Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Red Bull Arena Job Fair Attracts a Thousand

As we draw closer to the opening of Red Bull Arena, there is the small matter of game day staff to consider.  Anyone who ever attended a Red Bulls or Metrostars game at Giants Stadium can attest to the fact that soccer was considered a second class sport by many of  the stadium staff - and fans were treated accordingly.  When they weren't being scowled at by ticket takers, they were being manhandled by overly aggressive or downright hostile NJSEA security staff in their notorious yellow jackets.  Add that to the godawful field turf, gridiron lines, lousy transportation and cavernous emptiness of the Meadowlands (not to mention a succession of mostly crappy teams) and you have the recipe for a miserable soccer experience.

During the move to the Arena one of the things that the club has been at pains to emphasize with supporters is that a new leaf will be turned when the doors open in Harrison in March.  Key to that promise is hiring gameday and stadium staff who are dedicated to customer service, understand the peculiarities of soccer fandom and are focused on making the experience as good as it possibly can be.  Recently the club surveyed season ticket holders about concessions, transportation and a number of other matters, the latest in a series of initiatives to ensure that things go smoothly and that fans' expectations are met.

More important than surveys, however, will be the actual people selected to staff the stadium.  Today the club held a job fair that (perhaps unsurprisingly given the state of the economy) attracted about a thousand applicants for 500 or so positions, from turnstile workers to ushers to foodservice workers to janitorial staff.  Fox News Channel's Rick Leventhal was on hand to interview Harrison mayor Raymond McDonough about what the stadium means to the local community and filed a live report, summarized here

With less than 25 days until the soft opening of Red Bull Arena, there won't be a lot of time to train the new hires, but happily the club appears to be focused on getting it right this time.
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