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New York Jets launch rewards program to incentivize ‘good’ fan behavior

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Fans arriving late to New York Jets game at MetLife Stadium apparently has become something of a problem. In an effort to combat the issue and to help drum up some positivity and a feel-good sense of community among its rabid fan base, the team has initiated a incentive program that rewards fans for positive behavior in support of Gang Green.

Given the reputation that Jets fans fairly or unfairly have been saddled with, the presumption may be that the good behavior sought by team involves not booing, getting too liquored up or engaging in fistfights with rival fans … or one another, although that could be said about the environment of barely controlled anarchy typical of many NFL stadiums these days.

But that isn’t the case. The team instead wants to inspire the fans to conduct themselves in a manner that benefits the team on the field, such as cheering so loudly when the opposing offense is on the fieldĀ  that a false start results or a timeout has to be burned before the two-minute warning or passionately participating in the pregame “J-E-T-S!” chant.

The rewards program was announced on Tuesday and it coincides with the elimination of paper tickets. Instead, each ticket holder will be given a wallet-sized “smart card,” which will make the tracking of points accumulated by fans possible.

Seth Rabinowitz, the Jets’ vice president of marketing and fan engagement, says the team came up with the concept in an effort to make the game day experience that much more enjoyable, something all NFL teams are trying to accomplish these days as fans seem more keen on staying home and watching games instead of trudging out to the stadium.

Rabinowitz also wants to reward fans who show up game in, game out, win or lose, as sign of gratitude for their loyalty to the team.

“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.”

There are several points totals already in place as part of the rewards program. For instance, to combat the late-arriving crowd issue, fans will receive 500 points if their smart cards are scanned at least 15 minutes before kickoff. Fan also are slated to receive double points once they attend seven of the ten home games scheduled each year, including the preseason.

Plays such as sacks are point accumulators as well, but it merits noting that points are not deducted for bad fan behavior. Seems like the Jets missed the mark on that part.

“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.”

Indeed.

All in all, it’s a pretty clever gimmick, despite its hackneyed nature. But let’s be honest here: If the Jets really want “retired” superfan Fireman Ed to come back that bad, all the team probably had to do was just ask him.

Having Samuel L. Jackson make an appearance on the Jumbotron during each game and have the actor ask, “What’s in your wallet?” wouldn’t hurt, either. Although that phrase is probably trademarked by Capital One. Huh.

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