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.