Giants fans learn cost of stadium seat licenses
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- More than 80 percent of the New York Giants' current season ticket holders will be charged between $1,000 and $7,500 for the right to buy tickets for the team's new stadium under a personal seat license plan announced by the Giants on Thursday. Licenses for some of the best seats will cost as much as $20,000.
The plan gives the first detailed breakdown of the costs season ticket holders will incur and their options to downgrade.
The Giants announced two weeks ago that they would be imposing seat license fees, which have become a common means of helping sports team owners finance new stadiums.
Giants chief executive John Mara noted that revenue from the one-time fee will raise $371 million toward the cost of the $1.6 billion stadium being built and paid for by the Giants and Jets. It is scheduled to open for the 2010 season.
Mara said half the money raised by PSLs would have to be paid in taxes.
The Jets have not announced whether they will require season ticket holders to buy PSLs, but Mara said he would be shocked if they did not, knowing the debt the Giants have incurred.
"I don't particularly like to come out with a PSL program, but I also know that it is in the best long-term interests of this franchise," Mara said in terming the PSL decision one of the toughest of his life.
Realizing that current longtime season ticket holders who are sitting in some of the best seats cannot afford the top PSL prices, Mara said the team is offering 10 PSL plans, ranging from the top fee of $20,000 to a low of $1,000.
One-third of the 78,448 seats covered under the PSL plan will have $1,000 licenses. All of those seats will be in the upper bowl of the new stadium, which is being built adjacent to the current Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands sports complex.
Other licenses will cost $4,000; $5,000; $7,500; $10,000; $12,000; or $20,000, depending on location.
Mara said he has received some complaints, including a few from fans who insisted that his late father, Wellington, would never have required PSLs.
"And believe me, I feel that," John Mara said. "But my father was not faced with this kind of debt on a new building like this either, and we thought that we had to make this tough decision."
Mara noted that PSLs will allow season ticket holders to pass their tickets from one generation to the next.
Some 1,600 season ticket brochures outlining the PSL plan were mailed this week to people who currently hold 5,000 midfield seats in Giants Stadium.
Mara said the team plans a series of mailings through February 2009 to inform season ticket holders of PSL options. About 21,000 interests control all the Giants seats, Mara said.
Fans will have 30 days after receiving the literature to decide whether to buy the PSL at the level offered, to downgrade or to reject the offer, which would free up the seat.
The team said it has lined up financing for the PSLs for season ticket holders who may need it.
Mara expects the team to be able to accommodate anyone who wants to move their seat.
"We are not interested in getting new blood," Mara said when asked if the PSL concept might result in the loss of present season ticket holders. "We have a very loyal fan base who have been there for a long time, and we want to keep them in the building."
Any season ticket holder who opts not to buy a PSL will be able to keep the tickets for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
The Giants also announced that the average individual 2010 season ticket price of non-Club seats will be $112.
Capacity at the new stadium is expected to be 82,500, which includes approximately 9,300 Club seats. With the inclusion of those Club seats, the average season ticket price is projected to be $157.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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