In what could be merely the first example of a trend that many NFL fans have suspected for the past few years, the Washington Redskins admit that “thousands” of general admission tickets were sold in 2008 directly to brokers, who then resold the tickets on the “secondary market” (which of course is a fancy business school term for “they scalped them”)
According to the Washington Post, Redskins general counsel David Donovan said that the sales to brokers were discovered earlier this year, as part of an internal audit of the 2008 ticket contracts. Roughly 15 brokering companies were involved.
Donovan said that the employees responsible for the sales have been disciplined.
“Somebody in the ticket office was doing something they shouldn’t have
been doing, and when it was discovered, it was all dealt with,”
Redskins Senior Vice President Karl Swanson told the Post. “If the story is,
this is a scandal, uncovered by Redskins, verified by the Post, or
whatever, yeah, we’re telling you: People got tickets who shouldn’t
have gotten tickets, and they were dealt with.”
Some Redskins ticket office employees also reportedly were selling tickets directly to fans, via StubHub, at higher than face value.
Though it appears that the behavior was not condoned by the team (instead, owner Daniel Snyder reportedly was “livid” when he learned of the activity), the mere fact that it happened will continue to fuel suspicions that other NFL teams are engaged in similar behavior, either deliberately or via rogue employees who are using the secondary market as a way to generate supplemental income.
All too often, we’ve heard accounts of single-game tickets being sold out the moment that they supposedly became available, with seats simultaneously showing up for sale via the franchise’s official “secondary market” partner. Our guess is that more and more investigations into such arrangements are coming, and that not every team will be able to show that the sales occurred without the franchise’s knowledge or involvement.