That's the ticket: Giants and NFC West

The New York Giants look good for letting season-ticket holders defer payments until the labor situation is resolved.

This admirable gesture toward fans also qualifies as an exercise in practicality and possibly even a smart marketing strategy.

The Giants, unlike other teams, don't have to worry about selling out their stadium. They've got a long list of personal seat license (PSL) holders who, by definition, already agreed to purchase tickets.

The San Francisco 49ers, by comparison, have no PSL holders or even a true club section at antiquated Candlestick Park.

So, while most teams felt compelled to implement ticket policies before the lockout, the Giants were in no rush. Once the lockout was under way, they were correct to acknowledge it when putting together their ticket policy. But that doesn't necessarily make them holier than the rest of the league.

"The way we are doing things isn't an indictment on how anyone else is doing business," Giants vice president Pat Hanlon said Wednesday. "We have a very unusual set of circumstances here and are just trying to do what is best for the Giants and for our fans, many of whom have been with us for generations."

Giants fans opting to defer the usual May 1 invoice payment still authorize the team to charge their credit cards once the labor situation is resolved. Those fans benefit by holding onto their money longer, and the Giants maintain what was most important to them -- the commitment itself. A deferment could even serve as a promotion of sorts if a team were courting new customers otherwise reluctant to commit during a lockout. Again, the commitment is what matters.

Why aren't other teams extending the same courtesy? Most of their stadium situations are less favorable. And, as noted, most announced their ticket policies some time ago. That's why the Giants aren't gloating about their policy.

The 49ers are allowing season-ticket holders to spread out payments in five installments running deep into the summer. The Seattle Seahawks also have a five-installment plan. The St. Louis Rams have a six-payment plan and, in some cases, won't be collecting money before June.