So things are not pleasant over at the Washington Redskins ticket office these days (Motto: We’ll get to your call when we damn well feel like it). On Wednesday the WASHINGTON POST revealed apparent shenanigans, in which Redskins personnel were selling tickets straight to scalpers, while a 100,000-person waiting list did without. (See photo). And today, this:
If your grandmother can’t pay for her Redskins tickets, Daniel Snyder will sue her and throw her out on the street.
That may be somewhat hyperbolic, but the WASHINGTON POST comes through today with another story of how the Redskins are allegedly screwing their fans.
Although attendance remains steady and television revenue continues to be enormous, NFL teams still survive primarily on positive PR and goodwill; and the Redskins have taken a beating in both departments this week. Pat Hill, a 72-year-old grandmother who has been a Redskins fans since 1962, recently watched her real estate business go into the tank due to the economy, and now can’t afford her home mortgage, let alone her 10-year Redskins ticket contract. So the team sued her to get the money.
Now, Hill says, her beloved Redskins are forcing her into bankruptcy.
Last year, Hill’s real estate sales were hit hard by the housing market crash, and she told the team that she could no longer afford her $5,300-a-year contract for two loge seats behind the end zone. Hill said she asked the Redskins to waive her contract for a year or two.
The sales office declined.
On Oct. 8, the Redskins sued Hill in Prince George’s County Circuit Court for backing out of a 10-year ticket-renewal agreement after the first year. The team sought payment for every season through 2017, plus interest, attorneys’ fees and court costs.
Hill couldn’t afford a lawyer. She did not fight the lawsuit or even respond to it because, she said, she believes that the Bible says that it is morally wrong not to pay your debts. The team won a default judgment of $66,364.
Through it all, she said, she “still loves the Redskins.”
For their part, the Redskins say that they do try to work out deals with fans who have lost their jobs and can’t afford their ticket plans. But it’s done on a case-by-case basis, and not everyone gets a deal.
But one Redskins fan, 62-year-old James Nesbitt, said that he was downright swindled; accusing the Redskins of changing his contract after he signed it.
Nesbitt said that for years, he had general admission seats in the upper deck while waiting to move to the lower bowl, which is closer to the action. In 2006, he said, the team offered him a deal: Sign up for two years of club seats, and we will move you to the lower bowl afterward.
After the first year, he said he received a contract that he was told was a “renewal.” Because the contract came in December 2007, he said, he signed it, thinking that it was for the next season and overlooked that it said 2009.
The term sheet contained three boxes: Six years, eight years and 10 years. He said he did not check any of the boxes.
Nesbitt told The Post that his secretary saved a copy of his original contract, which had been faxed to the Redskins. It is signed, and no box is checked.
The Redskins ultimately offered a compromise: If Nesbitt bought one more year of club seats, he could have lower bowl seats in 2010 if they became available. Nesbitt agreed. He avoided a lawsuit but is unhappy about the whole situation.
“I feel I was cheated and that the Redskins were highly disingenuous,” Nesbitt said.
As NFL stadiums become more and more grandiose, and seat licenses become major financial commitments — your parents probably paid less for their first home than what a high-end seat at Cowboys Stadium goes for — these kinds of stories are going to pop up every day. I can see a team suing a business for reneging on a corporate ticket deal, but suing individual fans? Photos like the one above have to by Snyder’s ultinate nightmare … I mean besides Zorn starting Colt Brennan in the opener.