SBJ/December 26, 2005 - January 1, 2006/Facilities

Jets willing to pay price for a dry game

The New York Jets determined last week they could live without what one outsider estimated to be as much as $70,000 in alcohol sales revenue for tonight’s game against New England at Giants Stadium.

The team enacted a one-game ban on selling beer and spirits after two fans were stabbed in a stadium restroom and a state trooper broke his leg trying to eject another fan accused of throwing a beer bottle during the Jets’ last home night game, Nov. 27 against New Orleans.

The New York Jets could be giving up $70K by
not selling alcohol at at Giants Stadium tonight.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority owns and operates Giants Stadium, but the Jets ultimately made the decision to institute the temporary ban, said Kathleen Keenan, a media relations representative for Aramark, the facility’s concessionaire.

The Jets plan to resume selling alcohol for their home finale, Sunday against Buffalo, an early afternoon game, said Ron Colangelo, a team spokesman.

The New York Giants, should they make the playoffs and host a postseason game at Giants Stadium, expect the beer taps to be flowing, said John Mara, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“It’s something we’ll talk about, but I’d like to think that the crowd for a playoff game would behave a little differently than one for the [next-to-last] regular-season game, especially after Christmas,” Mara said.

Mara applauded the Jets for taking a stand during what became a disappointing and frustrating season for the team and its fans. “I wish I had made that decision when we had games in similar circumstances,” Mara said.

Bill Caruso, a Denver-based food service consultant, said, “It’s a bold move, but a move for the good, that’s for sure.”

“The New York fan is an unusual fan, and there’s a whole bunch of things that can go on in that situation,” said Caruso, who is working in the area for Cablevision on the $350 million Madison Square Garden renovation.

Caruso crunched the numbers and came up with the $70,000 figure based on the team’s share of gross revenue — which he estimated to be as much as 40 percent of alcohol sales — from Aramark serving 25,000 beers averaging $7 apiece among a non-sellout crowd of 60,000 at Giants Stadium. Seating capacity is 80,242, second-largest in the NFL behind FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

The Saints-Jets game produced paid attendance of 77,152, but the actual attendance was 45,162, Colangelo said. Officials familiar with the team and the stadium said privately that season-ticket holders sold their tickets to people that don’t ordinarily attend Jets games.

“It’s a tough crowd,” Caruso said. “There might be patrons there that you don’t want in the stadium.”

The fact that the Saints-Jets game was scheduled as a Sunday night game on the last day of Thanksgiving weekend provided the perfect storm for alcohol-fueled incidents, said Bill Squires, former Giants Stadium manager and now an instructor for Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management. The organization trains sports facility and concessions officials on how to address the type of problems that have plagued the Meadowlands venue.

Giants Stadium also was in the spotlight last January, after a New Jersey jury levied $105 million in judgments against Aramark after an intoxicated fan attending a Giants game in 1999 was later involved in an accident that paralyzed a 2-year-old girl.

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