Jets to reward good fan behavior

Updated: July 22, 2014, 6:53 PM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPN.com

When the visiting team commits a false-start penalty or burns a timeout before the two-minute warning, ostensibly because of crowd noise, the fans attending New York Jets home games will receive "rewards" points that could lead to a seat in the owner's suite or a ticket on the team plane for future games.

The perk is part of an incentive program for season-ticket holders, announced Tuesday by the Jets.

Jets
Courtesy New York Jets The Jets' new paperless tickets for season-ticket holders are tied to the team's new rewards program.

The Jets are eliminating paper tickets -- each ticket holder will receive a wallet-sized smart card -- while rewarding fans for attending games, showing up on time and being loud.

They can accumulate points, much like a frequent-flyer program, and the points can be redeemed for fixed-value items or fan experiences such as participating in the pregame "J-E-T-S!" chant on the field. Those that rack up a lot of points can bid for a seat in Woody Johnson's box or Super Bowl tickets.

The Jets hatched the program to make the game-day experience more enjoyable for fans and to reward fan loyalty, according to Seth Rabinowitz, the Jets' vice president of marketing and fan engagement.

And, of course, they won't mind if it enhances their home-field advantage. Under Rex Ryan, the Jets have been only an average home team, compiling a 24-16 record since 2009 -- tied for 14th in the NFL. That includes a 6-2 mark last season.

"First and foremost, we wanted to honor the work the fans already do," Rabinowitz said. "We also wanted to give an additional amount of truth to the fact that, uniquely in football, being at the game really does influence the outcome, more so than any other sport, I think."

Once a fan has attended seven of the 10 home games, counting the preseason, the reward points increase. The same holds true for the longest-tenured ticket holders. Those in the more expensive seats receive more bonus points than the others, which may not sit well with some fans.

Late-arriving crowds have been an issue in recent years. Under the rewards program, fans receive 500 points if they're scanned in at least 15 minutes before kickoff. They also can earn points for a "fan assist" -- whenever the visiting team commits a false start, calls an unplanned timeout or allows a sack. If Muhammad Wilkerson sacks the quarterback ... cha-ching -- a 100-point bonus.

Points aren't deducted for bad behavior.

"If they take it to heart, and if they feel like cheering even louder, great," Rabinowitz said. "That would be a tremendous help for us."

The Jets aren't the first NFL team to go paperless and utilize an incentive program. The Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are doing it as well, according to Rabinowitz.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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