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The "most striking thing about the Giants' regular-season debut" at the $1.7B New Meadowlands Stadium yesterday against the Panthers was the "number of unsold empty seats," according to Gary Myers of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Two sections of clubs seats "in the mezzanine level opposite the Giants bench ... were nearly completely empty," and "anybody at the stadium Sunday saw the block of gray seats that stood out like a sore PSL." One mezzanine section "right at the 50-yard line -- $12,500 PSL, $500 game ticket -- and one section at around the 5-yard line -- $7,500 PSL, $400 game ticket -- had just a handful of fans in them." There also was an "entire row in a section in the corner of the end zone on the mezzanine level that was empty." The Giants "announced the paid attendance at 77,245," which means "about 5,200 tickets were unsold." Giants President & CEO John Mara: "Certainly we would like to see the building sold. But you know what? This time next year it will be" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/13). The Giants indicated that the "roughly 5,200 unsold tickets were a combination of unsold PSLs, unsold luxury suites and unsold recently installed 'in-fill' seats that were held back initially so the stadium could comply" with the Americans with Disabilities Act (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/13). In N.Y., George Vecsey reports "most of the dismal neutral gray seats were quickly covered by fans in blue jerseys, but there were large empty gaps in the sections just below the luxury boxes" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/13).
MOSTLY POSITIVE REVIEWS: In Newark, McGlone & Augenstein report there was "some grumbling among displaced fans about their new seats," but the "mood in the crowd of 77,245 was mostly upbeat, despite the rain." The stadium received "mostly positive reviews" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/13). On Long Island, Neil Best writes, "It did seem as if the acoustics in the new stadium made it noisier than the old one, and it also seemed as if the people in it were relatively more youthful and energetic." There was some "first-day confusion as fans learned new traffic patterns and found new parking lots, but overall, the operation seemed smooth, and eventually the mood turned festive even as a misty rain fell" (NEWSDAY, 9/13). Mara said it is "just gonna be a more comfortable building to watch a game." Mara: "The video boards, the wider concourses, many, many more restrooms, many, many more food selections." When asked about PSLs, Mara said, "It was a necessary program in order to get this stadium built. I know it was very controversial, and I've heard from many of our fans about it, but at the end of the day, it helped us get a great stadium built, a stadium that's gonna be our home for many years to come" (N.Y. POST, 9/12).
HITCHING A RIDE: New Jersey Transit spokesperson Dan Stessel noted that 6,000-8,000 football fans "took the train" to Giants and Jets games at Giants Stadium last season, and that ridership is "expected to rise this season because the stadium is larger and parking is more expensive." Round-trip tickets "between Penn Station and the stadium cost $10.50," though the train is "available only for regular-season games on Sundays that start at 1 p.m." Last season, "roughly 3,000 riders rode to the stadium from Connecticut, with more fans going to Giants games than Jets games" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/13).