Clearly, Jet fans do need to start talking about the realities of our new home, the West Side Stadium. There will be a lot of rumor and half-truths tossed around over the coming months. We will work hard to get to the truth for all Jet fans. We are season ticket holders, not luxury box types.
It is important to remember why the Jets are willing to spend more money on this stadium than any other stadium ever. It is not to squeeze you and me, the regular fan. It is to cash in on the New York market, a market with a potential for unbelievable income.
I used to work, many years ago, in a four star restaurant. I remember when the Wall Street boys would roll in after making a big deal. I remember selling them bottles of wine that cost more than I made in a week, by far, and not just one bottle for the table, more like three or four bottles at a table of four. A wine bill at such a table could exceed $10,000. You read that correctly. $10,000 for wine at a table for four.
At the same time, regular folks would come in to celebrate a special occasion, and order a twenty dollar bottle of wine for a table of four.
The restaurant treated both tables with four star service. Both groups would leave feeling well-served.
The payoff at the West Side Stadium will be in the suites and club seats. I've seen the plans, and Powell's column, below, is not accurate in that regard. The lower bowl at West Side Stadium is not dedicated only to the big shots.
We'll pursue this angle for you in the future so that you can get an accurate picture of what life will be like in our new home, West Side Stadium.
In the end, the fans will have to
foot the bill
The price of real estate is going up, none faster than a swatch of airspace on the West Side of Manhattan. It's the most famous and controversial piece of land in the world not named after Trump. Not even the Taj Mahal has appreciated about 600 percent in a month.
When the last swipe of paint is slapped on the new stadium, which will get built, the final cost will be the same as the Yankees pitching rotation. A conservative guess is $1.8 billion, and it's a good thing Woody Johnson's empire sold plenty of Q-Tips and baby oil.
You might wonder how a billionaire Jets owner can afford it.
An even better question is how a Jets fan can afford it.
If that's you, then your salary and wallet better be as strong as your passion. That's because you will ultimately pay the bill for the most expensive stadium ever built, not Johnson or the Jets. In order to recoup their enormous investment, the Jets must pass the buck with Chad Pennington-like precision and zip. But unlike their star quarterback, the Jets will go deep.
This is something the fan better realize here in the final stages of the contentious fight to find a new home. This is something the fan, whose only reason for wanting the stadium is "we gotta have our own place," better prepare for. And here's something else the fan needs to know about: personal seat licenses.
Better known as the PSL, it's almost as solid a guarantee for the 2008 or 2009 season as Joe Namath was in 1968. A brilliant idea to squeeze yet another dollar is catching fire, and now, fans in certain cities must pay a fee just for the right to buy a seat in the stadium. And just so you know, your PSL will cost more than your DSL.
Once you've acquired the right to buy tickets, then you must actually buy them. We can safely assume that, given the price of the stadium and after factoring in inflation, a good seat will cost as much as a good BMW. Which brings us to another issue: Anyone who doesn't drive a Beemer probably won't be allowed in.
If the average-earning sports fan isn't extinct now at stadiums, he will be when the new one opens in Manhattan. Assuming the cost of attending a Jets game will be as extravagant, instead of seeing a sea of green jerseys in the seats, you're going to see an ocean of gray suits.
The atmosphere and makeup of the crowd would then match the one at the Garden, only triple the size. The "new" Jets fans may clap but won't make noise. There's a difference.
The seats will have fewer Joe Sixpacks and more Joseph R. Sevenfigures. A Manhattan stadium will allow CEOs to limo from the Upper East Side or the Four Seasons. New stadiums aren't designed for the real fan. He isn't in the lower bowl where seats cost in the hundreds, or the club level, or the three rings of luxury suites. He's up top with the general public, in a section that's being built smaller and tighter than ever before.
Look, the idea of a retractable-roofed West Side stadium is a good one if only because it keeps the Dolans from claiming the land. New York would get the Super Bowl, Olympics and Final Four. Any big event would come to the West Side, creating more jobs, revenue and more identity for the world's greatest city.
And more of your money on Sundays.
Putting the stadium in Queens makes better sense cost-wise, because it'll only be used eight or nine times a year for football, except too many big-shot politicians, city leaders and corporate suits want Manhattan.
The Jets will get their home in about five years. And that's the only good news for you, the average fan.
It means you can start saving now.