The New York Giants, long one of the NFL’s more reliable teams when it comes to ticket sales, this week found itself in the middle of a public relations fumble when it announced its intention to begin selling single-game tickets to all eight home games this season in the new Meadowlands Stadium.
Over the years, the team has sold single-game tickets, but this season the situation is different because the team had required fans purchase personal seat licenses (PSLs) in order to be allowed to then buy tickets. Every seat in the 82,500-capacity stadium had a PSL requirement for Giants games, and those PSLs sold for between $1,000 and $20,000 per seat.
Both the Giants and New York Jets this season have struggled with selling all of their PSLs in the new, $1.6 billion stadium that the two teams will share. The Jets exempted 27,000 seats from needing PSLs, but the team still had to cut prices on the remaining PSLs in order to move them.
This week, the Giants made about 1,400 seats available for each home game, and the team said that in the 2011 regular season, most of those seats will be tied to a PSL, but this coming season that would not be the case. The move set off a flurry of news stories, and angry callers in sports talk radio station WFAN in New York, which led to team co-owner John Mara appearing in various news outlets to defend the move.
According to Mara, the Giants have held back tickets “every year at about this time,” but typically the team releases closer to 3,000 tickets, not 1,400. The tickets are being sold on Ticketmaster.com and will carry face values from $110 to $725 each.
“We never said that we wouldn’t sell single-game tickets. But we didn’t advertise it,” Mara told the New York Times.
The tickets were withheld, Mara said, to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and any season ticket relocation issues from the old stadium to the new one. Once those issues were cleared up, the team made those seats available.
“It is common for teams to break up unsold season tickets and sell them on a single game basis,” Preston Hill, vice president of SeasonTicketRights.com, told TicketNews. “This is common practice for PSL and non-PSL seat locations.”
Hill said that the good news for the PSL owners is that “they will have the right to continue buying their seat locations in the future,” while the single-game buyers will not have that opportunity because these sales are for this season. In addition, the Giants are first selling these tickets to PSL holders; the general public will not get a crack at them until next week.
“From my understanding, it is a minimal amount of remaining seat locations that were not sold,” Hill said, adding the single-game tickets also will allow the team to showcase the new stadium, which will likely help them sell those PSLs next season.