More words about this week’s hottest Redskins story — Partay Decks!!!! — in the form of a mildly snarky Q&A.
Are independent and team-owned media outlets handling this story the same?
Sort of, I guess. The Post’s story on the decks talked about “the seatless expanse of gray concrete” that patrons will see this season. The Redskins.com story, on the other hand, began like this: “FedExField is getting another major upgrade.”
Both stories, on the other hand, were written in English.
What was Larry Michael’s take?
It was helpfully transcribed by Matt Terl, via Redskins Nation:
Much as we saw last year -- how the fans really enjoyed those party decks above the huge 100-foot HD video boards, the same theory taking place in the upper level in the end zones. It’ll change the look of the stadium; the fans can have standing room seats there. And again, formal announcement coming soon from the Redskins, on that -- and MORE improvements to the stadium.
So thousands of fans are being moved into thousands of apparently empty seats in a stadium that has been sold out for 358 consecutive games. The capacity of the stadium is being lowered for now by about 6,000, for a stadium that is impossible to get into. What happened to those 6,000 people? Did they all die? Decide not to renew? Move to Kansas?
Dunno, but it did have me flashback to the spring of 2008, when Dan Snyder did a Q&A with the Washington Times, the interview in which he said “our waiting list is over 200,000.”
Because, it turns out, in that interview Snyder was also asked about FedEx Field.
“We’re real pleased with FedEx Field,” he said. “And the fans like it. We’ve done a lot of surveys. We’ve done so many improvements. We’ve worked really hard on the experience. I talk to other owners and they tell me, ‘Your stadium is awesome.’ ”
Yeah, that’s definitely what fans were telling me in 2008.
(By the way, the official permit for the project says the Redskins can take out up to 10,000 seats — 5,000 in each end zone.)
Anyhow, what about the waiting list?
The official party line is that the team decided not to sell to fans on the waiting list this offseason, out of basic fairness.
“Due to the ongoing NFL lockout, the team decided not to sell seats to fans on the Season Ticket Waiting List,” Redskins.com reported. “Fans on the Waiting List will stay in the same spot on the list until after the 2011 season, when sales are expected to resume.”
“The concern was that fans that had been on the waiting list for 16 seasons were suddenly up, but were being asked to pay for a season that might not happen,” one person told Mike Jones. “The feeling was that it would be unfair.”
What would be a cynical response to that feeling?
The Redskins, like most NFL teams, required thousands and thousands of season-ticket holders to pay in full for their 2011 tickets, with the lockout looming, not knowing whether there would even be a season. The Redskins continue to hold onto that money, millions of dollars of fans’ money. And yet the team would not sell tickets to fans who had been waiting for 16 years for a chance to get in out of a sense of fairness?
What is ESPN 980’s take on things?
Here’s the word, via the station’s Facebook page:
Spoke to a Redskins source for a story...on the party deck saga. Among many things “We thought it was an amenity people would like, for the least desired seats in the club and general admission decks.”
The same Washington Redskins source says “Once we put the platforms back in, capacity will go up. If we do two [decks] we will be adding several thousand back.”
As for the criticism that the removal of general admission seats was because of an inability to sell tickets, The Washington Redskins source says “No -- it’s a different use of the space to hopefully improve the fan experience, WE WILL BE SOLD OUT.”
The Washington Redskins source says about the doubts of a ‘made up’ season ticket list & why they chose this route. “We did not want to go to our season ticket wait list, prior to the lockout, with a choice of having to pay us money, or lose their spot on the wait list. We didn’t think that was fair.”
Well, how much money will this stadium renovation cost taxpayers?
None! Via Redskins.com, “Because FedExField is privately held, all of the expenses associated with the installation of the Party Decks will be borne by the Redskins. No public funding is involved.”