The Washington Redskins' first 1999 preseason game at Redskins Stadium (formerly Jack Kent Cooke Stadium) is less than a week away, and the team's new ownership, headed by Daniel M. Snyder, still has a number of general admission season tickets available. But Snyder is confident they all will be sold by next Friday's home opener against the Buffalo Bills, sources said.
The seats are priced at $550 each, which includes eight regular season home games and two preseason home games, and have historically been offered to season ticket holders first. Most are what is left over after thousands of fans on the waiting list declined to purchase them.
The team, which moved from 53,000-seat RFK Stadium after the 1996 season, has sold out all of its regular season home games since the mid-1960s. The NFL does not count premium seating, available since the team moved to its Landover facility, in recognizing sellouts.
With the season fast approaching, the Redskins do not have time to contact everyone on their 40,000-plus waiting list. So instead, the team is trying to sell the scattered seats at the last minute to season ticket holders.
"We're doing our best to try and accommodate our fans in every possible way," Snyder said recently. "That includes servicing their ticket needs, improving access to and from the stadium, making the day at the stadium more enjoyable and winning more football games."
Sources close to Snyder said his late start -- he did not officially take ownership until July -- cut into the ticket-selling season.
Starting in June, the Redskins upgraded about 1,000 season ticket holders to better seats, which had been vacated by fans who did not renew their ticket plans, according to a Redskins source. The Redskins then sold approximately 2,600 tickets to people on the waiting list, the source said. Most of the 2,600 seats came from non-renewed season tickets, including 400 singles. The rest came from seats that Snyder reallocated from "house seats" that the Cooke family, the former owners, kept in reserve for special guests.
Meanwhile, Snyder and company have reduced the number of unsold club seats from the 2,400 they inherited from the Cooke administration to less than 1,000, sources said. The Redskins hope to sell the remaining club seats by the end of the month.
The Redskins have 15,084 club seats, the highest in all of U.S. professional sports. They also sell 199 luxury suites, seating 3,514. At the end of last season, Redskins Stadium seated approximately 80,116, including 60,013 general seats, 1,505 loge seats and 15,084 club seats and the luxury suites.
Staff writer George Solomon contributed to this report.