Archive for February, 2009

Wonder

February 28, 2009

Rey Maualuga has a shot at falling all the way to the Giants in the draft.

Curry the real deal.

Re Cushing .. ALL the USC linebackers (Cushing, Maualuga, Matthews) are good!

Stay away from Laurinaitis.

This year’s draft is not nearly as strong as last year’s.

Jacobs was a good signing.

Giants made a big mistake in not signing Ward. (Shout out to Bob, I’ll give you Round 1! Round 3 is when #44 gets the ball.)

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Boley signing with Giants… CANTY?!!!

February 28, 2009

Earlier today we asked Wonder about the three players the Giants were looking at:

Boley: ok if price is right …3M/year
Bernard: NO, NO, NO
Canty: YES, YES, YES !!! BIG TIME PLAYER…6yrs. 36M about right with $12M signing bonus prorated…anything less is STEALING….6yrs. $42M acceptable…he’s a rare “inside-outside” DL..

Boley is about to be signed for 25M/5yrs, richer than Wonder thinks is appropriate. But considering how tight Jerry Reese is, this does not sound so outlandish. Bart Scott signed for 8M/per. Boley is no Scott, but Boley is certainly better than the clowns we have right now who are masquerading as OLBers. THIS IS GOOD, BROWN THE 2M EXTRA PER YEAR, I am glad we have him on our team, he certainly addresses a huge need and will get the job done a helluva lot better than anyone on the team right now. He’ll be 27 by the time the season starts, done. Show him his locker.

Now as for Canty, this guy is worth getting excited about. Next to DeMarcus Ware, I have always felt this guy made an impact for Dallas on defense. Funny, two of his three sacks this past season were against us, I guess I know why I like him. Wonder says that Canty is the best player left in free agency. I would so much rather spend $$ here on Canty than on TJH, because DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS. Last year we lost Strahan and Osi, this year if we could get Canty and Osi that would be a pendulum swing the other way, THE RIGHT WAY. Canty is visiting the Giants tomorrow- you know what that means… he is signing a contract with us or he is leaving permanently to visit and sign with someone else. This makes the Giants very live for getting him.

Free Agency about to begin

February 27, 2009

and nary a peep from the Ultimatenyg blog. Sometimes it is what we don’t say that is just as important as what we say. Hit the snooze button when the Free Agency alarm goes off. Reese is so calculated that it is almost boring. He wanted Jacobs done, so he tagged him and then negotiated his deal without worry for the deadline. He wanted Dockery so he put a #2 draft tag on him for compensation. He was ambivalent about the market price for Ward (who still has a small chance of landing back in NY if his age scares enough people away) and Butler, so he let those two go to free agency. We’ll stick with our bias called inertia. Inertia says a body that is at rest stays at rest. So a Reese that has been inactive with high-priced free agents the last two years will remain inactive with high-priced free agents this year as well. One site points to the Giants being hot for TJ Houshmandzadeh. I do not believe it. It means that Reese sees a dire need for WR and feels that he is worth the $10M reach. We have not seen Reese pay $2M, let alone $10M in free agency. So unless Reese can get a (more modest) deal for a player he likes in a position he needs, he is not opening up the wallet. $10 browning million? I like TJH, but not that much, and Reese is more conservative than all of us put together. For $10M, I want Andre Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald. TJ Houshmandzadeh… nice player, too rich a price. Wonder: “TJHoushmandzadeh is a 30 uear old version of Steve Smith, so they won’t do that.” Thank you! Wonder just articulated my point, that TJH is not stretching the field for you the way a Fitzgerald or Johnson can. NOT HAPPENING!

By the way, I asked the Wonder what high-priced free agent would be good for the gmen… his answer: BART SCOTT!! “The Giants need Bart Scott so bad, it is ridiculous. I am afraid to admit it, because I want Bart Scott for the Jets, but the Giants would score if they could get him.” AMEN. STOP THINKING WIDE RECIEVER AND START THINKING LINEBACKER! Back to planet earth, as much as I would love to beef up LBer, do not count on Reese going after him because thus far he has been tight with the dollars.

PSL, Part 4

February 26, 2009

Part 1 discussed the email from the NY Giants, where we pieced together the fact that the “club” seats + Field 3 were no gift to Giants fans.

Part 2 discussed the Pat Hanlon response and the predictable flush of this offering through the waitlist as fast as possible so that they can market the PSLs to the corporates (read: fools who will pay $700/ticket instead of $160/ticket).

Part 3 highlighted the $300M Lehman bond financing fiasco, and the possibility/likelihood of this burden being passed onto PSL owners through higher ticket prices.

Yesterday I spoke with someone who made a commitment to purchase PSLs last August. He was given a brochure which had the following information:

Question-
“What if I am not satisfied with the location I am assigned?”

Answer-
“If you are not satisfied with your assigned PSL zone and/or seat location, your PSL money will be refunded and your seats will be offered to another Giants fan.”

Given
(1) many seasons tickets holders like the person above made commitments before the economy started going into the tank
(2) ticket locations will not be disclosed to PSL buyers until ~Q1 2010

Conclusion
>>More than a few will use this opening to back out of their commitment.

Why so negative? Take a look at slide 64 and slide 65 of the linked presentation. This was done last September when the stock market (S&P 500 index) was ~1200. Today it is 765. If we go to 307, that is like Dow ~ 2920. Don’t you get it? The Empire State Building was finished in the GREAT DEPRESSION and it took until after WWII to fill it. The New Giants Stadium will be finished in a depression. They may fill the stadium, but at what price? Of course people attended baseball games during the Great Depression, but they were not buying seat licenses and making commitments to buying packages of seasons tickets. And they didn’t have television to bring in games for free. Connect the dots. This is a luxury item that will be cut out of people’s budgets. MANY people’s budgets. And many corporate budgets as well.

Giants Sign Jacobs to 4 Year Deal

February 26, 2009

Giants and Jacobs get deal done for 4 years. Good work Reese and Jacobs. Details of how much is guaranteed for the injury-prone RB will determine how well it was crafted for both sides, but it is still a positive for both sides.

Yet another hidden surprise of the PSL license

February 25, 2009

Everyone has this wonderful image of Donald Trump, the ‘successful’ entrepreneur. But those who have done business with him may have other things to say about the man. In the 1980’s, he built this incredible luxury coop on Manhattan’s East Side, and all the social climbers had to get into the building. But once they got in they were browned.

You see, when you deal with Mr. Trump, you have to beware of the fine print. As a coop, the owners did not own the land, and once a few short-lived tax perks disappeared it meant the annual maintenance on the apartments ballooned. When that happened, the price of the apartments in the secondary market tanked. People got annihilated. They bought in for $800K and their apartments were soon worth $350K. Nightmare. Being “partners” with Trump comes with risks.

So what does this have to do with owning a personal seat license? Well, once you buy in on this PSL, it is your OBLIGATION to pay the annual ticket prices for the 10 games. IN ESSENCE, YOU ARE LOOKING AT THIS THE WRONG WAY. Right now, everyone is seeing the PSL as this coveted gold key to own, when it is actually a potential LEAD BALL AND CHAIN. Once the Giants have the PSLs all sold, then they can charge anything they want for the annual tickets and the owners of the psl are FORCED to pay whatever they want or else they lose their license. I have not read the fine print, but technically they may be on the hook, and would need to sell it out to someone else. The parallels to the Trump maintenance fees are possible.

But what is the trigger for the Giants raising ticket prices for the PSL owners? After all, ultimatenyg, why would you think that the Giants are going to RAISE ticket prices when the economy is slumping? Well, the answer is fourfold:

1) with revenue down from other sources, the Giants may not have a choice but to tap ticket revenue

2) the CBA expires after 2009, which means labor strife is possible

3) building expenses skyrocketed way over budget for the new stadium due to paying ultra high steel and construction expenses at the top of the market

4) Shout-out to Mitch, who alerts us to something which dates back to September but which is as relevant now as ever: the Lehman Brothers nightmare

If indeed the Giants are left holding the bag on $300M, then they are going to have to ratchet prices up in order to pay for it.

Assumptions:
a) 82,000 seat licenses.
b) Revenue from the NFL and luxury boxes will pay their players and other debt service
c) 5% ticket increases per year paying for general inflation and other annual increases
d) cannot start increases until 2011 because they are stuck in the old stadium in 2009 and have announced the price for 2010 in the new stadium

Using this set of assumptions, they could recoup $300M by 2020, if they put in

9 years of 20% annual ticket increases.

How motivated are you NOW for “owning” this seat license? Of course, if anyone from the Giants administration reviewed these numbers, they would poo-poo the conclusions the same way the government handwaves all of our current issues. But we all know this $300M disaster is going to have to get paid. The only variable revenue stream they have control over is ticket prices. Substantial ticket price increases WILL COME in 2011 and beyond. Plenty of us have been chasing the Giants seat, and like the dog who finally catches the car, what are you going to do when you actually get there?! EVERYONE will be able to buy as many seats as they want in the secondary market. When the sizzle has worn off a few years after the stadium has opened, the emotional element will be removed and you will have made a much better decision than paying for the Club or endzone seats now.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. The “waitlist” that everyone talks about is about to be history, so this is like all those rent-controlled and off-market apartments all of a sudden becoming available. Just a little bit of patience and some financial planning will go a long way to everyone making the best decision for themselves. Maybe before reading the blog the past few weeks or months you thought that the PSL was a one-way ticket to getting a piece of the Giants. If more seat issues have been raised successfully, then this forum has done its job.

The season’s ticket holders who used to be down at the 30 yard line on the first level and who went upstairs for a more modest ticket price and sane PSL fee probably were afforded the best deal. Those 1K terrace and 5K loge seats offer a lot of value and will be firm in the secondary market. They will be in demand unless the ticket price inflation is acute. The other seats look a lot more vulnerable. If you have been sitting downstairs and now have to move upstairs, we’ve got news for you- you are going to be pleasantly surprised. The views from the (current Giants Stadium) third tier are better than anything except the second tier, which is now the Mezzanine Club gouge. The secondary market will flesh out all of these realities and put EVERYONE on equal footing.

Summary: The Giants’ financial problems become YOUR financial problems when you buy that PSL. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Predictable

February 24, 2009

Ralph Vacchiano got some feedback from some fans about the PSL progress. Add a little Hanlon and you have a NY Daily News blog post.

The “final stage” of PSL sales? The final stages of greed. The Giants have to peddle this schtick dreck Mezz A- Mezz B- Coach’s Club garbage ripoff to their waitlist people so that they can finally market it to the corporates who pay the same stupidity for Knicks and Nets front row seats. They sent me an email and I never heard from them AGAIN. I am a waste of their time, obviously! I was on their waitlist for 10 browning years, one of their diehards. But they are smart enough to know one thing- let the waitlist people show their interest but do not use your salesforce on these people because the economy browns and almost none of these people are stupid enough to want these dreck seats. Maybe we can sucker some of the newbie-never-been-theres to bite on the Field 3 cheapo 5K end zone seats. But we need to plow through these waitlist terds so that we can say we gave you your chance and then move on to the Manhattan skyscrapers and NJ Pharmas.

Limited Number.” Were we born YESTERDAY? Maybe the day before yesterday, but not yesterday.

“We had a very good response from our ticket holders,” said Giants VP of communications Pat Hanlon. “We anticipated being able to make a limited number available to the wait list. In fact, the response from the ticket holders was so good, we have less to offer the wait list than we had projected at the start.” What Hanlon won’t tell you is how many of the seat holders had to trade “down” to the cheaper seats, going “up”stairs to the “loge” and the “terrace” seats. Do the math- they are going through the waitlist people like a hot knife through butter and they have 9,300 Club Seats, so that means that there are many thousands of fans displaced up and out of the way to make room for the corporates. Hanlon may be factual about having less seats to offer the waitlist people, but given the complete lack of attention they paid to the waitlist people, they realized quickly they mispriced the club seats for their existing ticket holders. Remember, the club seats are the prime locations, and they have been passed up. Every day we watch the stock market go lower, we know that cash is king and $700 for a single game means $7K PER YEAR PER SEAT, not to mention the $20K love kiss. (Oh, you forgot the fact that as a season’s ticket holder you have to pay the preseason hidden ‘tax’ of buying that useless set of two preseason games?!)

Believe it or not, you cannot “argue” with what the Giants are doing. They are merely extracting as much value as they can from their stadium, a stadium they built and paid for. None of us may like it, but they can charge multiples (150K?!) of what they are charging if someone will be stupid enough to pay for it (see Jerry Jones). Caveat emptor. The rest of us are smart enough to realize that this is how you alienate your loyal customers- the ones who ultimately pay the bills. This is the road that baseball went down. Look where the dilution and the hijacking of the dollar got them. This will take many years, more likely decade/s, but when it is done the path the Giants owners took will be looked back on as a turning point in the decisions they had to make, one after the other, all leading down a rode of abandonment of the unwritten contract between business owner and people like us.. their fans, their paying customers. Steve Tisch heard the boo birds from the fans when he was called out at halftime. 10 years from now he won’t hear ANYTHING from the corporate empty seats and then he will have much larger problems.

Jerry Reese offseason comments, Gibril Wilson bank heist

February 22, 2009

Jerry Reese transcript Q&A at the NFL Combine.

The most interesting item of note was Gibril Wilson getting cut. Al Davis and the Raiders are clearly a derailed train, completely out of control. Do you realize how much Wilson scored from this? Try $9M for one year. Cha-ching. This is the same team that also coughed up $8M with DeAngelo Hall for 8 games. There was a $4.5M roster bonus coming due for Wilson in March, so they cut him. Wilson had 129 tackles for the team, so it was not as if he was doing a bad job there and laying down. As I said in the comments section yesterday, do not expect Reese to spend any serious money for the higher-priced free agents UNTIL you actually see him get involved in that segment of the market. We have not seen him even invite/bid for one of these players yet in his first two years as a GM. Says Garafolo of the Star Ledger: “I wouldn’t expect Wilson back unless he gives the Giants a steep discount.” Agreed.

Volatility is your friend

February 21, 2009

This week when Brad Van Pelt passed away, there were all kinds of stories that surfaced. One of my favorites was naturally an intersection between him and Goerge Young.

As the story goes, it is early 2004, and Van Pelt has had a very good season. He comes into George Young’s office to plead his case for a raise, without his agent. George Young politely agrees with EVERY point that Van Pelt brings up, openly acknowledging and recognizing the 5-time Pro Bowler’s significant contributions. He concedes every point! But then, in typical GBY fashion, he lowers the boom on Van Pelt: “Brad, you’re right. You are one of the top three outside linebackers in the league. But we were 3-12-1 with you last year. I think we could have done that without you.”

Last night, Bob pointed out correctly how good the Giants were with Derrick Ward. Facts are facts and Ward is a 1000 yard runner. So why the heck do you want to lose that?

The answer is simple: VOLATILITY. When you win and are the Super Bowl Champs, you want the status quo. When you are any of the other 31 teams out there that fell short, it does not matter whether you were a game away or 3-12-1, you LOST. But you can only lose once each season, which means you take your chances. The Giants cannot afford to allocate significant resources to Ward, who will be 29 years old come September. Granted, Ward does not have the mileage of other 29 year old RBs. He certainly was a big reason why we beat the Panthers, our only win in the last 5 games of the season. On paper it does not seem to make sense that you could let a 1000 yard runner go. But as a GM this is still not the place where you want to invest your cap dollars. You want it to go where the resources are needed. You commit to Jacobs, which they did. You already have Bradshaw and Ware, cheap and young. You need to leverage what is left elsewhere on the roster. LB, DL, OT.

This is the opportunity to see what #44 has. We may be wrong about him, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Bradshaw deserved that much after what he did in 2007. Let’s not forget what other professionals in this league were saying about him. I still do not understand why he did not get more opportunities in 2008, other than watching the idiocy of Gilbrown, a dead horse I do not choose to beat on anymore. The word is he was hurt for stretches this season. That is part of our collective confusion on the subject, given his presence on kickoffs (another insanity, pls use Hixon for this). So let’s simply see what we have here and end the debate. Maybe it forces Gilbrown to adapt to #44 instead of #44 adapting to Gilbrown. Maybe, just MAYBE, it is the way for Jerry Reese to say to the Giants coaching staff that you have no choice now but to see what we have in #44. Let volatility be your friend. Shake it up. Roll the dice. You can only lose once. Championships last forever.

Pre Free Agency moves, and a little reality check from Phil Mushnick

February 20, 2009

1) Giants tell Butler to check out free agency and keep them posted.

2) The Browns, Texans and Cardinals are rumored to be interested in Derrick Ward, who is asking for $4M/yr when he turns free agent next week.

3) ESPN’s rumor central has decent buzz.

4) You hear it on this New York Giants football blog all the time, but it is so much more than a lesson in the business world: CONFRONT THE BRUTAL FACTS. So how many of you are surprised when we learn that Shockey will be attending the New Orleans Saints’ off-season program? Brees is the boss down there, and Shockey is finally getting the discipline he needed, something the Giants coaches/players were unable to give him.

4a) On a separate note, at the end of the previous link, they mention the Vilma signing possibility wrt the deadline and the Giants draft pick. If you recall, we mentioned this many moons ago that it would NEVER EVER happen because even if Vilma got all the snaps and needed to be re-signed, the Saints would simply post-date the deal and negate the clause. Shady, yes, but it is done all the time, and there is nothing you can do about it. We’re getting the #2.

5) One of the core themes this blog highlights whenever given the opportunity: protect the integrity of the game or else you have no game. So we get a reminder from Phil Mushnick of the NY Post about what that means. He exposes the blatant hypocrisy of baseball in its simplest form. We are supposed to believe that Donald Fehr held the sport of baseball hostage, that the Union would never let Selig and the owners get steroids tested for in any contract. Bullbrown. BULLBROWN. Take the low road. Do you like the view?