Correction to This Article
The article on Washington Redskins tickets contained an incorrect Web address for a ticket reseller's site; the correct address is www.ascticket.com. The article also misspelled the last name of Ticket Network chief executive Don Vaccaro.
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Washington Redskins Sold Brokers Tickets Despite Wait List

Nov. 3, 2008 FedEx Field For the Steelers game last season, the Redskins sold at least 443 tickets directly to a ticket broker, contributing to a sea of Pittsburgh fans. The Redskins sold 5,000 tickets to the same broker over the past two seasons, but team officials said the amount sold to the broker was insignificant.
Nov. 3, 2008 FedEx Field For the Steelers game last season, the Redskins sold at least 443 tickets directly to a ticket broker, contributing to a sea of Pittsburgh fans. The Redskins sold 5,000 tickets to the same broker over the past two seasons, but team officials said the amount sold to the broker was insignificant. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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"Teams and leagues don't want those tickets discounted in the primary market," Vaccaro said. "On the secondary market, it's okay. It is aftermarket. Very standard."

This year, teams are struggling and offering more tickets to the secondary market, he said.

"I see major sports teams, the major leagues, are going to look to get tickets out, put butts in seats, without lowering the prices that their season ticket holders are paying," Vaccaro said.

Fabled Waiting List

One of the things that gives the Redskins prestige is the team's waiting list, which goes back decades.

The general admission waiting list, which famously included Snyder before he bought the team a decade ago, is considered one of the Redskins' most valuable assets. It is held up by the team as a symbol of unwavering demand for Redskins tickets. The team has the highest season ticket-renewal rate in the NFL.

Bloggers, fans in online chat rooms and others have often expressed doubt that the list is as long as advertised, especially in recent years, as the team has gone through tough seasons and played only one postseason home game since winning the Super Bowl in 1992. In recent months, numerous people have contacted The Post and said they have been repeatedly solicited to buy Redskins season tickets, even though they did not sign up to be on the waiting list.

"Redskins are sold out -- in theory," said ASC's Greenberg. "This year, they sent letters to everybody on the lower level to add more tickets to their account. The Redskins have done a great job of keeping that aura that they're sold out."

Redskins officials defended the list but acknowledged that some people's names could be on it more than once. They invited a reporter to look at it. Located in a locked storage room, the list is a computer printout that occupies 16 binders kept in banker's boxes.

In the business of pro football, tickets are a major source of revenue, and different tickets benefit teams in different ways. The tickets that generate the most profit are for the premium seats -- both because they cost the most and because the teams don't have to share as much of the revenue with the NFL.

There is no wait for most premium tickets. At many games over the years, empty gold club seats were noticeable between the burgundy-colored lower bowl and upper deck. Swanson said about 5 to 7 percent of club seats remain available for sale this year.

Many teams rely on premium ticket sales and multiyear contracts to help line up financing for both stadium construction and the daily operations of a sports franchise. Snyder took on a hefty debt when he purchased the team for $800 million. FedEx Field was built for $210 million in private money.

In addition, teams that finance their own stadiums, such as the Redskins, usually are granted substantial relief from the league revenue-sharing agreement on premium seats. In general, revenue sharing requires teams to give the league one-third of the price of each ticket. In the case of the Redskins, that amount is capped at $33, even on premium seats that cost up to $500.


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