Sports fans are by nature traditionalists. Some older baseball fans still bemoan the day that the American League abandoned convention and invented the designated hitter. The phrase “In my day” leading off a sentence is a signal for the younger fans in the room to prepare themselves for a long lecture about how the game has changed for the worse. In some instances they are most certainly right and in some they are wrong, but one recent invention has drawn the ire of young and old alike: personal seat licenses.
Since the Giants and Jets announced plans to use them, the area has been awash in stories about how fans who have supported their team for years are now being priced out of their “legacy”. While the Jets haven’t announced prices for their PSL’s yet, the Giants have and they are shocking, up to $20,000 a seat in the lower tier of the stadium. Fans are right to feel outraged, but they must also realize some harsh economic realities.
The Giants and the Jets are building a new stadium that will cost somewhere around $1.6 billion. Unlike the Dallas Cowboys or our local baseball teams, they are doing this by financing the project themselves instead of relying on public subsidies. While no one would deny that NFL owners make a lot of money, expecting any ownership group to foot those costs on their own is fantasy. PSL’s are a sad, but necessary step.
But the Giants could have lessened the blow and created some goodwill by leaving some of the seats in the new stadium “PSL free”. 20,000 of the seats priced at $1,000 sold without PSL’s would have cost the Giants an additional $20 million, but demonstrated a commitment to let the average fan still make it to the game. It’s too late for the Giants now, but hopefully the Jets will give their fanbase a break.