When the Jets announced they were auctioning off the best seats in their new stadium, they launched a marketing blitz featuring Donald Trump. The perks that came with the seats, worthy of sultans or Trumps, were the focus of their pitch and it was hoped that they would gross obscene sums of money for the team's coffers.
It didn't quite work out that way. The team ended the auctions Monday after selling just 620 of the 2,028 seats in the Coaches Club and said they grossed some $16 million on the seats that were auctioned. The average price per seat was $26,000, just $1,000 more than the fixed price for seats across the stadium which don't have any of the incentives of the Coaches Club. Jets owner Woody Johnson told the New York Times he still felt the auctions were successful and, more than that, democratic.
“We didn’t set the prices. The public determined them,” Johnson said.
Not so fast, Woody. The team drastically cut back the number of daily auctions when it became clear that they weren't selling at desired levels, they extended closing times for some auctions and made sure only the cream of the crop was on the auction block. The only reason to do those things is to keep that average auction price high enough to justify charging people a little bit less for a lot less value. It's not price fixing but it's not the open market Johnson claims either.
It will be interesting to see how the Jets move forward when they announce fixed prices for the remaining stock. Given the public nature of these auctions, you'll be asking people to potentially pay more for worse locations than other people. There's some fairness in that, the auction was available to everyone and smart bidders prevailed, but I'm not sure how well that will fly as a sales strategy. The Jets may be forced into dropping prices elsewhere to justify what they're charging for the Coaches Club, so, in a way, the public has helped determine the PSL prices for the new stadium.