticket holder for.  When it comes to MetLife Stadium and the New York Jets, what was supposed to be a worthwhile “investment” turned into turmoil for many.

When the New York Jets announced that they were going to use PSL’s to help finance the new stadium, it was met with mixed reactions.  Especially from those long time season ticket holders who had been with the franchise since the Polo Grounds and Shea Stadium.  Many fans have been with the Jets, supporting them in every situation and season longer than any staff member associated with the team.  That shows dedication while Jets’ employees will always move on.

The term “investment” has been used loosely when it comes to the purchase and ownership of a PSL.  People are split on this concept.  Many long time season ticket holders want to hold onto their seats.  Like many before them, retaining them in order to pass them along to a younger generation to enjoy.  Others “invest” in a PSL and sell the season tickets in hopes of making a profit selling the tickets either on a game by game basis or the entire season.

Jetsseasontix-592x274As many Jets fans know today, that is nearly impossible.  This past season, tickets were being sold for a fraction of their face value.  Some went through Stub Hub and purchased seats for each game, sitting in the same seats as if they owned a PSL.

Since the Jets introduced the PSL’s, I have related them to holding stock.  A flat value paid to a company in hopes that they value of said “stock” would rise due top the performance of the team.  No one owns one PSL, the minimum would be two seats or two shares in the team.  That PSL money helps to fund the stadium along with other “seat investors” and the Jets organization itself.

After that flat investment was paid, for example, 5,000 per seat just to be able to have the right top purchase season tickets.  The PSL only give you a license to purchase your tickets in the lower and middle tiers of the stadium while the upper part of the bowl is a complete NON PSL section.  So after you have your seats and tickets for that flat price, it is now up to the Jets and their team performance to determine what the future value would be for those PSL’s.

Just like any public company who offers any form of public stock, that stock value is determined by that company’s performance.  Google continues to actively trade at a high price many are willing to pay while Facebook is struggling to even keep its shares at a reasonable price.  There are many variables that determine what the stock price would be worth.

Jets Cut PSL PricesBut the main question remains, is this investment the best value for my money?  Will I get a return on my investment?  Is the company’s performance in the short-term and the long-term enough to be worth my time and money?  New York Jets fans ask themselves those same questions.  Since the beginning, the Jets have restructured prices & PSL structures in an effort to keep seats filled for more than one game.

The Jets performance has been sub par at best.  Performance has been below expectations.  The organization and the team have not risen to the occasion that their investors (fans) would have hoped for.  Especially in this new Roman Colosseum they built for the VIP’s and corporate sponsors.  The Jets have done nothing to raise these values with a New York Super Bowl less than one year away.

When a company is not performing to expectations, investors have certain rights to make changes in a company to ensure their investment does not hit bottom.  But the Jets are not a public company.  PSL holders can complain but the ultimate decision still lies within the Jets executive offices.  Even though the Jets on field performance has not met expectations from investors, all they can do is sit back and hope the decision makers in charge do the right thing.  Not just to increase performance and value, but for their fans as well.

Recently, the Cleveland Browns did away with their PSL structure.  Starting this season, new season ticket holders only have to pay for their tickets.  Current PSL holders will have the opportunity to add-on new seats without having to pay for a new PSL and still maintain their PSL holder privileges.  The Browns organization is doing this to help raise attendance and draw fans back to live games.  The Jets and Woody Johnson can learn from other teams examples and not just leave an upper bowl with Non PSL seats..

PSL holders for both the Jets and Giants are offered opportunities to purchase tickets for other events at MetLife Stadium.  It may not be in their seat or section, but they do get offers first before non PSL holders or the general public.  The true test of this benefit will come during next year’s Super Bowl.  Will these PSL holders be offered any kind of seat, even if their respective team is not in the Super Bowl?  How will the Jets and Giants handle ticket disbursement for the Super Bowl to their PSL holders?

There are so many questions and not enough answers when it comes to PSL’s and the benefits it covers, regardless of the team.  But one thing is clear, the more you pay for your seat location, the better your benefits and the better you are treated y that respective organization.

4708201386_c84096e02a_zOn June 16, 2010, the Jets held an open practice at the still being constructed MetLife Stadium.  Many tables with sales representatives we strewn about talking up season tickets and PSL packages.  They were in their collar shirts and khakis and offered up the usual brochures to passing fans who wanted more information.  The sales representatives for VIP sections, Coaches Club sections, and luxury boxes had a very different approach.

Clad in suits and offering up sales pitches to those who want to spend at least six figures per season were treated very differently.  As I followed one such sales agent, I heard him tell his prospective client the following: “you would receive the same treatment we reserve for Woody Johnson.”  Was this a part of the sales pitch?  Was it right to tell this prospective luxury box ticket holder he would be treated differently than those fans who or for a PSL in the lower bowl or even a NON PSL holder in the upper deck?

It does appear the Jets do not treat all their fans as equals.  In one such case with luxury box holder, Jack Usman, who I interviewed in the past said that “his sales representative had  been dressed so provocatively in the shortest, tightest skirt and the highest heels he had ever seen”.  He was amazed how a sales agent would dress like that just to talk about a luxury box.  All because he wanted to spend close to 1 million over three years on a box to bring clients.  If he was just another fan, it would just be a phone call and a package sent to his house.

In this age of “he who spends the most wins”  has taken its toll on professional sports.  One used to be able to bring a family of four to a football game.  These days, parents sometimes have to decide which child goes to which game.  Forget about the cheap seats in the upper deck.  What kind of experience is that for a childs first football game.  To those in charge of those decisions, it does not matter.  The only thing that matters is the bottom line,  regardless of who occupies those seats.

PSL’s may be a necessity for certain NFL teams to build their new stadium, but at what cost to their fans? Depending on the market you enjoy your favorite team in can also determine the cost of the PSL’s.  So many factors affect price structures.  The New York Metropolitan area just happens to be the most expensive market for professional football.

tommywilsonWhen the Jets rolled out their PSL’s there was a tremendous fan base shift.  Many older, dedicated fans from the days of Shea Stadium and the Polo Grounds never stepped foot in MetLife Stadium.  Some even passed away after making their initial PSL paymentt like Tommy Wilson.  The man paid for the seats in October 2009 and only saw them from above.

Professional sports have always kept up with the times, especially the NFL.  With the modernization of new stadiums & being able to offer cutting edge amenities, comes a hefty price tag.  One that gets passed to its fans in certain cases.  None has been in a higher profile situation more than the New York Jets and their fans.  This past season  added more fuel to an ever going bonfire.

The Atlanta Falcons have just been approved to be the latest franchise in the NFL to build a new stadium. A team on the cusp & capable of a Super Bowl appearance.  Will PSL’s be used in the building of the new stadium?  Will there be enough viable funding options to not lay a burden on the fans with PSL’s?  Time will tell.  If the Falcons organization needs to do marketing research to determine the fans options, Jets fans are always willing to share their opinions.

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NY Jets Fiscal Year Extended To Playoffs

This past Sunday the Jets lost to Chicago by four points.  Now some may have thought fans would have to wait until they played Buffalo to see what their playoff fate would be.  But since Jacksonville lost, the Jets received a sport in the playoffs.  For the second straight year, it came down to the wire.  Like a software programmer, they found a back door into the playoffs.  It would have been better for their confidence if they clinched it with a win, on their own.  But they had to rely on another team to lose in order to gain entry.  I do not think that is what Rex Ryan and the team wanted.  But Rex said he will take it however he can.

Last year, the Jets had to beat Cincinnati in the final game of the season to get a playoff berth.  It was the “Win and we’re in” campaign.  They did it and beat Cincinnati in two consecutive games.   This year has been a different story.  Only one win their last four games has not shown what a true playoff contender they should be.  If they want to show their fans and the media they are Super Bowl worthy, then they should have locked up their spot weeks ago.  New England showed how bad they wanted it, the Jets could have done the same t5hing.  If the Jets plan to show their future shareholders they really mean business, they need to turn more than one corner in the next two weeks.

When the Jets made the postseason it gives them a greater ability to tell future investors this is a company, or team, making strides.  Two years in a row in the playoffs, something they can market to future investors.  A reason to get in now so they can have a shot at getting tickets to possible future playoff games.  Call home playoff tickets a dividend.  A bonus for investing in their stock and season tickets.  But if they do not make the postseason, they there is no dividend.  If there is no dividend and one looks for one each year, then why keep the tickets?

Like I have said, many hold them to pass to future generations.  They enjoy coming, tailgating, and making memories.  Some others spent their disposable income to get the extras.  To show friends they have the money to spend on the VIP seats for the free food.  To sit in the suites away from the real fans, who brave the elements to watch the game..  Those are the ones who see it as an investment.  To woo clients, show their status, and look like they are one notch higher than the other fans.  They may dispute what I say, but is it worth the money for the free food that is horrible?  Compared to other stadiums around the league, it rates amongst the worst.

The postseason can be viewed as a great way to market empty PSLs to potential investors.  Letting them know it has been two years in a row so get in now before someone else takes your seat.  But the drawback to that is they have all road games.  You do not know if it is a home game until the week is right upon you.  This could be a make or break decision for some.  I know Jets fans are dying for a home playoff game.  I remember attending a Wild Card game at Giants Stadium in 1985 against the New England Patriots.  There is a different level of excitement at a playoff game.  PSL holders are hoping for that chance.  Some to attend the event, and others to make big bucks selling the tickets.

SO with the Buffalo Bills coming to town on Sunday, Jets fans are already thinking of that first round playoff game.  Wondering what town some will fly to to watch an away game while others plan for festivities here at home.  The Jets hold their future in their hands.  Which Jets will show up on Sunday?  I can assure you the fans only care about one version, the ones who will beat Buffalo.

So the sales pitches will continue on both the PSL and non PSL seats.  I am sure The Jets will not want to sell single game seats in the upper section next year.  They will use the Jets postseason spots as a part of their sales pitch to potential investors.  The more seats they have out of their hands, the more guaranteed money they will get on those season tickets.  Once they know more are in place, the more they can rely on that guaranteed income.  They still have a long way to go to convince many to invest in the remaining PSLs, club seats, and suites.  The sooner they convince they are a winning franchise, the easier it will be.

NY Jets Stock Future Uncertain, No One Else Reports It

This past Sunday the Jets proved they are able to compete against the elite in the AFC.  But the season is one thing, beating them in the playoffs is another.  The Jets have to show consistency if they really want to make an impact like they did last year.  Losing to the Patriots 45-3 is definitely not a sign of that.  Winning convincingly against Chicago and Buffalo might convince fans and the media that the Jets really have turned the corner, or is it too late?  For many fans, it is too late.  Many feel they should have turned the corner weeks ago and not have to play catch up with two weeks left in the season.

As the only Fan Experience Analyst for the Jets fans and the only one who still reports about the PSLs, I hear a lot from the Jet faithful.  Even if the Jets win the Super Bowl, many former ticket holders would not reconsider buying them again.  They are happy cheering from their couches and even happier to save the money they would have spent on the PSLs.  With Rex, Sanchez, and the Jets making the playoffs two years in a row certainly helps their stock.  It may not skyrocket, but it may convince those on the fence to invest in some seats.  Keep in mind, a return on investment does not have to come from making a profit on selling seats, but can also come from getting access to playoff and Super Bowl tickets for a season ticket holder.

There have been various categories of ticket holders over the years.  You have the ones who continued their season tickets and will spend what they can when the Jets dictate any price.  You have the new generation of Jets ticket holder, young, willing to spend on the new amenities the stadium has to offer just to see the team.  You have the old fashioned ticket holder who just wants to see the game, spend nothing more.  Then you have the ones who will not buy season tickets.  They were ticket holders before and never will be again.

It does not matter who much they lower prices they already felt cheated, slighted by the team and will not return.  Those are the ones who carried the team from the Polo grounds all the way to Giants Stadium.  The ones who were never thanked for their years of dedicated service.  One day a year does not do enough for those who gave 40 plus years.

The Jets stock is only as good as their season.  If they can go to the Super Bowl, now this is a big IF, then they will see a spike in sales and see sell outs.  Until that happens, they will always have stock on hand and have to convince the public to invest.  The organization might have to make some internal changes if they expect their price to go up before next season.  Sometimes a company can not dictate the price, but the market dictates it to the company.  The Jets have already experienced this, and still do.

Reporters in the major news markets only touched briefly on the PSLs.  They knew if they went on about them, they would not have access to the players or the locker room.  That is the power of the organization over the news markets.  If they want to report on the team, they have to say in that teams good graces.  When it comes to reporting truth and how the public is affected, it makes it hard on those who want to do those kinds of stories.  When financial analysts report on companies, stock, and other matters, they give information that matters to investors and the general public.  Potential PSL buys should be given the same information from those in the know and those in major news markets.

There are sports writers and Jets bloggers out there who only cover he team and the players.  What about the fans?  The ones whose stories have helped make the Jets the team they are.  The ones whose history is along the teams history.  Without the Jets fans who have supported this team, who would they have played to?  The fans are the silent majority in the Jets history.  If it was not for the fans stepping up to buy season tickets, the then NY Titans would have folded and there would be no NY Jets.  It was that influx of capital that helped to keep the team going, if for a short time before new ownership.

Right now, the Jets have to keep winning if they want to sell what is left of their seats for next season.  But fans need to take into consideration other costs.  Parking, food for tailgating, concessions inside, souvenirs, and anything else that may come with a day at the stadium.  One can even go on Ebay or Stubub and bid on parking passes.  There is a lot being made off those in the secondary market.

Like I always say, the Jets control their own fate.  They have no one to blame but themselves.  DO not even blame Sal Alosi or some foot fetish videos.  The Jes even control their own fate hen it comes to their Stock/PSLs.  They think they made good with the fans when they slashed prices.  But what happens when prices rise soon to pay for that loss of income?  They need to make up that revenue somehow to pay for the stadium that was to come from the full price of those PSLs.

I am not sure many fans expect or care to know how much more they will have to pay over the next few years for their season tickets and parking.  My point is the Jets will not be the ones to front that capital, they will raise those funds by other means, evens if it means passing it on to the fans.  PSL costs will be raised by the fans who try to sell them.  Ticket prices will be raised by the Jets.  In the end, the only ones winning are the ones making a profit.  Man it is expensive to be a football fan in New York.  Everyone have a safe and Merry Christmas with your friends and family.  May the Jets give us all the gift of a win over the Bears this Sunday.

Will NY Jets Season Affect Their Stock Price?

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I know what you may be thinking, what stock is associated with the New York Jets? They are not a public company. But investors do have a ventured interest in the team. The investors are the fans. The stock are the PSLs and season tickets. What the Jets do on and off the field does affect what the PSLs will go for in the future. This is a make or break year for the Jets. The inaugural season at the New Meadowlands Stadium will decide if fans (investors) thought it was worth making an investment in the New York Jets, and if their PSL is worth keeping.

When the Jets and Giants offered up the PSLs, that was their IPO. They called it “an investment”. If they want to call it an investment, then let us call the PSLs and season tickets “stock”. Once the stock was offered to the public, you had an option of how much you wanted to pay for your investment in the team, or your seats. That initial price was set by the teams. As many are aware, the prices did come down as many fans did not want to pay the price the teams were asking for their IPO.

Some prices were slashed 50% while other seats had a flat price of the season ticket cost. A cost that has steadily increased over the years. Jets season ticket prices have gone up while some will say, the teams play has gone down. Only two AFC Championship game appearances in the past 12 years. Once fans paid the IPO, they had the opportunity to pay it all at once, over 5 years, or fifteen years. If you took the financing, you also paid interest. Since the financing was being offered by the Jets and not a bank, the Jets earned extra money (the interest) on that IPO. In other words, investors who financed paid more for the same seats than one who paid in full.

Those who would like to transfer their PSL to someone else must have approval before doing so. This is all in the PSL Agreement which every PSL owner has. Now if one is in the middle of payments and transfers the PSL to someone else. The remainder of the payments are due when the transfer to the new owner takes place. The only time this does not happen is if the transfer is made to a family member. So if Jim Smith sells his PSL to Bob Jones, Bob has to pay the remainder of the PSL in full, no more installments. It really is easier to sell a stock certificate. So if the team is doing badly and loses its value in the market, it may not be as easy to sell off a PSL.

There are websites out there where one can buy a PSL from current PSL holders. In many cases, some are not getting the return on their investment like they had hoped. From some I have talked to in Baltimore, the only time PSL holders made a profit on selling them was after the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Since that point, it has either been even money or not much of an investment. Many fans are not seeing the return the teams had promised. Then again, many are also keeping them to pass along and do not see them as an investment. Only a necessary evil to continue being a season ticket holder.

Now, many know stock gains or loses value depending on the company’s performance. Sames goes for sports. If a team does great, one can sell a PSL for greater value. If a team performs poorly, one may not get the price asked. This is where the Jets are at now. PSL holders can not sell their PSL until holding it for at least one year, this year. Next year, they can do with as they please. Now the Jets started the season great. Some who looked at the PSL as an investment may have though about selling it to make a profit. If they finish the year with Super Bowl hopes crushed, one may have to hold it and sink more money into it. Thus, holding it longer than ones wants.

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The Jets are a company that controls how well their stock performs. As long as the team is a playoof and Super Bowl contender every year, people will want those PSLs and pay to have them. If the Jets fall back to being the Jets everyone knows, then they will never sell them all. Theey still have yet to sell all their PSLs. They can not even sell out their non PSL seats. So their stock is not worth as much as they think it is. The Jets hold their own future in their hands. As long as the team performs, people will wants to attend the games.

As I have been noticing this year, their is a younger fan base than previous years. Many older fans opted out of the PSLs and there are many younger first time season ticket holders. Those who purchased their PSL should treat it like stock. You have a piece in the teams new stadium you helped to build it. The PSL holders are shareholders in the new stadium. They should have a voice as to what goes on, but don’t. Stockholders in a company get one vote per share f stock in most cases, same should go for PSL holders. If that money went to help fund the stadium, then they should have a say in what goes on.

The Jets will face the Steelers this Sunday. With wins over them, Chicago, and Buffalo they can still show they want to make the playoffs. They are just not the elite team they think they are. Two of their nine wins came against teams with winning records. Plus, four of their wins they just squeaked out. The defense has not been as good as last year and not as good as Rex Ryan keeps claiming. Even Joe Namath said on Michael Kay that the Jets are not as great as they think they are. All of these are factors in what fans decide to do in the future, especially next season.

So if the Jets do not make the right changes, then no new stock will be sold. Investors will not want to sink money into a team that is not a playoff contender. Investors will not want to spend their hard earned money in what is still a down economy to invest in a team that is not offering a return to the playoffs. Some may have a hard time even selling them in the secondary market, not able to offer more than what they paid for them. The Jets and PSL molders have a lot to think about when one can finally sell them off.

It all comes down to performance. Many fans will never give up their seats. If they never got rid of them in the 4-12 and 1-15 seasons, they never will. But some might still decide to get rid of them. Those are the ones who have to decide if the investment was worth the thousands. Some might incur a loss trying to sell them if the Jets do not turn around, at any point. I still would like to see the Jets win a Super Bowl in my lifetime. If they do, I am sure their stock will go up. But as of right now, their price is lower than when the season started. Their stock (PSL) price has dropped.