The adage is "knowledge is power" and the Jets have taken a large step to empower their fanbase. The Green & White, who will move into their beautiful new stadium in 2010 and have entered Phase 1 of their seat selection process, have assembled a 17-person sales staff to assist season ticket holders being offered the opportunity to purchase Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs) for Club Seats.
Rob Sullivan, the club's vice president of consumer sales & service, oversees this new team that operates daily out of a dedicated sales center at the south tower of the old Meadowlands stadium. In addition to brochures that are being mailed out over the next couple of months to all season ticket holders, Sullivan's crew is working overtime on the phones.
"It's both an inbound and a proactive outbound campaign," he said this week. "When they receive the brochure, they call us. At the same time, we don't wait for their call. We pick up the phone and are reaching out to all of our season ticket holders. We want to understand more about them and how they use the tickets, ask a lot of qualifying questions to understand who they are and their experience with us."
While Sullivan doesn't run a 24/7 operation, it's not far off. This new sales center is open almost 80 hours per week as the Jets have a 7 a.m.–8 p.m. shift during the workweek and also are open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.–4 p.m. on Sunday.
"Our goal is to really paint the picture and take the fan from street to seat," he said, "to help them better understand how different this experience is going to be."
And the phone lines have been hot.
"Phones are cranking. The feedback we get is fans are excited that they have a choice, they're excited that they get to pick their actual seats. Those opting to buy club seats are excited by the fact that they can work with a specialist to handpick the seats that they want and that they will keep for generations to come."
The pricing structure for the PSLs ranges from $4,000 in the mezzanine to $30,000 in the Coaches Club. The Jets, who will have no PSLs for any of their 27,000 seats in the upper bowl, offer both 5-year and 15-year payment plans for their club seats.
"We help fans break down the financing program in terms that is easy to understand," Sullivan said. "When you look at buying the fantastic seat in the mezzanine end zone, that PSL over the 15-year plan is $374 per year, $30 per month or $1 per day, which is very affordable."
Sullivan is no stranger to the process. Back in 2000, the San Francisco Giants opened a new privately financed stadium (originally Pacific Bell Park and now referred to as AT&T Park) after four decades at Candlestick Park. Prior to the first pitch at Pac Bell, about 15,000 Charter Seat Licenses (CSLs) were sold to Giants fans and the funds raised from those CSLs helped build the first privately financed MLB stadium in 40 years.
"It's very similar to the San Francisco situation in that traditions are not being broken. There are opportunities in the new state-of-the-art stadium to enhance them," Sullivan said. "While they still can maintain their traditions, they're going to get to know the new amenities as well. It's about helping fans understand that this is a positive thing."
He watched some people in Frisco say no to the seats only to regret it later on. Then when they wanted to know what the buzz was all about and they wanted in, it was just too late.
The Jets don't want any regrets. That's why the brochures have hit the mail, that's why the New Jets Stadium Website is available, and that's why Sullivan was brought to town. Information is key.
"Once you paint the accurate picture, once the fans get that we're not building just another stadium next door — they're salivating. They want the stadium to open this year," Sullivan said. "They want to get out there and see the scoreboards and have the more comfortable seats and have the easier ingress, egress, the better concessions, more room and the activation zones in the footprint of the stadium. They want it now."
After one more season at the Meadowlands, the Jets will move into their new home in 2010. Season ticket holders have their chance now to secure their seats in the brand-new building. If they have any questions, they can call Sully — although he may reach them first.
"We're here to serve the clients and this is something new. We are open early, we are open late and we are open weekends because we want to serve them when it's convenient for the client," he said. "Call us on your way to work, call us on the way home, and call us on the weekend when you bring your family and your friends together."