Lost amongst the excitement of the New York Jets treating the off-season like a fantasy football team is the fact that the organization is set to face a variety of financial challenges. The challenges vary in nature and can be broken down into two groups: Player contracts and Personal Seat Licensing sales. Lets take a quick look at both.
1) Player contracts- Gang Green has done an excellent job acquiring talent, now the goal is to try and keep the players around for a while. This will be no easy task as several of the Jets young stars (Revis,Mangold,Harris,Ferguson) have outperformed their current contracts, and are looking to break the bank on a new one. The Jets will try to get a hometown discount, but the NFL is a business, which was reiterated by the way Gang Green handled the releasing of Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca, and the trading of Leon Washington.
It will be very interesting to see how the Jets handle these contract negotiations as there are already rumors regarding training camp holdouts for players like Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis. Could you imagine the media circus surrounding the Jets if a star player like Revis, who Rex Ryan praised repeatedly last year as the best defensive player in the NFL, holds out of training camp? While it would be good ratings for HBO’s “Hard Knocks”, not so sure it would go over well in the locker room.
2) PSL Sales – It is no secret that the Jets are having a hard time selling their Personal Seat Licenses in the new Meadowlands. Gang Green has tried every marketing scheme possible and the fact of the matter is that the organization made two major mistakes. The first mistake is that the Jets overestimated the size of their fan base. Yes the Jets reside in heavily populated area, but the reality states that the Giants are the team of choice in the region. Gang Green has a very loyal, passionate fan base, but does not have the history or following of the Giants. This was evidenced by the length of season ticket holder waiting lists prior to the 2009 season (Giants was light years longer).
The second mistake the Jets made was that the team out-priced their fan base. The reality is that not all of the Jets home games were sold out last year, as many tickets were available on Ticketmaster.com on the day of the game. Now Gang Green is looking to double or triple the tickets prices in addition to adding on a pricey PSL fee. It is not going to happen regardless of how many autographed Mark Sanchez footballs the team offers with each PSL sale.
The only thing the New York Jets have been successful doing is annoying and frustrating their very loyal fans who have not seen a championship in over 40 years. As a long time season ticket holder I could not be any more disgusted with how the transition to the new Meadowlands went down. From losing the seats that I have sat in for over ten years, to now having to park what seems like a mile from the stadium, the Jets will have a real challenge keeping this season ticket holder. It is apparent money talks when it comes to Gang Green and the Jets will have a challenge getting their fans to spend it in their new stadium.