Press Box Article

Weak Economy Shouldn't Harm PSL Sales: Jets, Giants expect seat licenses to move briskly as market experts say they'll increase in value


Staten Island Advance

Kevin Manahan


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Sunday, October 19, 2008

As the toxic vapors from the U.S. economic meltdown waft overseas and experts predict a deep and lasting global recession, Giants and Jets fans are scraping together thousands of dollars to pay for personal seat licenses in the $1.5 billion Meadowlands Stadium that will open next season.

The daily economic drumbeat is depressing: Job losses mount. Major corporations, on the verge of bankruptcy, beg for handouts. Economists aren't sure which is shriveling faster -- consumers' confidence or their 401(k)s.

So, in the midst of the worst financial bellyflop since the Great Depression, the two local NFL teams have picked the worst time to squeeze their ticket holders, right? Wrong.

Even in these nervous days, the local market for private seat licenses is as strong as ever, experts and fans say, thanks to an insatiable fan base that lusts for hard-to-get Giants and Jets tickets, the affluence of the metropolitan area, investors who are hoarding cash, and the near certainty that the value of the PSL will appreciate.

"Sports is different from a lot of other industries, and New York and New Jersey are different from just about any other sports market," said Kyle Burks, the founder of, a Web site devoted to the buying and selling of PSLs. "A lot of times, sports are not influenced by a recession, not negatively anyway. 'THEY WANT TO ESCAPE'

"People want to get away from the bad news. They want to escape, so they'll spend money on entertainment, and nowhere in the country is there more money than in New York or New Jersey."

Burks says "the biggest hurdle to a PSL is, 'Do you have the cash on hand, or can you get it?' And with investors fleeing a volatile stock market, there is a lot of cash on the sidelines."

A personal seat license, or PSL, gives the holder the right to buy season tickets for a certain seat in a stadium. PSLs in the new stadium will cost between $1,000 (for the Giants' upper-level seats) to $20,000 or more for mezzanine-level or lower-level seats on or near the 50-yard line.

If a PSL holder no longer wishes to buy season tickets, the holder can sell the PSL to another fan. PSLs are valid for as long as the team plays in the venue. For Giants games, each of the 82,500 seats will require a PSL. The Jets have exempted 27,000 upper-deck seats.

While the Nets are slashing ticket prices and devising gimmicky packages to fill the Izod Center seats, and other sports wonder if their attendance can survive household belt-tightening, Giants fans are snatching up pricey PSLs during the club's ongoing sale. The Jets, meanwhile, expect to sell out more than 1,000 of their most expensive seats in a special internet auction that begins today and kicks off their PSL sales. CHEAPER SEATS

Giants president and CEO John Mara said the team's season ticket holders, who are getting first shot at the PSLs, are overwhelmingly choosing to buy them, even if it means moving to cheaper seats. In a section-by-section sale that will take several months, ticket office workers are meeting with season ticket holders to explain the options and help them choose their new seats.

While the fans who are being squeezed out are getting headlines as they rail against the price and morality of PSLs, they are few in number, even in these tough times, team officials say.