The New York Jets recently announced an online contest to determine who will lead the J-E-T-S chant throughout the 2014 season. We grabbed a few minutes with VP of Marketing and Fan Engagement Seth Rabinowitz to discuss the idea behind the contest and address any fan concerns. We included a fact sheet about the contest at the bottom of the article:
JC: What was the motivation or where did the idea come from for this contest?
SR: It came from fan feedback and the difficulty of finding somebody to lead the chants on gameday since not everybody has an ability to command the attention of a whole stadium. We wanted to figure out how we could help facilitate that process for fans and bring attention to those people who wanted to lead the chants. We know the chant belongs to the fans so there was initial hesitance but we heard it enough that we thought we could provide a forum or clearing house, where fans could make their case and submit to Jets fans for consideration.
JC: Has the team approached Fireman Ed about returning or is there an opportunity for him to go back to his previous role down the road?
SR: We are in regular contact with Ed but he has moved past his role as the chant leader. The team respects everything he has done and we stayed in touch with him throughout the last few months as we formed this program, as we value his opinion on the topic. Ed is aligned with the idea and happy to pass the torch to a new pool of fans, while remaining in the background.
JC: There has been some negative initial feedback among fans who feel this isn’t an organic way for the chant to take place and think it feels too forced. Do you have a response to that?
SR: The chant belongs to the fans and always will. We have no interest in stopping it from being organic and only wanted to lend our website and structure to the process to help it along. I don’t see how we are putting our thumb on the scale, by inviting all fans to nominate whoever they would like to. Ultimately the fans will choose their favorites and those fans can accept or decline the offer. If the choice is right, we think the fans will follow along. Our role was solely to provide structure to the process and help people get excited about it. In 2014, using the Internet and social media to rally people together is a common, organic process.