Press Box Article

 
Team: Interest in spots $5,000 & up

 

The Record

John Brennan

 

Link to Article on NorthJersey.com

 

Friday, October 17, 2008

 

The world financial markets have been in turmoil for the past few weeks — but the Jets say they are still quite optimistic about finding a bullish market for a personal seat license ticket auction beginning Sunday morning on stubhub.com.

For a minimum bid of $5,000, well-heeled Jets fans and corporate executives will be able to take a shot at owning the 2,000 choicest seats in the $1.5 billion Meadowlands football stadium that opens in 2010 — the 25 rows near the 50-yard line behind the Jets’ bench.

"Yes, these are challenging economic times, but fans know that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get these great seats," said Jets senior vice president Matt Higgins. "We have the benefit of already knowing how much interest is out there, and we’re confident that interest will be demonstrated [in the auction]."

The Super Bowl champion Giants, who will play in the same new stadium, are charging a flat $20,000 PSL fee for these same seats. PSLs are the rough equivalent of a liquor license or taxi medallions, giving fans the right to purchase seats.

But what is the real market price for such PSLs?

In a unique business play, the Jets are going to find out — for better or for worse.

The process intrigues Kyle Burks, who operates the online ticket-sales Web site seasonticketrights.com.

"I suspect prices will be a little depressed [given the economy], but not too much," Burks said. "I think we’re looking at $25,000 to $60,000 [PSLs] for the best seats, but not above that. The Jets could have done a blind auction, so doing it this way works out better for the fans."

Ironically, Burks said that the stock market drop actually could help the Jets’ sales effort, because some big investors who took cash out of the market might prefer to put some of that money in PSLs instead.

The financial experience of PSL holders in other National Football League markets has varied wildly — from fans getting back at least five to 10 times the original cost in resales in Pittsburgh and Chicago, to Oakland fans seeing their PSLs become worthless once the team no longer was able to sell out the building. But most of those PSLs only have cost $500 to $1,000.

The Dallas Cowboys are charging a remarkable $100,000 to $150,000 per PSL for the best seats in their new Arlington, Texas, stadium that opens in 2009. The Cowboys play in a much smaller market — but while the Cowboys call themselves "America’s Team," the Jets have been a star-crossed franchise since quarterback Joe Namath led them to their only Super Bowl appearance in 1969.

Plenty of Fortune 500 company bosses presumably are eyeing these coveted tickets.

But Higgins said that the diehard fans sitting in the equivalent of these seats in Giants Stadium also are expressing strong interest in finding a way to finance the more expensive new option. That’s even though their seat prices would be increasing from the current $100-$425 to a whopping $700 per seat per game.

"Fans want to hold onto these seats, but they also want flexibility," Higgins said. "I talked to one season-ticket holder who wanted to keep his six seats, but he said five years [of financing] might not be long enough."

So the Jets — who are in the midst of reaching out to all of the hundreds of fans who hold the equivalent 2,000 tickets in the current stadium — decided recently to offer 5-year financing at 6.5 percent or 15-year financing at 8 percent.

 

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