'Skins sold seats directly to scalpers

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.

60 responses to “'Skins sold seats directly to scalpers

  1. “All too often, we’ve heard accounts of single-game tickets being sold out the moment that they supposedly became available”
    Sounds like they used the Albert Haynesworth method.

  2. i bought 2 99 dollar cowboys tickets in june for 503 dollars from ticket city. this is scalping. its league wide. im not defending washington. im just stating the facts. every team does it, but unfortunately, if i dint buy them from ticket city, i would never have first section seats. this should be front page news and should be stopped.

  3. In related news the Jaguars state that they have no issues with scalping at all. In fact they can’t even give them away.

  4. “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.”
    Too bad the Wilfs never thought of that, especially after what Tice did. Nevermind. The Vikings can’t sell tickets at face value, let alone with the extra markup. They need to do something for money though.

  5. Sure Snyder was livid. Let me guess what happened. The Post got word of the story with details which included the team supported the activity. They called the Washington front office for comment, the front office freaks, denies that they sanction the delling of tix to scalpers, sacrificial lambs are found and dismissed (with kickass severance packages) and tada Washington is in the clear.

  6. When ticket brokers are already selling huge amounts of tickets on eBay(prior to the existence of a Stubhub) for specific games before they are even close to being mailed out by the team to season ticket holders, it is obvious the scalpers are getting the tickets directly from the team. And Giants tickets were easily bought at several times the face value – the only reason I know is I bought Giants tickets that way for several years from the same sellers. And they had tickets in whatever section you wanted.

  7. The Jaguars have been pulling the same thing.
    I hear they sell batches of tickets to the Dollar General.

  8. The Wall Street Journal did a piece on musicians scalping their own tickets. Apparently a common practice in the industry.
    Not surprising professional teams would do the same.
    Snyder not too credible in his denial, I doubt he’s a naive fellow.

  9. Holy Crap … BREAKING NEWS !!!!
    This goes on with every Team … have you knuckleheads ever had to try and buy tickets when they go on sale ?? The EAGLES do it every single year and the Investigative Reporters for News Teams around here won’t touch it !! We’ve tried !! They are using it for supplemental income ??? Ya think, it got Jeff Lurie on the forbes list this year !!! At the expense of the real fan !
    They even tried to stop tailgating two years ago, they wanted you to arrive no more than 2 hours before the game and come inside hungry and thirsty, they thought they were losing money with tailgating!
    STOP paying these athletes ridiculous salaries to toss a pigskin ! CAP THAT !!!!

  10. Well let us talk about the Tampa Bay Schmucks who have been selling packages for years and acting as the biggest reseller of tickets (their own) for years. This year they issued cards not tickets and are trying once again to be own the secondary market. Can you say restraint of trade? The owners spend no real money on this team and draft crappy.
    As far as selling to scalpers, the Bucs are the scalpers themselves.
    Try that one on Mr Glazer.

  11. Games are better at home anyway. No parking costs. Traffic. Your own clean bathroom without the wait. Laptop in front of you to keep up with the other games. Much more Quiet. Beer and food is cheaper, cleaner and better tasting at home. Red zone channel. Now you find out they are not even giving the regular Joe a chance to see a game without being raped. I see no reason to go to the stadium. I am perfectly content to watch the game from the comfort of my home.

  12. Scalping to brokers before they were made available to the public became much more pronounced when they stopped allowing the tickets to get sold from the ticket office at the stadium ! You know… where you had to camp out and meet other die hard fans to get tickets to the regular season. You know .. where you had to call off work sick and even though you hoped the reporters would put you on the nightly news … you dreaded it because you played hooky from your job ! Ohhh the good times ! Wait… more BREAKING NEWS … “PreSeason game tickets” are no longer affordable for a family event !! They are priced the same as regular season games ! (can everyone tell this is a passionate and sore subject for me?) Let’s Get the SEASON Started !

  13. A lot of teams and venues do this. Its a slap in the face to the fans. Snyder was so pissed, but you don’t hear about anybody getting fired.

  14. Well, after going to a the Steelers-Skins preseason game (my step-father has season tickets) and seeing the absurd parking at the stadium (it was rainy and there were a lot of grass parking lots, lots of people got stuck) and the fact that less than half the stadium was full, I can see why Danny would want to sell to scalpers. I mean, he’s screwing fans over just about every other way, why not this way too?

  15. I’m sure the league has a policy on this, but from an economics standpoint, it is imperative for the league that these tickets be sold for the highest prices the market will bear. If the Redskins selling tickets at face value instead of a higher price people are willing to pay, they’re not only hurting their own bottom line, they’re hurting the other 31 teams, many of whom are laying off employees.
    I’m not saying that what was happening in Washington was helping the league; if this indeed was against policy I suspect that the benefit was enjoyed entirely by the Redskins, if not just a few employees. That is why the league should not turn a blind eye but should actively encourage teams to maximize their revenue.

  16. If you read the actual story, you would know that the Redskins did uncover what happened and the Post is just getting around to the story now. The Skins were not caught by the Post.
    The Skins purged their ticket office staff earlier this year and brought in all new people with a couple of exceptions. As a season ticket holder, I can vouch for having to deal with “new” ticket office staff. No one could figure out why all the TO staff were fired, including the Post. The assumption was that the Redskins were cutting back expenses because of the tight economy or upcoming labor negotiations.

  17. I’ve been to about 30 home games for the Skins in the last 4 years, and if there is one thing that I always LOVE seeing, is people amazed at how many scalpers there are.
    Of course they’re selling directly to scalpers. It’s plain as day.
    Only problem is…EVERY TEAM DOES IT.
    And it’s not just football. It’s done for concerts. Other sports. Anything you can do in an arena…even Cirque De Soleil.
    Promoters and arena owners are not dumb. They know it’s guaranteed sales, and scalpers will go to great lengths to put butts in seats, which means more revenue for the Promoters and Owners in concessions and merchandise.
    But, I guess…as I’ve pointed out before…this site has something against the Skins…and the Skins will be the team that’s outed, even though the entire league does it (like Haynesworth, and contracts being negotiated before free agency…EVERY TEAM DOES IT…get over it).
    And again…like I’ve said before…maybe Snyderrato did the same thing to Florio and crew that they did to Len Fat@ssquerelli, and decided not to give him the scoop…so the PFT guys’ collective vagina hurts.

  18. Venue owners (and, if not the venue owners then their ticket sellers) have been doing this nonstop for 150 years. The only company that had any success stopping the process was P.T. Barnum and the lengths he went to were ridiculously expensive at the time.
    If Snyder was genuinely livid then he’s dumber than I thought. Every NFL ticket office has employees that do this to supplement their income.
    It reminds me of the scene in Casablanca: “I’m shocked, SHOCKED to find gambling in this establishment.”

  19. Mr. Florio.
    Do the right thing….
    Send “Florios_a_tool” A copy of your book.
    “Florios_a_tool” wrote the comment……
    “Redskins? Scalpers? I detect just a hint of racist, profiling glee in your article.”
    NOW that is creative, interesting, and just a brilliant COMMENT.
    It made me laugh, It made me cry, It made me jump up with cheer.
    TWO THUMBS UP For “Floios_A_Tool”

  20. Anyone that spends their hard earned money on the NFL is a dipshit. You are helping ot supplement the incomes of some of the biggest a-holes on the planet.

  21. I was wondering how long it would take for some one accuse the Eagles of doing the sme thing. Fans have been complaining about it for years, especially when they contracted StubHub to be their “Official Resellers” of secondary tickets.
    Everyone does this, and the only surprise is that it actually came out

  22. The amount of money made scalping is not worth the effort risk to the organizations. Its a different story for the salaried employee in the ticket office.
    The pro scalpers have their methods. It used to be pay off the guy running the machine at Ticketron to print out the best tickets before selling anything to the people in line.
    Then it began get envelopes to the guy filling the orders in the mail order lottery.
    Then it became pay a bunch of kids a few bucks to sit in line overnight. Then when they tried to fix that with lotteries it became pay more kids to show up just before the lottery so the scalpers odds of being first were great.
    Now the scalpers have computer programs to swarm the on-line sales, and we know have to type that stupid word on ticketmaster.
    So yes the scalpers are going to pay a ticket office worker a few bucks to sell him tickets via outside channels.
    The scalpers know they will get tickets. Sometimes even through legit channels. But yes, also through channels the general public does not have access.
    The tix they adveretise before an on-sale are typically bait and switch tickets. The ads for Springsteen tickets in NJ during the May onsale had tickets listed at scalper sites for rows and sections that didn’t even exist. But the buyer calls and is told those tickets are gone, but I have these or give me your number and I’ll call you when I have what you want. Its rare they have the tickets in hand before the public on sale.
    I’ve listed NFL tickets on EBay for games I knew I wasn’t going to before my season tickets were in hand.
    But do the math on what the GA Skins tickets face value is, what they sold for, and how many tickets were involved, and ask yourself if its worth it for a billion dollar enterprise?

  23. They probably knew back then that they would be signing Haynesworth to a $100 million deal and thought that would be the only way to fund the money before free agency.

  24. He is a clue it is called business if there is someone willing to pay then they will be sold at a higher price
    While I am surprised that anyone would pay extra to see the red skanks if some ahole goverment worker whos feeding at the taxpay table gets screwed who cares.
    When the goverment does it we call it taxes when its done in business its called scalping

  25. I still don’t understand why they didn’t blitz tom brady more in that 52-7 loss. It was obvious they couldn’t handle the recievers, pressure was what was called for……….
    And by the way, zorn RUN THE BALL, PLEASE, qiut asking campbell to throw to lorenzo alexander

  26. You know what they should do?
    Sell stock in the team, so a pathetic fan base can run around and say I “own” part of the Packers.
    Sell worthless pieces of paper to morons and laugh all the way to the bank!
    My biggest belly laugh with the 1st Favre retirement, was the idiots yelling”I’m a stock holder and I demand Favre be let back”
    Truly, truly 1 of the funniest thing I’ve ever witnessed.

  27. From the late 80s all the way thru 2000, I had nice, but not great, season tickets for the Knicks. Once Cablevision took over MSG and the Knicks started to play well and watching Micheal Jordan was a national pastime, I started getting phone calls at home (an unlisted number BTW) from scalpers. Wonder 1) how it is they knew I was a season ticket holder 2) how they got my unlisted number 3) why were scalpers so aggressive despite the fact that scalping was illegal in NYC at the time. If a ticket is in demand, someone in the ticket office is getting a bribe. All sports, all venues, all the time. I’m no fan of the Skins, but to act like this is something unusual or that Washington operates any differently than any other pro team is just naive.

  28. I’m sure someone else mentioned this, but this is pretty crazy because teams are using the prices on the secondary market as a reason to increase their ticket prices. So now the teams are selling them directly to the brokers instead of the fans? I believe this is total BS because what one person will pay to see one game should not determine what someone pays for the entire season ticket package. Plenty of people might shell out $200 to see their favorite team when they are in town once every four years. This does not mean the tickets should be priced at $200 if you want your fans to be there. Most of the people that pay the big bucks are fans of the opposing teams. So the price they pay, should not result in higher prices for the loyal, hometown fans. Eventually, you are going to price out the fans and the atmosphere at the stadium will be dramatically different.

  29. deymond says:
    …from an economics standpoint, it is imperative for the league that these tickets be sold for the highest prices the market will bear. If the Redskins selling tickets at face value instead of a higher price people are willing to pay, they’re not only hurting their own bottom line, they’re hurting the other 31 teams…
    This is absolute garbage. That kind of mentality is what brought you tickets priced at $2,600 FOR A SINGLE GAME at Yankee Stadium this year. Not only did the Yankees follow this ‘rape and pillage the fans’ economic theory, but more than half of these front row seats sit empty every single game.

  30. “Donovan said that the employees responsible for the sales have been disciplined.”
    “disciplined” = promoted and praised for their brilliant work

  31. Most, if not all teams and not just in the NFL do this…
    I know Kraft does this for ACE Ticket here in NE. They then turn around and resell those tix for about a 200% mark up and claim it’s for handling fees, etc.
    I just choose not to pay more than face value for a ticket and if I don’t get that option, I don’t go. I’ve said this time and time again and I know others have mentioned it as well, the NFL has a great TV product and HDTV has only enhanced this.
    This is another reason why I myself hate the bandwagon fans here in NE as the beginning of every 3rd quarter you see tons of empty seats between the 35 yard lines (as the wine and cheese crowd is getting their Merlot) as the opposing team will drive and there isn’t enough crowd noise, but alas I digress.

  32. Lawsuit on the way…. Washington is responsible for that and they need to reimburse those fans that purchased tickets for more than face value the difference. Even though they did not sell the ticket for higher value, it was their fault it happened.

  33. footballnut says: September 2, 2009 9:24 AM
    ..the NFL has a great TV product and HDTV has only enhanced this…”
    Agreed, it’s become better, unfortunately, it’s also becoming harder to obtain.
    I figure that in my lifetime, every sporting event will only be available on TV as a Pay-Per-View product. We’re halfway there now, with rising ticket prices, local blackouts, games being broadcast only on the NFL Network, etc. Consider, why stop at charging people $300+ a season for
    NFL Sunday Ticket, when you can command say, $45 a pop for each game? Not much difference.
    It’s coming, just as soon as the league’s legal advisers can figure out how to navigate the minefield of antitrust laws.

  34. Gameday experience at Fedex is worst in the league!!! Only the true, drunk and idiotic freakin skins fans go there on a consistent basis. He has to sell them to anybody who will take them. Heck half the people who own the seats give them away to friends because they are sick of the effort and hassle it takes to get to the stadium.
    He needs to tear the monstrosity down and move back to DC.

  35. FYI…got a friend in Boston that does ticket scalping on the side.
    Guess which beloved team of Florio and the NFL does the same exact thing?
    Pretty sure if it was the Patriots getting caught…it wouldn’t be as demonized…especially on PFT.

  36. @ Mangy66:
    You obviously have not been on PFT very long.
    If the Boston Globe ever publishes an article about the Patriots scalping tickets directly, and a high level executive makes a public statement about it, you can bet your bottom dollar that will PFT beat the horse’s dead rotting corpse to a bloody pulp. See camera hunt.
    Until that happens, though, what you mention is all hearsay. With that said, for all the good Kraft has done, I cringe at what he has turned the gameday experience into, from ticket buying to parking to the gestapo-like security force prowling Gillette Stadium.

  37. Snyder was livid, sure…but he was livid that the story got out in the first place. Trust me, one of those “disciplined” parties will spill their beans on this Napoleonic dictator of an owner.

  38. @SteelTown6. I was thinking this as I made my earlier post and almost wanted to take back what I said, but the league knows how great of a TV sport they have anyway.
    You’re right, they will find a way in about 10 years or so to get virtually all of their games in a higher cable package, PPV as you stated, etc.
    I was looking to see how long the network contracts with Fox, NBC and ESPN go for as nothing can be changed until then…maybe Florio can elaborate on this particular subject.

  39. # ☻☼CBS, FOX, ESPN, NFLN nbc says: September 2, 2009 1:46 AM
    The Redskins will win the NFC east.
    Wow, I thought the only crime being reported here was the scalping. Officer, I have a first degree felony assault against logic and reason taking place in this thread.

  40. “…footballnut says: September 2, 2009 12:14 PM
    @SteelTown6. I was thinking this as I made my earlier post and almost wanted to take back what I said, but the league knows how great of a TV sport they have anyway…”
    Exactly. I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe it must really chaff the owner’s butts when they can’t sell all their tickets. but their games are being shown, more or less, for free on TV – at least… for now.

  41. @jamaltimore…you are so right. I went there to watch Philly kick that a$$. The video board looked like they stole someone’s 25″ console TV.
    Traffic was horrendous, parking was worse and then when the Foreskins blew the 4th qtr lead and lost…dumb Foreskin fans wanted to fight. Fortunately, I’m a law abiding citizen and didn’t toss the old lady like Pedro did to Don Zimmer!

  42. Statement from the team:
    From Redskins General Counsel David Donovan: “The bottom line is, tickets got into the hands of brokers in violation of our longstanding policy to make tickets directly available only to our fans. When the Redskins discovered the abuse, broker contracts were terminated. Employees in the ticket office were disciplined and some were fired. We’ve taken steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
    This is good to hear.

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