Post Goes After Skins Over Fan Ticket Lawsuits

Post takes on Redskins ticket practices

By Matthew Stabley
|  Thursday, Sep 3, 2009  |  Updated 9:17 PM EDT
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Redskins fans in happier times.

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Redskins Defend Suits Against Delinquent Season Ticket Holders

Called into question about suing season ticket holders who can't or won't keep paying, the Washington Redskins note those instances are few and far between and only pursued if they can't first work something out with those ticket holders.

Redskins Ticket Practices Under Scrutiny

Some Washington Redskins employees wrongfully sold tickets to brokers.
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The Washington Post's report about Washington Redskins front office employees wrongfully selling tickets to brokers was just the beginning. The paper also is reporting that the Redskins aggressively sue season ticket holders who don’t pay or who try to get out of their contracts.

The Post reported that 125 season-ticket holders who asked to be released from multiyear contracts were sued by the Redskins in the past five years for a total of $3.6 million.  The team won $2 million from 34 season ticket holders in court, and most of them didn't hire an attorney and didn't show in court, according to the Post.

The team started defending against Thursday's Post report the day before by admitting that it has sued season ticket holders, but emphasized that those suits represent less than half a percent of corporate suites and club seats at FedEx Field.

Redskins General Counsel David Donovan told the Post that other teams sue their fans.

"I don't know of any pro football team that doesn't," was his quote in the article.  The next line of the story?

But spokesmen for the following National Football League teams said they do not sue their fans over season ticket contracts: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants and Jets, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans.

The Redskins said that since 2005, the team filed 20 to 30 lawsuits a year to enforce contracts for suites and club seats, of which there are more than 25,000. Those lawsuits involved failure to pay, bounced checks and disputed credit charges, according to the team.

Plus, the suits involve big-ticket tickets, the Redskins said.

"Most instances in which the team has taken legal action involve long-term contracts with $40,000 to more than $1 million in outstanding, unpaid obligations," read a statement the team released Wednesday.

"The Redskins, like other NFL teams and many other businesses (including, presumably, the Washington Post) relies on long-term contracts to plan and run its business," the team added.

The team emphasized that it hasn't gone after any general admission ticket holders and that it has tried to work with delinquents before filing suit.

"I wish we never had to sue anybody," Donovan told the Post. "Why would you ever want to do that? But this is a business. And we rely on these contracts for our planning, and we do what we can when somebody gets into a situation where they can't afford to pay."

Read the entire Post article, which includes many personal stories from former season-ticket holders, by clicking here.

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