Redskins take initiative on report regarding ticket lawsuits

As the Washington Post plans to follow its report that Redskins employees sold game tickets directly to brokers with another report detailing legal actions the team has taken against corporate suite and club seat holders who defaulted on multi-year contracts, the Redskins have gotten in front of the story, issuing a press release regarding the situation.

The statement issued by the Redskins on Wednesday afternoon explains that the team is speaking out “to provide balance and a more complete picture than the one the Post is attempting to portray.”

Currently on its web site, the Post portrays the case of Alonzo Webb, who signed a six-year contract in 2004 at $5,700 per season for two tickets, and who decided in 2008 that he could no longer afford the tickets.  “He asks for relief because sales people had told him that he could get out of the deal if he could no longer afford it,” the Post reports.  “The team refuses and sues on Oct. 9, 2008.”

In January 2009, a judgment against Webb was entered in the amount of $18,251. 

So much for the doctrine of mitigation of harm.

And we only mention that only half-jokingly.  Surely, the Redskins have a legal obligation to attempt to re-sell the tickets and, even more surely, the customer is entitled to a credit for any money generated via the sale of the tickets to another person.

Other examples presumably will be listed in a Post story regarding the lawsuits, which is scheduled to be published tomorrow.   

The Redskins acknowledge in their statement that twenty to thirty lawsuits have been filed annually, since 2005.  The lawsuits were pursued, the team explains, with the intent of enforcing the long-term contracts of corporate suite and club seat holders who defaulted on their obligations.

The Redskins also point out that legal action never has been taken against the general admission ticket holders, who account for nearly 70,000 of the 91,000 seats at FedEx Field.

Further, the team characterizes that legal action is used as a last resort, and that “[f]or every lawsuit the team has filed, it has worked out payment plans or renegotiated contracts with dozens of other suite and club seat holders.” 

Bottom line?  The Redskins claim that the newspaper’s “focus on a tiny minority of suite and club seat holders who have defaulted on their contracts and against whom the Team has been forced to take legal action is unfair to the Redskins and the enormous effort we make to reach out to and work with fans who find themselves in financial difficulties.”

In our view, the fact that most of the suite and club seat holders didn’t default is irrelevant to whether the Redskins ultimately chose to file lawsuits against those who did.  The reality is that the Redskins have an apparent business practice of filing suit to enforce the contracts, when legal action is deemed necessary.  The fact that the Redskins don’t have to do it very often in relation to the entire ticket base is irrelevant.

And while the Redskins have every right to enforce their legal rights, the broader question is whether it makes sense in an industry that relies upon the support of the local populace to adopt a business practice that entails suing the very people from whom the support for the organization flows.  Some might think it does, some might think it doesn’t. 

The fact that, in the end, only a small percentage of the local populace ever get sued by the Redskins has no bearing, in our view, on whether suing the customers represents a prudent and appropriate strategy in an industry that relies heavily on its relationship with said customers.

Again, reasonable minds will differ on the propriety of such lawsuits.  The fact that, in most cases, lawsuits aren’t filed because the customers honor their obligations doesn’t matter.

10 responses to “Redskins take initiative on report regarding ticket lawsuits

    Wake me up when the geek-legalese speak is over.
    Not that I DON’T understand it–it’s just that I don’t WANT to.
    Because I don’t care.
    Although it is funny to think how the Skins brass FORCES unwilling fans to watch, against their will, via legal coercion.
    I picture a Francis-Dolorhyde-and-the-guy-from -The-Tattler-in-the-movie-Red Dragon-type-of-a scene:
    “Do you see?”
    “Do you SEE?”
    Y-y-yes…yes… *sob*
    “DO YOU SEE?!?!”
    YES!!! YES!!! I DO ! I DO! AAAGGGHHHH!!!
    Snyder & co to Skins fans:
    “You WILL watch and you will LIKE IT!!”
    btw–PFT = “The Tattler” of sports journalism

  2. the bottom line remains: daniels snyder’s sole focus is $$$. not the may he treats his fans, or the product he puts on display.
    he is still the owner who took the out of town scoreboard away to promote gameday rentals of “kangaroo tv”. who goes to a game to rent the sundat ticket? at $40 a pop no less…
    we may not know all of the details, but the article in the post is fasinating- granted jason laconfora has always had an axe to grind. how the redskins used stub hub to resell tickets at higher than face value, and continue to revoke tickets from fans for doing the same- this is a regular practice toward its season ticket holders and inculed in the yearly contract for each.
    the skins are a proud fanbase, and we have suffered through a miserable snyder era. and the loyalty displayed through constant sellouts in such a large venue, and crazy waiting lists should be embarassing to snyder.
    danny has single handedly brought one of the most proud franchises toward the cellar dwellars and laughing stocks of the nfl.

  3. Does Snyder remind anyone else of the dud in their high school who you would make take your lunch tray to the trash…sure he’s a multi- millionaire now…but I’d bet he had it tough in high school.

  4. This is typical of the Mr. Snyder era. The goal is making money. Joe Gibb’s mistake was thinking that the owner was interested in winning.

  5. Articles like this are your saving grace for a lot of the conjecture/crap articles you throw together. But, I know. Supply and demand.
    Even more to the point, how could the Redskins sue general admission ticket holders? They’re making a nonsensical claim in order to save some face. General admission requires payment upfront, to my knowledge, so they can’t violate the terms of that implicit contract by not paying because they have to pay to receive the tickets (unless they pay by check, which I am not sure you can even do and wouldn’t be a smart business practice for the selling general admission tickets).

  6. The people buying the tickets should never sign a contract, but that doesn’t mean the skins should sue them if they default. If you buy a car, and default, are you sued over it? No, they just reposses the car. Maybe Danny-boy is more hard up for $ than we all think. . . . .

  7. Munkihed25…have you ever been in the car business?
    Obviously not…so STFU.
    If you can repossess a car…it’s a done deal. Either the person agrees to pay what they are late on, in its entirety, or they lose the car. If the car can’t be repossessed, if the finance company chooses, they can pursue legal action…cuz you know…some low-lives know they’re late, and hide their cars.
    Florio…Do you spank your monkey EVERY time you can trash the Skins (even when you have to go WAY out of your way to explain some reason why)? Or do you do it every other time. Go give your wife some attention…the Skins don’t want your “covert love”.
    Just by witnessing Florio’s DOUCHE-BAGGERY, I think if he was the owner of a football team, he would trump any douche-baggery he REACHES to claim the Redskins are doing.

  8. What The Redksins won’t tell you is that the Club Level seats used to be the same price as lower level seats until they decided to call them premium.
    Forcing people who cannot pay for the tickets to pay for the remainder of their contract is ridiculous. They can always resell the tickets to scalpers for more money like they have been doing.
    Their waiting list is a sham. I signed up for the waiting list in 2001 and began getting notices I could get general admission tickets in 2008 while a family friend was on the list for 20 years and never heard a word. He had to sign up in person for the list! Snyder does nothing for the fanbase. There is no fan participation event that doesn’t cost money. The stadium is subpar, the parking is atrocious now because they force you into specific spots, tailgating is being squashed except in specific zones or if you buy a particular pass, there is no fan connection anymore. Fans are expected to show up after paying ridiculous amounts of money, spend more money buying concessions and souveniers and never complain about it.
    I am a Redskins fan but because of the ticket fallout, their apparent greediness and lackluster teams over the years I might assume fanship of the Ravens.

  9. I’m with homercles82. I remember when the fans used to be the “12th man” and what fun we used to have at RFK (and they weren’t even winning – week after week we suffered with McPeak). We bought season tickets in 1963, before you had to be on a “waiting list”. We kept these tickets until the 90’s when they built “Jack Kent Cooke Stadium”, which, of course, for money’s sake is now called Fedex Field. I could go on and on but will conclude with – SHAME – SHAME – SHAME! SHAME ON YOU REDSKINS. A new RAVENs fan.

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