July 23 (Bloomberg) -- The New York Jets are moving to paperless tickets and a rewards program for season-ticket holders that gives points for everything from attendance to crowd noise and offers prizes such as Super Bowl seats.
Under the new plan, season-ticket holders will receive bonus points for attending games and offseason events, as well as watching Jets games on television. Larger bonuses are awarded for consistent attendance, as well as tenure.
The team is also offering points if fans impact play on the field. If an opposing team has a false start, gives up a sack or is forced to call a timeout prior to the two-minute warning because of fan noise, all rewards-program enrollees in the stadium will receive bonus points.
“We always want the program to be behavior-based,” Jets Senior Vice President for Marketing and Fan Engagement Seth Rabinowitz said yesterday in a telephone interview. “That was our guiding principle during the design and construction of the program.”
The changes were inspired by feedback from season-ticket holders and were focused on making the gameday experience more convenient and recognizing fan loyalty, Rabinowitz said.
“This allows those two ideas to be merged together,” he said. “It was very much a proactive gesture to improve service and relationships, it was not a defensive-type measure.”
The Jets, who haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1969 with Joe Namath at quarterback, have missed the National Football League playoffs the past three seasons. The team’s home attendance was 76,957 last year, according to ESPN, its lowest since moving into $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, prior to the 2010 season.
While New York isn’t the first NFL team to offer paperless tickets or a rewards program, Rabinowitz said the Jets’ new structure is unique because it’s “almost entirely based on your behavior as a fan, not your spending as a fan.”
“Most rewards programs are based on points for every dollar,” he said. “Ours is the opposite. The principal way to earn points is behavior, most notably attendance at games.”
The season-ticket rewards program will be free to enter. Rabinowitz declined to comment on how much the changes would cost the team to implement, calling it a “sizable investment.”
As part of the changes, paper season tickets will be replaced with “rewards cards,” which correlate to a specific seat and allow for faster entry to the stadium on game day. Tickets can be forwarded for free via e-mail to another person and can be re-sold on the secondary market.
Connor Gregoire, an analyst for ticket-aggregator SeatGeek, said the changes will not affect season ticket holders looking to sell their tickets online, or those looking to buy. He said there are already about 10,000 tickets available on secondary market sites for most Jets home games.
“That e-mailable ticket can be listed anywhere and makes order fulfillment a cinch for re-sellers,” Gregoire said. “It’s when teams restrict the transfer of season tickets to credit cards and mobile devices that it becomes tricky -- or impossible -- to list on the major secondary markets.”
The Super Bowl tickets and the opportunity to travel with the team for an away game will be available on an auction site, where rewards points function as currency. There will also be a rewards store, with prizes such as autographed photos provided at a set value.
While the price for each item varies, all will be achievable in one season, Rabinowitz said. Points expire at the end of the season, so every season-ticket holder starts fresh the following year.
Rabinowitz said the team’s long-term plan is to expand the program to possibly include events such as attendance at next year’s training camp, the team’s annual draft party and events from corporate partners.
Jets training camp opens tomorrow with the team’s first practice. The first preseason game is Aug. 7, and the Jets open the regular season at home against the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 7.
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