SBD/July 23, 2014/Franchises

NFL Jets Dropping Paper Tickets, Introducing Smart Card-Based Rewards Program

Season-ticket holders will use smart cards that are loaded for the '14 season
The NFL Jets "are doing away with paper tickets for season ticket holders, while offering those fans a rewards plan for showing up regularly and behaving properly," according to Barry Wilner of the AP. The program "begins with creating a simplified way to get into MetLife Stadium." Season-ticket holders "will enter using wallet-sized smart cards that are loaded" for the '14 season. The program also will "provide incentives for the season ticket holders to keep coming, with bonus points accumulating throughout a season." Once a fan has "been to seven of the 10 home games, the rewards points increase significantly, right through the home season finale." The program "is not based on spending money for food or souvenirs, but on showing up." Jets Senior VP/Marketing & Fan Engagement Seth Rabinowitz calls this the "sense of community" of rooting for the team. The Jets' long-term plan "is to expand the program beyond game day to include other events and tie-ins with sponsors" (AP, 7/22).

POINTS OF THE PROGRAM: In N.Y., Brian Costello reports as part of the new program, season-ticket holders "can earn points every time a visiting opponent is penalized for jumping offsides, gives up a sack or calls a timeout before the final two minutes of each half." The Jets call these "fan assists." The reward points "can be used to redeem everything from autographed memorabilia to the chance to travel with the team to a road game." Rabinowitz: "It was really born from feedback from our fans more than anything else. ... They’ve told us they want us to acknowledge their loyalty, their passion, their support, the number of years they’ve supported the team. That was really the genesis of the idea." When it comes to the fan assists aspect of the program, Rabinowitz said that this "is not because they feel MetLife is too quiet." He added, "We really want to make it true that one of the great reasons to come to a game is you can really influence the outcome. ... Everyone likes to talk now about what’s the reason to still come to the game with HDTV and that kind of stuff. There’s a million reasons, but that’s one of them" (N.Y. POST, 7/23). ESPN N.Y.'s Rich Cimini noted for Jets' games at MetLife Stadium, "late-arriving crowds have been an issue in recent years." Under the rewards program, fans "receive 500 points if they're scanned in at least 15 minutes before kickoff." Points "aren't deducted for bad behavior" (ESPNNY.com, 7/22).
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