|Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey|
The New York Jets are doing away with paper tickets for season ticket holders and offering those fans a rewards plan for showing up regularly and behaving properly.On October 23, 1977, the New York Jets hosted the Super Bowl Champions, the Oakland Raiders. In attendance in Section 8 were three fans from UMass-Amherst. They were passionate Raider fans from Ware, MA. It is a mill town and its motto is “the town that can’t be licked”. Fortunately, one of the three did not drink. Steve was the designated driver. Ab and Rick did not fit into that same category.
The high-end rewards include Super Bowl tickets and a trip to a road game on the team plane. That begins with a simpler way to enter MetLife Stadium. Season ticket holders will use wallet-sized smart cards that are loaded for 2014. No more paper that can get torn, wet or chewed up by the dog.
The program also will provide incentives for the season ticket holders to keep coming, with bonus points accumulating throughout the season.
The program is not based on spending money for food or souvenirs, but on showing up, sharing what Rabinowitz calls a "sense of community" and comporting oneself properly at games. There will be bonus points for fans' involvement with the team's local broadcast partners, too.
While they don't reward spending habits, the Jets will provide point bonuses at the beginning of the year for seat locations: 1,000 points for the higher-level; 4,000 points for PSL holders; and 5,000 points for club seat holders.
"We want to get better at tailoring what we give them," Rabinowitz said. "They don't accept one size fits all, nor should they. The message is to come to the games and be a good fan — they don't have to do anything out of the ordinary — and their loyalty is rewarded."
The stadium price for one beer was $3.00. A rack, or a full case, consisted of 24 beers for a total of $72.00. Prior to the opening kickoff, Ab ordered a full rack from the beer tender. He gave the kid a $100.00 bill, and told him to keep the change. Once the rack arrived, Ab passed all the beers around to Jet fans in the section. He started to get friendly with some of them, and ordered another rack.
This went on throughout the close contest, with Ab ordering 7 racks. His friend, Rick ordered 3, and Ab badgered 2 JETS fans to order 2 racks as well. This was all done with the customary $28.00 tip each time for the beer tender. Each time the beer tender returned, it was a standing ovation in Section 8. This was reminiscent of the October 5, 2003 New England Patriots - Tennessee Titans game where Patriots fans cheered wildly at Gillette Stadium for a Tennessee touchdown. In reality, they were cheering for the Boston Red Sox who had taken a 4-3 lead against the Oakland A's in the bottom of the 8th inning of Game 4 of the ALCS on a double by slugger, David Ortiz.
Total cost was $864.00 in beer, $336.00 in tips for a grand total of $1200.00. $1,000.00 in 1977 is worth $3,861.00 in today's market. $336.00 is worth $1,297.00, today. The Raiders beat the Jets 28-27, and there were no incidents in Section 8.
The opening game for the New York Jets is on September 7, 2014 against the Oakland Raiders. Not in the article, but mentioned on the radio today, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson will host one bonus fan in the owner's box suite. With all the points that my friend, Ab racked up in 1977, Woody may be in for quite a surprise when he sees his bill on Monday morning.
Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.
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