For 20 years, when Bill Carden lived on Staten Island, the Jets season ticket holder went to Giants Stadium four hours before games to tailgate with 20 of his buddies. A self-described “Jets nut,” he held two seats with a view of the 25-yard line, 12 rows from the lip of the upper bowl.
It wasn’t his retirement and move to Newton, Pa., two years ago that ended his loyal attendance — it was the costly personal seat licenses, or PSLs, that reach $30,000 a seat at the $1.7 billion New Meadowlands Stadium.
“My thing was, they wouldn’t give me anything comparable to what I had,” said Carden, 54. Last year, the former sanitation worker turned down the Jets’ offer of less desirable nosebleed seats at the corner of the end zone at the new stadium, which hosts the Jets and Giants in its first preseason game on Monday. “I don’t think it’s right. I think they kind of screwed the fans.”
The Jets told Carden he was being bumped from his longtime spot in the upper bowl (where the Jets, unlike the Giants, do not require PSLs) by holders of more expensive tickets who were moving upstairs to avoid PSL payments.
While both teams have sold almost all of their PSLs, fan resistance to fee-based renewal continues in New Jersey federal court.
“We argue that there was an implied contract that you’d be permitted to renew as long as you paid on time and complied with the codes of conduct,” said Andrew Friedman, the lead attorney for a 15-month-old, anti-PSL lawsuit now facing its second challenge from lawyers for the Jets, Giants and their development corporations. “There’s a question for a jury to decide.”
In November, U.S. District Court Judge Peter G. Sheridan whittled down the original suit, brought by longtime Jets and Giants ticket holder Harold Oshinksy, to all but one of Oshinsky’s claims: that season ticket holders already had an unwritten contract to keep their seat locations from year to year.
Oshinsky died in January at 84, but his estate pressed on along with new plaintiffs who are hoping for a class-action trial on behalf of current and former season ticket holders. With a ruling expected by year’s end, the defendants don’t think it will get that far.
“We have confidence in our motion and our defense, but beyond that, we do not comment on pending litigation,” the Giants said in a statement Thursday. The Jets declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Carden said the loss of his seats hasn’t hurt his view of the team — mostly.
“The ownership, yeah, but not the team,” he said.