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September 13, 2010
Giants open new stadium before 5,000 empty seats
The New York Giants home opener at New Meadowlands Stadium yesterday wasn't blacked out, but it wasn't sold out, either:
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 was an entire row in a section in the corner of the end zone on the mezzanine level that was empty.
Directly behind the Giants bench, one section of the Coaches Club - $20,000 PSL, $700 game ticket - looked like it was pretty well sold out, but the sections next to it had some good seats still available. And it's not like the seats were empty because the fans escaped the rain and remained in the cozy club lounges.
The Giants announced the paid attendance at 77,245. That means about 5,200 tickets were unsold: club seat PSLs, suite tickets and seats that were once designated to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act that are now available as regular seats.
Club seats and suites don't apply to the NFL's blackout rules, but the fact that so many remained empty indicates that we're heading toward another New Yankee Stadium situation, where cheap seats sell out but the pricier ones go wanting. I'll leave it to economists smarter than me to explain why this would be a rational pricing strategy, but it sure seems like it's the new trend, in New York sports edifices, anyway.
We'll see how things go tonight for the Jets when they stage their own home opener at the Meadowlands — reportedly they've sold out their non-premium seats, but that's not the same as having all the seats filled.