East Rutherford N.J. - Remember the days when you - the fan - would simply buy a ticket, sit in your seat, and watch the game? Maybe you would take a break from the game action, visit the concessions, and enjoy a simple hamburger or hot dog. Never before have Jets fans received a modern touch quite like this that has an interesting combination of elegance, entertainment, and nostalgia. The future has officially arrived.
Coney Island Hot Dogs
You may want to leave the grill at home. While you are at it, leave the cornhole and ladderball tailgate sets in your garage. On gameday in 2016, the organization wants fans to simply pack your green and white gear in your car and head to the stadium with energy and enthusiasm. The Jets have everything for you on the MetLife Stadium plaza concourse including activities for children and adults alike, live music and entertainment, and even a life-sized Joe Namath bobblehead fans can take selfies with (yes, the head actually bobbles).
"When fans come to the stadium, we want to make sure they have an outstanding experience," said Jets President Neil Glat. "We are excited about the start of the season and it's an opportunity to share with the fans."
Wednesday marked the inaugural Jets Gameday Upfront event. The organization provided fans and the media a chance to see what will be offered at MetLife Stadium starting on September 11, when the Jets host the Cincinnati Bengals on opening day; the team plans to honor the victims of 9/11 with a special pregame tribute. Once the game starts, fans will have a wide array of new gameday features and amenities to look forward to.
It all starts with scanning your ticket from either the mobile app or digital card provided to ticket holders. Gone are the days of paper tickets. By doing so, fans have the ability to accumulate points and rewards - similar to an airline. Eventually, the points add up for special opportunities and prizes. The team suggests fans keep their phones active the entire afternoon or evening as there will be plenty of chances to interact with content on the video boards and add more points for the ticket holder's Jets Rewards program.
"Fans expect [the technology]. They expect to have great Wi-Fi access, expect to have features and functionality on the new New York Jets mobile app, and recently added virtual reality experiences," said Mr. Glat.
Aside from the new forms of technology around the stadium - which includes a wild virtual reality experience that allows Jets fans to either run out to the field with the team, take part in the coin toss, be on the field for the national anthem, stand on the sideline, dance with the Jets Flight Crew, or simply be in the crowd for the J-E-T-S chant - enhanced food options are now available that will make fans want to forget about tailgating.
Delicious Hot Links
Being so close to a city known for food, taste, and culture, the Jets organization wanted to establish a culture of their own on their home turf. While management understands fans may want to stick with the traditional hot dog, sausage, or hamburger, they also would love to pay homage to the culture that defines Jets fans - seafood from the Jersey Shore or Long Island Sound, tri-state area influenced custom topped hot dogs and grilled items, and empanadas in traditional or non-traditional flavors. The options are culinary experiences fans will love to get their hands on. For fans with a larger appetite, Jumbo Jet items like the footlong sausage, loaded breakfast bagel or pretzel make their return to the concession stands in 2016.
"The bar is high in New York [and New Jersey], there is great food nearby so when fans come here, we want them to have outstanding food choices," said Mr. Glat.
Aside from a football team on the rise, the New York Jets have many new amenities and features that they promise will enhance the gameday experience for fans of all ages like no other. Mr. Glat expressed his excitement for the new options for the upcoming season as well as themed game days including a Whiteout on October 2, when the Jets host Seattle, and Social Media Night on November 27, when the Patriots come to town.
Joe Barone is a staff writer for JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@28JoeBarone), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).