The Rundown: Parking & PSLs Stop Acting Polite, And Start Getting Real

realworld-meadowlands

PSLs and parking.  Two very unsexy topics, but topics that are issues for many fans who attend games, and to which the PSL distinction will become very real, very soon.

Tailgating: Just When You Thought It Was Safe

Phew! Well now that the old stadium is being removed, rebar by rebar, the parking situation will get better right?  That’s what they told us, so we should believe it, right?  Wrong!

For a long time, Jets fans always had one constant.  No matter what the product looked like on the field, the Jets fans and their tailgates were legendary.  Sure, us fans couldn’t control what was happening inside the stadium, but we damn well could control the pre and post game festivities.  Fans would convene in the lots, hours prior to the game, make some killer food and some bang-up booze to help whatever happened inside the stadium much more enjoyable.  I guess the team is banking on the product inside being better (which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong).

Corey Griffin, the former TJB Weekend Editor called me the other day to inform me that I would be getting a lot of frustrated emails in the coming days about PSL membership and it’s newest privilege, parking.

For years, the parking in the stadium has been by-and-large a pretty meritocratic process … get there first and it’s yours.  Not so any more. From now on there is a new tiered parking system that allows PSLers to get closer and for the non-PSL folks to be thrust to the hinterlands. 

Thanks to a reader “Upper Tier,” here’s the diagram he received in the mail this week.

parking   (click for larger image)

Green is of course for those who shelled it out at club members.  Yellow for the PSLers, and then orange for the rest of us deadbeats.  I’ve walked from P, and let me tell you, it’s a hike for a guy my age.  I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone who’s elderly, or had a child … it’s going to be miserable. 

Corey was livid at the news, and also frustrated that his families long-standing tailgate was in jeopardy as block ticket groups were only getting one spot per five vehicles.  So Corey called the team and read them the riot act.  He didn’t blame the guy he spoke to, but was basically told what he already knew.  Quoth the ticket agent: “well … they paid more than you.”

Ironically, with almost 17,000 tickets left to sell, you know that there will be plenty of unused parking in those yellow and green sections.

As Upper Tier wrote to TJB

“This is an absolute disgrace and I think you should look into this and put it on the blog to see if I’m not the only loyal fan who feels this way.

The fact that they still haven’t sold out the stadium and are treating their loyal fan base like this really irritates me.

Why does this matter?  From a practical perspective, because if you are a tailgater, everything is going to be a mess until this new system gets sorted out.  Also, this is just another example of the division being erected between groups solely based on money because the team is trying to force fans to into buying PSLs.  The ownership of this team doesn’t care how hard you cheer, just how heavy your wallet is.

No-Sell Motel

Gary Myers writes in the Daily News that PSLs and the many remaining tickets are proof positive that the market is deciding for Woody what they think of his and the Maras/Tisches investment, writ large.

The morale (sic) of this sad PSL story is simple: If you can’t pay to build it, don’t build it or they might not come. And that would be true even without the severe economic problems of the last few years.

If Johnson couldn’t afford his $850 million share of the $1.7 billion stadium without gouging the fans with the dreaded PSLs, then he never should have bought into this deal.

Same for the Giants, who are just as guilty. If the Maras and Tisches needed to dig into the fans’ pockets to build this stadium, then could someone tell us what exactly was wrong with Giants Stadium, except that it was not producing enough revenue for the owners who are now making the fans pay so the owners can make more money?

I’m not going to say that Giants Stadium was in any way a desirable venue, but the building was fine for it’s purpose, so Myer’s writing above about how the ownerships have overextended the building of their stadium and are reaching into fans pockets is exactly why I hate PSLs so much from the very beginning of the PSL talk.  That two BILLION DOLLAR BUSINESSES can’t fund this project on their own is a red flag about the bells and whistles this project has jammed into it for the express purpose of making it a more attractive (read: expensive) place for events.

Add in the recent dressing down that Deadspin did of the whole Jets Boiler Room approach at the recent NFL Draft party to selling their PSLs, and it’s not looking great.

And then there were the sales reps. "You couldn’t walk five feet without tripping over one of them," said Jeff’s buddy, whom we’ll refer to as Sean. "All they were interested in doing was selling more seats. It was the f—ing Men’s Wearhouse in there." (Jeff had his own smarmy descriptors: "They looked like 27 year old young male clones that you always see at Enterprise Rent-A-Car or from a scene in Boiler Room," he said.)

When I went to buy a house, I looked at how much my wife and my bank accounts and incomes allowed, then what that would afford us in terms of purchase, and made some hard decisions accordingly.  I didn’t overextend, and I didn’t shake down friends and family as they walked in the door for all future visits … no matter how cute a baby I could avail or how mean a Martini I can provide them during their visit.  <
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PSLs in my mind are an unscrupulous way for ownerships to make more money off the backs of their loyal customer base.  When couched as an investment, it’s laughable.  I won’t be holding my breath until the first PSLholder actually makes money back for their “investment” in the stadium.  To make money would mean that something needs to be in demand, and with thousands of seats remaining, it’s like the housing market of the past few years.

Moreover, this very week the Jets and Giants have been pulling out all the stops to get the 2014 SuperBowl bid.  Think that PSLholders will have a stake in that investment, even though the event will happen by the grace of their own checkbooks? 

While the new stadium is no doubt, a lovely place , I’m just not ever going to invest thousands of dollars into a building that will 20-30 years from now, be torn down to make the then-owners of the team at that time even more money, while my PSL is thrown on the heap.

Good luck to the team with their sales.  Good luck to their Men’s Wearhouse cadre, good luck to us who would like to still go to games at a reasonable expense, and good luck to us fans not getting their team blacked out at least once during the course of the 2010 season.




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