The New York Jets are hoping to win the Super Bowl this year not just for its oft-rowdy fans, but also for its investors.
The Jets issued $650 million in Baa3-rated project revenue bonds early last year to help finance the cost of its $1.3 billion new home, New Meadowlands Stadium, along with its co-tenant, the New York Giants. The Jets, along with the Giants, issued 20-year tax-free municipal bonds to finance the new stadium at a time when municipal debt in the state of New Jersey was being downgraded at a faster rate than in any other U.S. state.
Last year, Moody's Investors Services cut ratings on nearly $600 million in general obligation bonds issued by 14 municipalities due to dwindling tax revenue and rising unemployment. Additionally, taxpayers in the state are still paying for the bonds issued to pay for the old Giants stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., which is now a parking lot.
Still, with the Jets once again flying high into the AFC championship game against the iconic Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday, the $600,000 in additional revenue it would receive from the league and the $2.7 million it would get for a Super Bowl appearance would be welcome. Additionally, the team would get $4 million in additional revenue for winning the big game, along with expected increased sales of its merchandise.
First thing's first, however, said Lee Stacey, vice president of marketing for the Jets, and that is beating the Steelers.
They're a great team with a lot of history, said Mr. Stacey.
The Jets have never beaten the Steelers in the post-season. In their last playoff meeting in January, 2005, the Jets lost in the Steel City in heartbreaking fashion -- two game-winning field goals during the waning seconds of the game and in overtime were booted by the team's field goal kicker, Doug Brien, in the divisional matchup.
The Steelers have won six Super Bowls in its history -- more than any other NFL franchise -- and are favored to win by three points by Las Vegas oddsmakers on Sunday when the game takes place in Pittsburgh. The last and only time the Jets won the Super Bowl was 1969, when its quarterback, Joe Namath, made his famous guarantee of victory.
The popular cable show, Inside the NFL, which is hosted by former NFL players, also has predicted the Steelers.
The game is expected to be a defensive battle between two physical teams, with the Steelers ranking second in overall defense in 2010, while the Jets finished sixth. The Jets won the Dec. 19 matchup 22-17 in Pittsburgh, with an exciting kick-off return for a touchdown to open the game. Sports analysts note, however, that the Steelers' star short-safety, Troy Polamalu was injured and did not play in that game.
The Jets, however, are coming off an impressive road playoff win against its archrival New England Patriots, a team that no one could seem to beat during the season, in which the Patriots compiled a 14-2 record.
One interesting matchup will be the Jets' second year quarterback sensation, Mark Sanchez, going against the Steelers' veteran QB, Ben Roethlisberger, who already has led his team to two Super Bowl rings.