As the regular season soon approaches, the New York Jets are doing it all wrong when it comes to their PSLs for MetLife Stadium.
There is a high degree of consensus among many football analysts that the upcoming season for the New York Jets will go either one of two ways—bad or epically bad. In the latter case, we’re talking about a year unlike any other in recent memory. Something akin to the Rich Kotite era.
Kotite was the Jets head coach from 1995-1996, and the team’s final record was 3-13 and 1-15, respectively. There has been some chatter that the 2017 Jets are facing a similar situation. Are we looking at 0-16, 1-15, or 4-12 or 5-11? Maybe the Jets can eek out 6, or dare I suggest get to .500? Whatever the case may be, one would have to search far to find the word “success” in describing the 2017 Jets. Nor will you hear the word “playoffs,” or “Super Bowl” in the conversation.
So to keep things neat and tidy, let’s just assume the Jets will have an “off year.” Yet it should be recognized that an off year is a problem on many levels. Beginning at the very top with the owner, who will not be pleased that his franchise is considered the laughing stock of the NFL. Both the general manager, Mike Maccagnan, and the head coach, Todd Bowles, may be looking for new jobs next year, so that’s obviously a problem for both of them.
But what about Jets fans? More specifically, if the doom and gloom predictions turn out to be accurate, then what’s in store for Jets season ticket holders? These are people who are financially “vested” in the team, shelling out a fork load of money on season tickets every year, otherwise known as “personal seat licenses” (PSLs). It means that a losing season will be especially painful for PSL holders.
Think of it this way; if you’re a PSL holder, you get to see your favorite football team get dismantled week after week in person, and at the same time pay a premium to experience it right before your eyes. Fun! But really, once the season begins to go sideways with no playoff berth in sight, not many people are going to choose to attend a football game.
Even more troubling for the PSL holder is that the person sitting next to you (if they aren’t a PSL owner like yourself) probably paid significantly less for the ticket (on the secondary market). Tickets last year for the last three home games could be bought for as little as $5! You can be certain that PSL holders paid a lot more than that for the face value.
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Last year’s Miami game was ridiculously populated with Dolphins fans, and it’s no secret that they bought cheap seats from uninterested PSL holders trying to recoup some return on what has quickly become a bad investment, pure and simple.
The bottom line is that unless you’re a die-hard fan or glutton for punishment (which many Jets fan have to be given the team’s history), you’re stuck with a depreciating asset because selling tickets on the secondary market or recouping anything close to face value will be extremely difficult during an “off year.”
I’ve spoken with a few PSL holders and they’ve admitted that the Jets have been willing to work with them to help soften the hit, but still, there’s no escaping the fact that a season ticket package for the Jets may not be practical in terms of fitting in with a middle-class family budget. Let’s face it, football is a leisure activity. If a family is struggling financially and it’s a matter of being able to pay your mortgage or see a bad football team, then I seriously hope fans have a good sense of their priorities.
Of course there are other reasons why PSL holders want to dump tickets, but one must remember those holders do not have a choice; they are literally obligated to pay the full price of any season ticket(s,) pre-season tickets that nobody wants unless you offer them for free (and even that’s a tough “sell” these days), and the cost of the PSL itself (assuming there is a financing agreement in place). Parking is optional (and expensive, of course).
If I know the Jets are going to have a lousy year why would I want to pay a premium to watch this mess? It also may foster bitter feelings, particularly towards Woody Johnson, the future U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, who will be drinking tea in the afternoons with British royalty while Jets fans continue to put more money in his pocket for a lousy product.
PSLs didn’t at first seem like such a bad investment. From 2008-2010, around the time PSLs were first put up for sale, the Jets were on the cusp of showing real signs of success. Most important though was the team’s star power; namely, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and a new fresh-faced poster boy quarterback, Mark Sanchez. And let’s not forget about Rex Ryan, who quickly became “the face” of the franchise, had a bravado as wide as the tri-state area and no doubt fired up the fan base.
All in all, when PSLs were introduced the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. But now with an outlook looking bleak, the landscape has clearly changed and PSL holders are looking for the escape hatch. Search for “Sell Jets PSLs” on the internet and just see for yourself.
On the surface, this is a story about a bad football team, but obviously, the issue extends deeper. In my opinion, too much is being asked of middle-class families. The cost of PSLs and forcing fans to pay every year is a problem. And this should be a concern to not only the Jets but the NFL given that last year viewership decreased by a 8 percent. The Jets and the NFL need to shift the focus to the product on the field, and not only improve it, but also give fans the option whether to attend.
Literally forcing people to spend gobs of money on a diminishing product is not a good way to encourage fan support. I don’t know what the solution is, but that is for the Jets to figure out. My goal is to bring awareness to this issue for the fans whose voices are too often ignored.