Last night was the first official football game (albeit preseason) played at the New Meadowlands Stadium. And yes, that is the name of the stadium as “New” is attached to it. That TV graphic in the intro of the game is going to say “New Meadowlands Stadium”, in case you got confused with the “old” Giants Stadium. Anyway, I haven’t looked too much into the features or pictures of the stadium because I always liked to be surprised when I go see a new facility. However, I have heard and read some about the new pricing.
Someone has to help pay for the $1.6 billion stadium and of course the fans are going to be a big part of that. Not only are fans likely paying higher rates for other stadium amenities, but the ticketing issue is one that hurts the most, specifically the Personal Seat License. PSLs basically mean the customer has to buy the right to purchase season tickets. Some fans would have to pay anywhere from $5000 to $20000, just to obtain the right to buy a season ticket. Therefore, some folks that have had tickets for generations have to give them up because its too much to afford. I know a lot has been written about this issue and it’s also not a new concept (there are 13 other NFL stadiums with some sort of PSL structure), but it’s such a shame that it’s come to this, ESPECIALLY because both the Jets and Giants do not sell single-game tickets to the general public.
The New York metropolitan area is seeing the brunt of this in such a quick time-frame. Before 2007, the newest pro facility built was in 1982 (Brendan Byrne Arena for the Devils and Nets), long before the era of suites, club seating and PSLs. Then in 2007, new facilities started popping up and the general fan has been hurt in football and in the common sport of baseball with the crazy pricing structures of the Mets and Yankees.
As much as I love sports and as much as I love seeing the game-day atmosphere and camaraderie, it would be great to see one big market franchise play in front of more than half-empty stadiums and struggle making profits because they have priced out their fan base. Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. Just flip on the YES Network during any Yankees home game and look at the sea of empty sections (there were even scores of empty seats during last year’s playoffs). Unfortunately, I’m sure it doesn’t hurt the richest franchise in the world and owners will NEVER see beyond the $ sign, but at some point that bottom line may get hurt enough because fans can no longer afford to come, which could lead to a sad spiral effect in the pro sporting world.