NFL – Priced out of Season Tickets Update

Posted on September 17, 2011

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Since I was 6 years old, and I’m 45 now, my Father has been taking me to see NFL football games, live and in person.  You could certainly say I am one lucky bastard, I know it, appreciate it, and enjoyed each game like it was gonna be my last one, because we talked about stopping for years now, my Father and I.  The first year for our actual season tickets was 1977, but we used to do the standing room only thing if we had to, the story goes, I don’t have specific memories of ’72 or ’73 season except for the last home game for the Jets in ’73. There was only about 5,000 people in attendance, we had a snowstorm that day, and everyone knew it was coming, so most people stayed home instead. It was against the Buffalo Bills, who needed OJ Simpson to get around 173 yards to break the 2,000 plateau. I do remember the Jets were getting crushed, and I was being told that the only thing left to do was root, not against the Jets, really, but FOR the record. My Dad says I was having none of it, and that I was the only one still rooting for the defense that we were watching through the snowstorm. He says that’s when he knew I was gonna be a “die-hard”, and it seems to me that I already was, you are what you do, you know? I didn’t complain about the freezing weather, either, that also probably helped convince him. It did seem that I was about the only kid there, because back then, things were much different, and it was no place for women and children, so you didn’t find many of us. The drinking was ferocious, as were the fans by the ends of games. On the other hand, as I grew up, we got to know the people around us, to the point they became our Sunday Shea Stadium family, even though we never saw them away from the stadium. Also, our ‘tailgate parties’, in the parking lot, always seemed to have at least 10 or more people, a lot of times there were 5 on 5, two-hand touch football games played before and after the NFL action.   Usually resulting in road rash type of injuries as the game devolved into drunken tackle/touch instead of two-hand touch, quickly ending the games, but not the partying.

Unfortunately, 2010 was our last year going to games together. 2011 will be our first year NOT going, my Dad’s turning 70, he’s more than ready to watch from the comforts of home, and to me, the games wouldn’t be the same if we watched separately, even if I could afford the $2,750 (two) ticket price (Season tickets total: 10 wks x $125= $1,250 + $250 one parking pass for year = $1,500, plus second ticket, no parking pass = $1,250+$1,500= $2,750).   If I had the money, I might’ve bought them, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t, everything about the experience inside has become about everything but the game, which used to be the only real focus for the fan .  Until I join the ranks of the wealthy, I’ll have to leave what’s left of it to the (mostly) rich folk.  In addition, I’d really need to buy four tix anyway, I have two kids, and my wife would like to go too, if I’m gonna be spending all that money on it.  I would really love to have a luxury box, and invite a bunch of people in there, but that’s not gonna happen, either.  The money could also be so much better spent, even average ticket prices are exorbinent, now.   For example, I listed current prices, but in 1997, when Bill Parcells took over the Jets, a season ticket cost $200 (8 games x $25).  Parking was $5 per game, for a total of $240, per year.   Slowly prices were raised and preseason games were made mandatory as parking went through the roof while they forced us to park farther and farther away from the stadium, adding insult to injury.  Once you‘ve get inside, you realize that for the fan, it’s no longer about the football game first, either; now you get the hard sell from the many corporate sponsors, who interrupt the game at every opportunity, usually drowning out the fans, and in particular, Fireman Ed Anzalone, #1 chant-leader for the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets.

We did get to see the first year of the new stadium, and we certainly tried to enjoy the last games like we might never make it back.  So I have no complaints, just a whole lot of great memories, and as the old saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.”  The NFL, like MLB and the NBA, are killing the golden goose, and I guess they don’t realize it, or can’t do anything about it.  The Jets waiting list was reported to be more than fifteen thousand, and now I can’t seem to get away from the Jets pushing the great seats that are available to me.  The regular fan has been pushed out by greedy owners, who need to feed the ever more hungry corporate masters who have ads everywhere, hoping to squeeze every penny they can out of the fan.  That means you don’t need the working class types anymore, they will happily let us watch on TV because enough rich fans will pay exorbitant prices for tickets they may or may not use.  The games used to be  place where you could rub elbows with rich and poor alike, any color or from any culture.  As long as they rooted for the same team, we might be the best of friends, sharing high fives, hugs, fist pounds or whatever; or even shared suffering.  And then it was back to the normal every man for himself world as you try to exit the parking lot and driving home.

John Dullaghan

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