Sunday I asked for New York Giants fans who owned Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs) to tell us their stories when it came to whether or not they opted in or out of actually purchasing season tickets for 2020.
Below are some of the responses sent to the Big Blue View mailbox. There are some good stories in here.
I’m 53, and I’ve got 2 PSLs in 336, the remaining two tickets out of 6 our family has had since the opening of the original Giants Stadium. My dad had 4 (we’ve since sold those PSLs), and my grandfather had 2; those went to my Dad, and eventually to me. I’ve been going to games since I was a kid, including playoff games and even the 2011 Super Bowl which was the first time we got tickets via the season ticket lottery.
For years, I’d go with friends or my wife, but as I’ve now got a rather large family (I have 8 kids, high school age on down), I now pretty much exclusively bring one of my kids to a game. I’ve long since given up going to night games and sell those, and depending on the game will sometimes sell or punt on going to 4:25pm games too, and I’m almost always out by mid 4th quarter regardless of the score to avoid traffic. Mostly it’s about one on one item with whichever child goes, and for the most part they enjoy it.
As for this year, given the seriousness of COVID, my wife and I basically decided that we had no plans of going this year. My plan was originally to buy the seasons and either sell or eat them. When the Giants offered an opt out, the decision was simple: opt out.
To me, large social gatherings with many unknown people stuffed on top of each other even outdoors is a recipe for disease spreading disaster. I have zero desire to risk my family with exposure. Our house is average size... but with 10 people it would be impossible to self quarantine; if one of us gets COVID, likelihood is at least some of the rest of us are. I’ve got a couple of friends who have been very sick with this, and a couple of cousins as well. It’s no joke, it’s serious, and even if it doesn’t kill you, it can permanently impact your health for the rest of your life.
What’s happening in other parts of the country is easily validating this decision, we simply need to look at Florida, Texas and other states that opened too early to see that this disease is not going away and we as a society need to continue to be diligent until either a vaccine is found, or social distancing and other methods drastically reduce the spread and efficacy COVID.
To be honest, COVID was just an excuse. The Giants essentially did me a favor for this year. The threat of losing one’s PSL investment basically locks you into buying tickets, whereas without that, I’d probably stop buying and give up my season tickets. So I was thrilled to get a “year off.” The product on the field has been horrific — but more to the point, services like Stubhub have made it super easy to buy tickets to any game you’d want to attend (and these days, generally at a discount to face value). Instead, I’m regularly selling all my tickets for late season games at something like 1/2 of what I paid. Nice little savings this year.
I decided NOT to purchase mine. My rationale:
I do not think it will be safe, due to COVID, to attend games this season. Sitting shoulder to shoulder with nearly 80,000 of my best screaming, yelling, drinking, eating, emotional friends seems a particularly bad idea amidst an uncontrolled pandemic and no vaccine. Enforcing mask wear appears impossible. Much as I love to attend games, I will not risk my health and life on it.
Also, if they limit the number of fans in the seats, sitting them all six feet apart, it would not be much of a fun experience. Sounds like watching a junior varsity scrimmage at the local high school. I’m not paying over $100 per seat for that.
If games do occur and fans are allowed to attend, and if COVID risks go down, I know I’ll be able to buy tickets for specific games on Giants ticket exchange, Stubhub or elsewhere. I may not be able to buy my exact seats, but that doesn’t really matter too much. I might even buy them for less than what I’d pay for my season tickets.
If I bought my season tickets and wanted to sell individual games, I expect supply will be high, demand low, and thus prices will plummet. I’d lose money. I’d rather not assume that risk.
I applaud the Giants for giving PSL holders the option to skip 2020 and come back next year to our same seats. John Mara and Steve Tisch did the “mensch” thing here, and I know many other PSL holders appreciate it, as I do. Looking forward to being back in my seats in 2021. For this season ... if it actually occurs ... I’ll watch on TV from home.
I have been a weekly BBV reader since meeting you at Giants camp in Albany in 2007 and Giants season tickets have been in my family since the 1950s.
When the Giants started moving the payment date back on the 2020 season tickets, I reached out to them and had a conversation with one of the customer service folks about having the option of not buying tickets this season. At the time it was something that he said was on the table however they wanted to let things play out first in hopes of not having to go that route.
With things moving in the wrong direction nationally of late, the option of skipping this season was presented and I took it. For me personally it will be the first time since 1997 that I will not own season tickets.
As I explained in my phone call with the Giants, I just don’t see the experience being enjoyable until COVID is no longer an issue. Socially distanced tailgating seems difficult, entering and exiting the stadium with thousands of people seems nerve racking, and sitting for multiple hours in masks around hundreds of strangers mostly in the cold seems dangerous. Secondly, the idea of bringing family members or friends as guests and being responsible for the getting the virus does not sit well with me. And lastly, if a life long Giants fan is willing to forego watching games in person this season, then the casual fan is even more likely to not go. I feel this will create such a weak secondary market for tickets, that there will be no way to come close to recovering your money for games you decide to not attend. So for all those reasons I didn’t think it was worth it to lose thousands of dollars with so many unknowns still at this time.
My hope is that things improve between now and then and we have a season. And if I feel safe enough and want to go to a game, I can attempt to actually buy my seats on a per game basis and still support the team and organization without the large financial risk.
I am grateful to the Giants for making this possible. I feel the Mara family tries it’s best to do right by their fan base and this is another example of a classy organization allowing their fan base the flexibility to chose.
Thanks for the opportunity to share my story - Go GMen!
Tom and Barbara McElligott:
We have been Giant season ticket holders since 1972. (4 tickets) From Yankee Stadium to Shea to the Yale Bowl to Giant Stadium and now the Meadowlands. Been through all the high and lows. We have gone to 2 Giant Super Bowls including the great upset of the Patriots in Phoenix in the 18-1 game. We had to purchase the
PSL when the Meadowland opened. We have opted out of the 2020 season for a number of reasons including concern for COVID-19.
The complete lack of moral courage by the NFL in giving in to mob mentality by the Commissioner and the silence of the owners is abhorrent. Kaepernick taking a knee is one thing, but not addressing all the others words that he has said and actions he has taken that most Americans find deplorable is unconscionable.
There are millions of Americans, black and white, hurting right now and they are more important than some pampered athletes not getting their way.
Don’t be surprised if the rating tank. Many people that I have talked to say they won’t be watching the NFL if there is a season.
I have been attending games since I started going with my grandparents 50+ years ago, but am sadly passing this year on the 6 games I typically attend (gotten too old for night games).
1. Health concerns, particularly on escalators, in stairways exiting and in bathrooms.
2. Likelihood of another mediocre at best season.
3. Expectation of poor resale market for tickets for games I can’t or choose not to attend.
4. Likelihood of inferior atmosphere at games due to much smaller crowds.
Thought I would share what was an easy decision for me.
Giants (2) tickets have been in my family for decades. My father transferred his PSL to me after he moved to North Carolina. Six years later I moved to California and I am still holding on to them for no fault of my own. The value of the PSL is in the doghouse and for the life of me I cannot find a buyer at anywhere near my $4k per seat cost. Typically each year I am able to break even and sell my tickets (thank God I am not a JETS fan), sometimes make a little extra on the Giants Ticket Exchange, but what a burden. Laying the initial cost on the line is tough for me financially. This year before COVID hit, the Giants already allowed more pay installments to spread it out more, but once they offered I could defer for the season it was an easy YES PLEASE!!! for me.
First, I want to say I think it is a misconception that the giants gave an option to opt out of you PSL due to safety concerns. When I talked with representatives of the organization, they informed me I would need to fill out a form showing financial hardship (obviously cause by the COVID crisis). Since I’ve been blessed to be able to work from home through all of this. I didn’t think I’d necessarily qualify and figured I’d save myself the time on the paperwork.
The second factor to my decision, is both the Giants and NFL policy is if you have tickets to a game, and that game is cancelled (confirmed in that same conversation), you will either receive a refund or a credit to next year’s ticket payment. At this point, something along this line is what I’m expecting (not that I’m excited about it).
The third factor, is I’m quite frankly at low risk of having a serious reaction to the virus, and will make plans to stay in my house for the fall as much as possible in case I was unintentionally exposed by going to a game.
A more irrational reason that I decided to hold out on keeping my tickets for the year is obvious I think. Hope. I’ve been going to almost every game for 3 years now, and let’s be honest, the team has not put a product to be proud of on the field. I still go to every game because I want to see the team get better, and there’s no feeling like after a touchdown as you high five everyone around you in the stands. From tailgating, to spending a day with a friend, to watching football, the entire experience is incredible. To not even have the chance of that is losing hope that things will get back to normal for me. I know deep down that I will probably not be going to games, but admitting that feels like defeat.
Overall though, I will take football in any form I can get it. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I’ve never found anything that connects so many people. It’s something to talk about during the week at work, at the bar, text your friends who are somehow Eagles fans some completely unwarranted trash talk, or just read and think about what could be. It’s all about hope that something can be normal, and where people at the end of the day, can enjoy something together even if they disagree on everything else.
I’ve been reading your articles on BBV for several years, but I’ve never chimed in until now. My wife and I have been PSL Holders (Section 309) since 2012 (purchased from the on-line market about four months after the NYG won Super Bowl XLVI). While we love going to the games, and more specifically the tailgate parties (we typically tailgate with a group of 50-75 people in J4), we were both wary about attending any games this year. We were contemplating not attending any games even before we were given the option to defer, so once the NYG provided the option to defer, it only took a five minute discussion to decide to forego the games this season.
While neither of us is in a high-risk category (we are in our mid-50s and relatively healthy) we just cannot see going to any large gathering of people for anything. it is apparent that it only takes close contact with one infected person, and in our minds, the risk is far too great.
As much as I love sports in general, it seems that I have found other things to do to occupy my time, and I can say that I don’t really miss sports. Maybe it is because I am older (and possibly more mature), maybe it is because I am busy with work and my house and my wife, maybe it is because it just isn’t as important to me, I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t miss sports at all.
My father once told me (when I was a little kid and idolized baseball players) that if all of the baseball players, football players, actors, actresses etc., fell into a big hole, we as a society would be OK. But if all the policemen, doctors, engineers, etc. fell into a big hole, we would be in big trouble. Those words still resonate with me to this day, and seem to be never more true.