Two years ago, it was the year of the owners, last year was the year of the referees, this year, is the year for the fans. Much like the Chinese New Year, where this year is the year of the snake, 2013 is the time for NFL fans to go on strike.
NFL fans suffer probably the most out of any other fan base when it comes to ticket sales, especially Personal Seat Licenses, or PSL’s. PSL’s give fans the right to buy season tickets, meaning that they physically own that seat. The licenses are also used by NFL teams in order to help pay for the construction of their new stadiums. It has become a trending theme among teams revamping their facility.
The New York Jets offered PSLs along with the New York Giants to construct their $1.6 billion palace in MetLife Stadium. PSLs are considered by many to be an investment, and like an investment, PSLs have plunged since their initial public offerings.
Specifically with the Jets, after two consecutive disappointing seasons, Jet fans are frustrated with their team, and want out of their investments. During the first week of January, after it was apparent that the Jets would not be making the playoffs, more than 1,000 Jet PSLs were listed for sale on SeasonTicketRights.com. Most of them reportedly were being sold for significantly lower than their original value. One man interviewed by the New York Post earlier this year attempted to sell a $30,000 “Coaches Club” PSL for $12,000. Another man reportedly sold PSLs for $20,000 after buying them for $60,000. Before the 2012 season, Jet fans who tried to sell their PSLs lost an average of $2,233 per seat, according to Forbes.
With a team such as the Jets, who have repeatedly disappointed their fans with not just their on the field play, but antics during the offseason, and how they manage their teams – fans have a right to be upset when their shelling out thousands of dollars for seats.
Before the 2012 season, in the same article in Forbes, Baltimore Raven’s PSLs shot up 243 percent, and Chicago Bears licenses increased 131 percent. The San Francisco 49ers, currently in the middle of constructing their new $1.2 billion stadium, were helped by Legends Hospitality Management, the same company that helped the Dallas Cowboys sell their PSLs. Legends, along with the 49ers, offered high-priced luxury PSLs, which raised over $500 million to help finance the stadium, but will probably drop in value shortly after the stadium opens up. The scary thing about it, the stadium is supposed to be ready for the 2014 NFL season, but the PSLs sold out last year. This investment might be a better one, considering that the 49ers are continually a contending team, and will be for years to come with new found quarterback Colin Kaepernick. For other teams, such as the Jets, the investment isn’t so rewarding.
The underlying problem with all the PSL drama is that it is shaping NFL organizations more and more into businesses, which evidently, is what NFL teams are starting to call themselves. When a player is released because of money issues and the response from team general managers are that, “it’s a business,” fans don’t cope well with that answer. Fans feel that they are being cheated out of seeing their favorite teams play, and for the amount of money that have to pay just for tickets, who can blame them?
Along with the issue of the amount of money desired for PSLs, comes to amount of money at concession stands and merchandise stores at stadiums. I was at a Jet game this past December, and I paid $5 for a bottled water. Prices are insane for food at stadiums, and for the amount of money for tickets, it seems as if the stadium’s treatment is just deceitful to you.
Fans are not only upset about the prices that they have to shell out just to watch their team play, but the way the NFL runs, the NFL. Fans were upset with the replacement referees, and had there not been that awful call during the Seattle Seahawk–Green Bay Packers game, who knows how long the replacement referees would have continued to be on the field. Fans are also upset about how the NFL treats its players, and former players.
It seems like fans across all sports can never be happy, but in the case of NFL fans, they have legitimate reasons as to why. Now, a fan strike is a bit far-fetched, but Commissioner Roger Goodell should pay attention to these pleas, because the NFL fan base can dwindle. The outcry for changes in the NFL has been generally dismissed, and it’s time for the league, and Goodell to realize that, and take action.