Now I Know Why I Can't Stand the Washington Redskins

Now I Know Why I Can't Stand the Washington Redskins

Summary: About 15 minutes ago I saw this story in the online version of the Sporting News: "Redskins suing fans who can't keep their season's tickets."I now know why I can't stand the Redskins and their ownership.

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TOPICS: CXO
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About 15 minutes ago I saw this story in the online version of the Sporting News: "Redskins suing fans who can't keep their season's tickets."

I now know why I can't stand the Redskins and their ownership.

The story is clear enough: The Redskins are suing 125 seasons ticket holders who they say wouldn't work out financial arrangements with them to pay their multi-year seasons ticket contracts.  The Washington Post, publishers of the original story, had interviewed 20 of the season ticket holders most of who claimed that they had lost a job or had some sort of financial hardship.   The Redskins claimed they attempted to work something out but the ticket holders said in response that the payments were too hefty for them to afford anymore.

Okay, its bad enough that the Redskins, who are wildly popular in D.C., would probably have not all that much trouble reselling the seats, though admittedly that's a presumption, but it was the following comment that just reminded me why I am no fan of this club.

"The Post reviewed lawsuits in which the Daniel M. Snyder-controlled entity WFI Stadium Inc. sued 125 Redskin ticket holders for a total of $3.6 million. The team won judgments totaling $2 million from 34 season ticket holders, most of whom did not hire an attorney and defaulted by not making an appearance in court.

(Redskins attorny David) Donovan said other teams sue their fans. "I don't know of any pro football team that doesn't," he said.

The Post, being intrepid, went and asked other teams if they sue their fans since they clearly weren't going to take the word of David Donovan.  They found that the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans, don't.  So much for Donovan's blanket statement. The Patriots said they sued and the Chicago Bears said "yes, rarely."  The rest of teams either declined to comment or didn't respond. So of the 11 responses, 9 said they didn't sue. Hardly an overwhelming statement of support for Attorney Donovan's "they all do" comment.

Does that mean that others do?  I imagine so.   But apparently Redskins management don't talk to the 9 teams that understand that hardship actually is hardship and their fans can undergo it. Reality is that even in hard economic times, there are enough people out there spending oodles of money to cover the lost ticket contracts.

From the standpoint of the customer, what should a team say when these situations arise?

We love our fans but are perfectly willing to destroy their lives because they are unable to pay for something we are likely to resell?

OR do you think that they should do what the Giants (disclaimer: I love the Giants) and others did and simply reclaim and resell?

The question is how the fan experience is impacted by a team that you love and root for enough to purchase a multi-year very expensive package so that you can attend games  - a discretionary expenditure to say the least.  But if you lose your job, should the team be compassionate and let you slide and just repossess the tickets or should they sue because you've signed a contract?

Technically, they can sue and likely win judgments. But from my standpoint, they aren't going to have a problem selling the multi-year seasons tickets to another Redskins fan.  So suing  and winning and then reselling they get twice the (ill-gotten in part) revenue.

Way to go Redskins. That's why, even though I live in D.C. I will NEVER root for you.  You don't understand your own incredibly devoted fans.  Which, given present management, is no surprise.

This is a true FAIL for customer relationship management.

Topic: CXO

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23 comments
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  • U.S. businesses seem to abuse their customers more

    This may seem unrelated, but reading this post made several parallels pop up in my mind. The RedSkins are suing fans who were obviously previously supporting them financially but ran into hardships. The RIAA sues grandmothers who spent a LIFETIME buying recordings for ONE song playing in the background on a video of their grandchild dancing which they uploaded to YouTube. After a lifetime of most of us paying AT&T for services of one sort or another, they are literally holding back services like data tethering from iPhone customers (who are already paying for unlimited data) until they can figure out a way to price gouge us for those services.

    Are U.S. companies just too evil and greedy to be in business anymore? Are we, as consumers, to blame for letting it happen? What can we really do about it?
    BillDem
    • What can you do?

      You can take your money and support companies who do it the right way.

      To switch this story back over to football, there are a few reasons the Packers are my favorite team, one of which is an old tight end of theirs, Mark Chmura (one of my favorite players, at the time). Chewy was accused of having inappropriate relations with a 17 year old girl at his house, and later acquitted. The Packers severed all ties with him. Period. They said that even the appearance of impropriety was enough, and that he showed poor judgment by allowing himself to be put into that situation. Contrast that with someone like Nate Newton, who got caught repeatedly with trash bags full of pot in his trunk, he played for the Cowboys until his contract ended.

      I support the Packers because they don't put up with any prima donna behavior, and I would be proud if either of my kids looked up to any Packers player past, present, or future as another example (in addition to our friends and family members) of a good role model.
      rshores
      • Acquitted but Guilty?

        Not knowing the exact circumstances of Chmura's case, the 'appearance of impropriety' doesn't make him guilty of anything. As for you being so proud of any Packer, perhaps you ought to do a search on outings of some recent Packers:

        Cory Rodgers - Gun charges
        Nick Barnett - Arrested for battery
        Johnny Ray Jolly Jr. - Possession 200 gms. codeine

        These boys will probably get a fine and get right back to football. These are the people you would want for your kids good role models?
        pmcm
        • I think you missed my point...

          Yes, there will be cases on every team where the players have problems with staying on the right side of the law (I'm not trying to minimize any of those offenses, just couldn't figure out the right way to say it - I'm sure there are others as well).

          I'm assuming from the formatting and the use of the proper names in your listing that there's a page somewhere listing offenses for the whole NFL, would you mind passing that link along?

          I would be willing to bet that the Packers list is among the shortest in the NFL, and would like to check out your source.
          rshores
          • Your point wasn't made at all...

            If your point was to support companies who 'do it the right way', I agree. But you should have stopped there. If you want us to swallow that the Packers are somehow better because their players list of 'screwups' is shorter than others doesn't necessarily reflect the position of management. It MAY, but in any circumstance there are very few players on any team I would want for my kids role model, let alone a blanket statement on every past, present, or future Packer player. My list was just a simple search from Google...I stopped with the first 3 results to get those 3 'offenders'.
            pmcm
    • Contractual Obligations...

      In the US, the idea of a contract - an unbreakable bond between two or more parties - used to be held as sacred. It's what some historians believe allowed the U.S. to grow so quickly. People knew if you had a contract, you were secure in knowing that the other party would comply with the terms or you could get a court to enforce the agreement.

      In recent history, the courts have made a mockery of contract law. Prenuptial contracts are shredded or altered by the courts regularly. Generic contracts are voided on emotional grounds. This is to say nothing about people?s contract with credit card providers? whole nothing topic?

      If the fans signed a contract to pay X for tickets for Y years, and they were dumb enough to do so without an exit clause - then they screwed themselves and deserve to have a court ENFORCE the contract. You don't like the terms, don't sign the dotted line. If you agree to the terms, you'd better be sure you can stick to terms or you should EXPECT a court to enforce those terms. People who sign contracts in the HOPES of being able to fulfill them are either outright stupid or just criminal minded. It?s one thing to have an almost unforeseeable event ? car accident, flood, locusts, etc? but losing ones job is NOT that far out of the ordinary. Employment is not a right ? people get fired.

      What kind of country are we living in when people can make agreements, sign their name (something that used to be important) and then just walk away and expect no one to care? If you weren't SURE you could meet your end of the deal, you shouldn't have signed it. If the REDSKINS blew their money on hookers and coke, and couldn't afford a team - you better believe the ticket holders would sue! ?I paid good money to see a football game; they owe me a game and emotional harm and spousal neglect compensation!?

      The owner has an obligation to field the best team he/she can in the best conditioned stadium for the purpose of a sporting event. You agree to pay XYZ to see said spectacle in person. It?s not the teams job to fill that seat ? it?s YOUR job if you bought the rights to those seats. If you lost your job - sell the tickets and use the funds to pay your obligation (remember, you signed a contract and you?re [b]obliged[/b] to meet the terms). If you can?t meet your debt obligations, do the right thing and declare bankruptcy and protect yourself in the courts.

      Just walking away from a contractual debt is wrong. If everyone decided it was ok?
      Fark
      • Some contract

        The idea of a contact being sacrosanct should only apply to
        contacts where both parties have some opportunity to negotiate.
        In this case the NFL franchise takes advantage of the high
        demand for their product to load the contact up with clauses that
        the consumer doesn't understand, or will ignore to get the tickets.

        Just try to get the Redskins or any other team to change a single
        line of the contract. They'll tell you to take a hike. What can you
        do - try another team? Not in most markets. The teams ownership
        are a legal cartel and get away with doing things that would see
        businesses in other fields in court. That's the price you pay for
        being fans.
        baltoman
  • RE: Washington Redskins Tickets

    And this on top of the fact that ticket brokers got tickets before fans who have been on the waiting-for-tickets list for years.

    Yes, a contract is a contract and football is a business, but suing season ticket holders, when there are others waiting for tickets, is bad for a business' image.
    RayG314
    • Not the Redskins job...

      The ticket owners holds the sole responsibility to get a paying butt in those seats. The ticket holder can sell the seats, no?
      Fark
  • RE: Now I Know Why I Can't Stand the Washington Redskins

    This is SOOOO Dan Snyder...
    Charliemac
  • Violation of Contract

    Really quite a simple solution to the problem.

    Yes, the ticket holders were in a contract with the Redskins to pay for multi-season tickets on a recurring basis. They made a promise, they are expected to uphold their word of honor.

    The big question is, did they receive a discount for the multi-season purchasing? If so, and they default, they should be held liable for the full price of all tickets previously used while forfeiting the remainder back to the team's company for resale, in addition to paying all processing costs if the team had to go after them to collect (no additional processing fees should be levied if the ticketholder was pro-active in coming to the team to negotiate in good faith termination of the contract.)

    In cases where the ticketholders have filed for bankruptcy, remaining tickets should be immediately surrendered back to the Redskins and they should call it a done deal. You can't get blood from a stone, and it's neither ethical, nor moral to harrass someone who has nothing left to give. NOTE: The IRS is another organization that also has a problem with this concept.
    Dr_Zinj
  • RE: Now I Know Why I Can't Stand the Washington Redskins

    In relation to what? Government agencies? As far as I know, it's usually customers who sue...
    d3d4E4
  • One thing that I would ask....

    Is the Redskin's policy on ticket reselling. Obviously it's allowed:

    http://www.stubhub.com/search/doSearch?searchStr=redskins&&rows=50&start=0&nS=0&category=6162;Washington%20Redskins%20Tickets&searchMode=event

    As there was a contract breach, the Redskins organization is fully entitled to their money. They have a budget to adhere to as well. But, what goes bad in my mind is that the Redskins organization did not help their fans into a win-win situation where the contract was upheld and the fans didn't get the shaft.

    The Redskins should have made the effort to direct these season ticket holders to StubHub or some ticket exchange location. If the ticket holders refused to make the effort on their part to sell the tickets, then a lawsuit would be warranted.
    snaconst
  • Green Bay Packers

    The Green Bay Packers have a waiting list (depending on your source) of between 35 and 100 years.
    Too Old For IT
  • Maybe get all the facts?????

    1) The tickets in question were for club seats and sky boxes. They are expensive. The team/club is out a lot of money. Do the math.
    2) The ticket holders either agreed to different terms and then defaulted on that agreement, or did not negotiate and just walked away. Try that with your mortgage company or your landlord.
    3) The club seats still have vacancies (maybe they are over-priced, but that is a different issue)so no, the redskins were not able to sell the tickets that the buyers defaulted on.
    4) Skyboxes are typically leased by large companies. Why should the redskins take last place in line?
    Sorry, I'm not real sympathetic if someone decides to stick it to the team because they would rather keep the Porsche or the K street address. Sell the Porche, pay for the tickets. Cry me a river.
    I don't like the redskins because as a team, they stink. Besides, they need a new name. Substitute another color and you see what I mean. It's offensive. Worse than the bullets. As a business, they are more charitable, provide more inspiration and support to the community than many others, and besides, they never promised me a superbowl.
    Just another case of really bad reporting, in my opinion. Newspapers, now that's something I could hate.
    jonniva
    • You've missed the point.

      You are entirely missing the point. No one is
      denying the Redskins right to enforce their
      contract. But according to the Washington
      Post's article the people who were sued were
      "mortgage brokers, real estate developers,
      government workers, plumbers, construction
      contractors, lobbyists, lawyers and several car
      salesmen." Doesn't sound like a large company
      to me. Or a particularly rich person. Just a
      devoted fan. Even the Washington Capitols said
      that there is no reason to sue fans, just
      repossess the tickets and resell them. Nine of
      the 11 teams who responded to inquiries when
      Donovan made his blanket statement said they
      DON'T sue fans. In other words, they understand
      the value of their fan base and that hard
      economic times can put people out of work.
      Whether you boo hoo them or not. These are
      people who don't own Porsches and probably
      don't even sell them. These kinds of judgments
      force them into bankruptcy. Your "facts" are
      your suppositions not facts. The real point
      here has nothing to do with anything that
      you've said. It has to do with how you treat
      your customers when there are harsh economic
      conditions. Customers should be treated as
      partners not turnips to squeeze blood from. The
      Redskins, not surprisingly to me, miss that
      somewhere in their thinking. Unlike nine of the
      eleven teams who think better of their fans.
      pgreenbe
      • Who is taking advantage here?

        From the list of people sued that you presented "mortgage brokers, real estate developers, government workers, plumbers, construction contractors, lobbyists, lawyers and several car salesmen". Other than the Plumbers (maybe, depending on the size of the business) I can see all those other people using the tickets, specially being box tickets, to advance their business.

        rarsa
        • So?

          So? The point is how the Redskins are treating
          their fans. Both absolutely and relative to
          most of the rest of the NFL. Notice that 9
          teams said they don't sue their fans. You can
          resell the tickets. Sometimes things happen in
          life that create hardships and if you want to
          retain customers what you do is partner with
          them. No one is saying that the people who
          bought the tickets should simply renege on
          their contracts. But the Redskins should have
          the savvy of even the Washington Caps who
          simply take the tickets back and resell them.
          That is not the culture of the Redskins or
          their management clearly. AND Donovan to make
          his specious argument claimed that all the
          teams sue. That was blatantly untrue
          apparently. Which also at least indicates the
          lack of strength of the argument.
          pgreenbe
          • Agree Paul

            What I don?t understand is why you would want to create bad blood with your fans, the people who are your life blood, who pay 8 dollars for a beer and 5 for a hotdog and who will pass your brand loyalty down from generation to generation. You don't see this type of loyalty in the retail market, and you have to be careful how you treat this type of customer.

            And when a team like the Redskins goes out and signs a guy (a guy who kicked a helmetless player in the face with his cleats) for $100+ Million and then turns around and sues their fans, it really makes me scratch my head, but so do a lot of things Snyder does...

            The classy New York Giants will teach them a thing or two this weekend.
            bchurch17
  • Master Joe Says...

    Not to state the obvious, but shouldn't the Redskins focus more on the laws broken by their PLAYERS, and less on what their fans have a legitimate reason for doing? Now, I hate to disagree with the end point here because a contract, after all, is a contract. If you signa contract, you are, by law, obligated to fulfill taht contract. Now, in the case where it is something like a sporting event, where the company can ABSOLUTELY recover the loss, with what will liekly be a gain, since they could sell the tickets individually for mroe money than what they probably charge those who sign these contracts less than if you were someone buying an individual ticket to an individual game. While I think that it could certainly set a prescedent for other contracts, if the judge were to rule in favor of the fans being sued, especially when they chose not to even show up, I think that it shows very cold hearts on the part of the team managers and owners to allow this to happen. Given the circumstances surrounding all of this, as far as the economy and unemployment rates go, I suppose I somewhat understand. However, it is also likely that for the ticket holders to be able to afford thes eprices, they had some pretty high-end jobs, rather than those of us who know what it's like to have to live off of a budget. In that case, my sympathy for the fans lessens. However, it doesn't change that this is certainly a rather tragic situation, and speaks very poorly of the Redskins' management. All in all, they were within their legal rights to sue. So, legally, they did nothing wrong. However, just on a conscience level, it is certainly a low blow.

    --Master Joe
    SteelCityPC