By Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
The Washington Redskins will raise the price of lower-bowl general-admission seats 39 percent next season, and will increase the cost of parking in the 20,000 parking spaces at FedEx Field from $25 to $35, up 40 percent.
Redskins chief operating officer Mitch Gershman said yesterday that this is the team's first general-admission ticket price increase in four years and puts the franchise more in line with the other teams in the area.
"We were looking at the competitive landscape and the overall demand for season tickets for the Redskins and we felt that moving them in line was the smart thing to do," Gershman said. "Our lower-bowl seats are still priced at the same or below what other teams are charging, and we still think we have the most outstanding value for sports entertainment in the region."
The Redskins' announcement comes two weeks after the Washington Wizards notified some customers that the team was increasing nearly 1,000 choice seats in Verizon Center by 59 percent for next season, from between $110 and $114 per seat this year to $175 per seat next year.
The Redskins, which had the fifth-highest average ticket price in the NFL last season, according to team marketing reports, were 10-6 and advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. The Redskins beat the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs, then lost to the Seahawks in Seattle.
The 2006 season-ticket invoices include a significant change from past years. Gershman said invoices for most of the general-admission seats will separate the team's ticket price from the 10 percent Prince George's County sales tax on the ticket. So last year's $79 lower-bowl ticket, which included the tax, has increased to $99 for the ticket plus an additional county tax of about $9.90, making the total $108.90.
Upper-bowl seats that were priced between $40 and $60 have gone up between $5 and $11. With tax included, those seats are priced from around $50 to $70.
"We just decided to start showing taxes outside so people start knowing what they are paying for their tickets," Gershman said. Season ticket holders started receiving their tickets this week.
"It's an extremely ambitious ticket hike," said one season-ticket holder who asked that his name not be used. "They timed the ticket price to go with a time when the team is improving."
"I want to know why," said Randy Dyer, a 10-year season ticket holder who lives in McLean and said he will keep his tickets. "I really don't care what the other local sports teams charge."
Gershman said the team is reducing the price of hundreds of partially obscured seats from around $50 to the $35 range.
Gershman said the Redskins will try to work with fans who want to discuss their seating location and parking options in light of the announced increases. Metro has a stop within walking distance of FedEx Field and is an option for those who don't want to pay $35 to park.