Psst! Need a Ticket? ‘Skins Scalp Seats in Secondary Market


It’s an amazing testament to the NFL’s drawing power that a team like the Redskins still have the following they do.  Since 1997, the ‘Skins have posted just three winning seasons, signed ineffective, aging former superstars to contracts for ungodly amounts of money, sued fans, tried to stop you from walking to the stadium, or at least made you pay for parking even if you didn’t drive, and have supported the nuttiness that is Daniel F. Snyder.

None of which has dissuaded the Redskins faithful.  It is still one of the most profitable sports franchises in the world, potentially racist logo and all, despite the many missteps of the past twelve years. Still they show up, not just paying the overly expensive face value for a ticket, but often paying 2-3 times that through the “secondary” market.  “Oh well” you’re thinking, “If this is what the market demands…”

But maybe it doesn’t.

Unfortunately, it looks like the ticket sales for the ‘Skins aren’t all they are cracked up to be-and it probably cost you a lot of extra dough to boot.  The Post reported today that the people in the Redskins ticket sales office sold lots and lots of tickets to brokers (which, as Deadspin points out, is a fancy way to say “scalper”) directly.  You know, rather than to fans who wanted to go to the game.

So guess what-if you bought a ticket from Stub Hub, or (like I did) Ebay and you paid more than face value for those tickets last year, there is a chance you got hosed.  Not just by the scalper, but by the Redskins as well.  Honestly, of all the anti-consumer, disloyal, unfriendly and just bad things you can do-this takes the cake.  In most states there are laws that prevent the sale of tickets directly to brokers to protect consumers from being over charged for the value of the ticket.  Creating a scarcity of tickets by not making them available directly to fans is abhorrent, and I’m kind of glad I’m not already a fan-because this wold be something that might put me over the edge.  The idea that I could have maybe bought my tickets for a fair price but couldn’t because the team I spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year on was complicit in this act?  Unconscionable!

The official story is that this was the act of rogue employees who have been “dealt with” (whatever the heck that means!) and that Snyder was shocked and outraged-but I remain skeptical.  Especially since the one broker who spoke with the post said he was offered the lower seats only if he bought more expensive ones as well.  It seems very possible that this was just an easier way to sell tickets, and create a demand around a franchise that, frankly, hasn’t been good for a long time.

Between the ‘Skins’ excuse that it was actually only a small portion of the actual tickets sold, and the “Broker’s” opinion that without him it would be really hard to get tickets I am about to lose the coffee I had for lunch.  This isn’t a case of someone buying a bunch of tickets to lift a TV ban so that folks can see the game-this is a case of the company you support actively ripping you off.

And it won’t matter.  Fans won’t see one dime of that money back, and the organization will continue to think of the next way to squeeze a dollar out them for, at best, a mediocre product.  And DC will just keep showing up.  Maybe the Nationals should triple their ticket prices and sell them exclusively on the secondary market-demand might go up.  Hopefully a team that is performing, like the Caps, will engender this kind of blind loyalty when they fall on bad times and under perform.  There is a lot mediocrity in DC sports, but the ‘Skins seem to be the only ones going out of their way to treat their fans like garbage.

2 Comments so far

  1. Bob (unregistered) on September 11th, 2009 @ 7:41 am

    Sadly, the business model you see here has worked in other sports-adicted markets. With their ten year string of Home sellouts, try to buy Sox tickets at face value in Boston!!!!

  2. Boo-skins: Week 2 and Fans getting Fed-up | Washington D.C. Metblogs (pingback) on September 21st, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

    […] them for doing so.   Not only has this team underperformed on the field, but there has been well documented mistreatment of the fan base off the field as well.  Any fan, or non-fan really, has the right to […]

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