NEW YORK, NY – On Tuesday May 1st, a deadline came and went unnoticed, by everyone but me. This was the drop-dead date for me to renew my New York Football Giants season tickets. They were actually my Dad’s tickets, though I had taken them over years ago. I was ready to bail last year, but my brother jumped in at the 11th-hour and decided to pay for them “for old time’s sake.” But, you know what? F**k old time’s sake.
My Dad was a big sports fan, and secured his Giants tickets upon coming to New York from Minnesota way back when Big Blue still called Yankee Stadium home. He followed them through some lean years, well before I was ever on the scene, from the Bronx to the Yale Bowl to one season at Shea (1975 when Yanks, Mets, Giants and Jets all called Flushing home), and eventually out to East Rutherford, NJ. It didn’t matter that many of those Giants teams were awful, Dad was a guy who would always stick around until the game’s final play.
Eventually, my brother and I were old enough to attend games with my Dad without him having to worry about a couple of kids whining to go home in the second quarter. Dad only went to one or two games a year and sold off the rest of his tickets (which were in high demand back then) always for face value. Many of the games we attended were centered around seeing great running backs from opposing teams. So I got to see fading legends like OJ Simpson, prime performers like Walter Payton, and mercurial wonders like Barry Sanders do their thing live. The Giants finally won their first Super Bowl when I was away at college and another soon after I graduated, and Dad was thrilled.
But, with winning came ticket hikes and paying full price for preseason games, which up to that point had been a cheaper-priced, optional purchase for season ticket holders. Dad was not big on paying more for anything, and since I was the person finding buyers for most of his tickets, he handed his plan off to me. My Dad passed away in 1993, after a rough battle with cancer. He didn’t live to see either of the Eli/Coughlin SB wins, but the good news is he never had to experience the advent of “personal seat licenses” and the building of one of the crappiest sports venues ever, Met Life Stadium.
Over the past decade or so, justifying laying out over $2,000 annually on football tickets has become an expenditure that’s virtually impossible to defend. I can get on a soapbox about how the game has changed and the NFL is evil and all that, but the bottom line is, I still like football. But paying for season tickets in any of the sports has become a losing proposition. Last year my brother took a bath on games no one wanted to see, played by a team that was going nowhere. I’d much rather be the guy taking advantage of cheaper prices in a depressed market than the one scrambling to sell New Year’s Eve Giants/Redskins tickets for a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese.
Sports is changing, the way people watch sports is changing, and a half-century of family football tickets is finally coming to an end. It was a fun ride, until it wasn’t. Time to move on. I know Dad would have.
Come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, who wouldn’t trade his gig here for a lifetime pass to the Polo Grounds.