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Best: Jets say making playoffs boosts 2010 ticket sales

The Jets said that their playoff mini-run "clearly

The Jets said that their playoff mini-run "clearly has had an impact across the board" on PSL and ticket sales. Credit: Getty Images

The Jets had their entire sales force at work over the weekend, ready to peddle PSLs and tickets to an energized fan base.

"We planned to win, just like Rex [Ryan],'' said Matt Higgins, the team's executive vice president of business operations. "We had no doubt.''

No one seems to anymore in Jets Land, where a brash coach has transformed the organization, on the field and off.

>> BLOG: Latest Jets news and analysis

And it has happened at the best possible time for the people phoning prospective customers - eight months and counting before New Meadowlands Stadium opens for regular-season business.

No one is suggesting playoffs trump layoffs in a difficult economic environment, and Higgins admitted "we still have our work to do'' to achieve the goal of selling out before the 2010 opener. But the playoff berth, followed by Saturday's win over the Bengals, has been a godsend.

The Jets already had planned a marketing campaign focused on the benefits of the new stadium. That now has been ramped up, with TV, radio, print and Internet ads in heavy rotation.

Higgins declined to say how many seats are unsold or how many have sold recently. But he said the playoff mini-run "clearly has had an impact across the board.'' The most expensive personal seat licenses (between the 40-yard lines in the Coaches Club) are sold out, and some who had opted for the upper deck are seeking to upgrade.

"We also are seeing those who were on the fence deciding 'the Jets are heading in the right direction, I've been part of this for 20, 30 years and want to be part of this new era,' '' he said.

The Jets and Giants have seats available even after quickly burning through waiting lists decades in the making. The Giants are down to fewer than 1,500. The Jets are believed to have many more than that - even seats in the upper deck that do not require PSLs.

Would it have surprised Higgins two or three years ago to learn the Jets would have this sort of struggle to sell out?

"Lehman Brothers disappearing off the face of the Earth would have surprised me a couple of years ago,'' he said, referring to troubles in the larger economy.

The Jets reduced some prices in October, and Higgins did not rule out "promotions'' to move more tickets. The sales staff aggressively has reached out to potential customers for months, though, so how many still are out there at this late date?

"We're all excited, all thrilled, but I can't see a casual fan excited about the playoff run saying, 'Oh, good, I'm going to buy more tickets now,' '' said Arnie Shak of Kings Park, a season ticket-holder since 1966.

"I think everybody knows by now tickets are available.''

Shak bought two $5,000 PSLs, but he said he knows other longtime ticket-holders who will not make the move. But as the Yankees learned late this past season, complaints about high prices and images of empty seats tend to dissipate amid postseason success.

"Fans need to see the team is moving in the right direction,'' Higgins said, "and nothing demonstrated that louder and clearer than going to the playoffs with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback.''

Sound bites

Saturday's game averaged 45 percent of homes in Cincinnati, more than double the 20.8 in New York. Overall, ratings for wild-card weekend were the best in a decade . . . SNY's Jets postgame show peaked at 172,982 viewers, the best in the show's history.

>> PHOTOS: Jets playoff history  | Jets 24, Bengals 14

>> BLOG: Latest Jets news and analysis

>> STATS: JetsChargersThe matchup

>> FUN: Why the Jets should fear themselves | Best of Rex Ryan

>> MORE Jets playoff coverage | 2009 season recap

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