City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Dan Snyder’s Sneaky Parking Charge Nets Him Millions?

For the Titanic platform (or maybe not!) of the latest City Paper, I wrote about Dan Snyder's newest parking scheme.

Snyder now adds a parking surcharge to the cost of every ticket sold at non-football events at FedExField. All other venues around town put parking charges, if there are any, in the advertised price of the ticket.

Snyder doesn't. He throws it at the consumer at the point of purchase, as a line item on the invoice that can't be turned down by the buyer. For Paul McCartney, where around 60,000 folks attended and there was a $10 per ticket parking charge, whether they intended to use FedEx parking services or not, that added an additional $600,000 to Snyder's bank account.

For U2's upcoming show at FedEx, the forced charge is $8 per ticket; if that show sells out, the add-on charge will mean more than $700,000 sneaky dollars for Snyder. And this is with zero overhead, unless you count the cost to his reputation, which really can't be harmed around here at this point.

Snyder's the king of parking schemes, as outlined in the story, and a godfather of the sneaky surcharge: He's the guy, remember, who after buying the Redskins took a ticket price that had historically included state and local taxes, and then added a new charge equal to the state and local taxes onto the old ticket price, but left the old price as the face value of Skins tickets — just so he could act like he wasn't really raising the price of tickets!

So where's the outrage?


Betting Football season begins tonight!

(AFTER THE JUMP: Cheap Seats Daily gives you tonight's winner? "Biggest Loser" back in play? Which pregame show are you going to listen to? What's the meanest sport? Is there a Curse of Tom Boswell?)

Albert Haynesworth and Clinton Portis won't play for the Skins. What's left of Mike "Biggest Loser" Williams, who's down more than 100 pounds from his weight of a year ago, will suit up.

On paper it looks like the Ravens defense has more scoring potential than the Skins offense. Other than maybe to root for Williams, the game's not worth watching.

Unless you bet on it! So let's bet!

Skins are 3-point underdogs to Baltimore. The Over/Under is 31 1/2.

Put this month's mortgage and then some on the Ravens and next month's on the under.*


New sportstalker WJFK is having its own pregame broadcast for the preseason opener. To jab the owner of competing sportstalker WTEM, the flagship of the Redskins broadcasting network, 'JFK is calling its program "the Unauthorized Pregame Show."

'TEM's owner is, of course, Dan Snyder.


There's a professional lacrosse team that calls DC home: The Washington Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse. The 'Hawks finished fifth in the six-team league in the just-completed 2009 season, which wasnt good enough to make the postseason tournament.

But, this area remains the lacrosse epicenter, so the MLL has put all playoff games in our market. The semis and championship match will be played next weekend, August 22-23, at Navy Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis.

Back to me: When I was a kid in the mid-1970s I used to go to the Capital Centre to watch the Maryland Arrows of the National Lacrosse League, the first DC pro lacrosse franchise.

These were the most violent sporting events I ever attended. The team's mascot was a cartoon thug name Crunch Crosscheck and its slogan was "You gotta be mean to play box lacrosse!" Its radio commercials featured a faux endorsement from Attila the Hun. (The Arrows marketing team included a young AU graduate named Andy Dolich, now the chief operating officer of the San Francisco 49ers.)

The games lived down billing, too. You were pretty much guaranteed a bench-clearing brawl every night, and the situation in the grandstands was even bloodier. A gang of older guys from my neighborhood went to every game dressed up in the same outfits, topped by yellow and black CAT hats, from heavy equipment maker Caterpillar. They called themselves the CAT Patrol and they'd fight any willing partner at Arrows games. They never had trouble finding willing partners, and one guy even jumped the glass to throw punches with players from the Philadelphia Wings.

The league only lasted two seasons. The memories endure...


Could the Nats sudden downfall be blamed on The Boswell Curse?

The Nats turnaround began on July 21, sparked, we think, by Cheap Seats Daily's proclamation of Guaranteed Win Night and declaring "Thunderation" as the team's unofficial official fight song.

But, maybe it's all about Boswell.

You can look it up: Boswell went on vacation or otherwise stopped writing after a column that ran July 20.

The Nats Great Turnaround of 2009 began the next day.

Boswell's vacation ended or he otherwise started writing on August 10, when he typed up a column with the line "The Nats aren't just winning. They're clubbing people." That night the Nats get shellacked in Atlanta. And superstar in waiting Jordan Zimmermann announced he'd be getting Tommy John surgery and would be out for A YEAR AND HALF.

Last night, Day 2 of Boswell back on the job: Another shellacking in Atlanta. Nyjer Morgan gets picked off to end the game, even with his team down by four and the meat of the lineup behind him.

How pre-Turnaround is THAT?

Go back on vacation, Boz. Or write that the Nats will lose 14 of their next 20! And insist that the Lerners won't pony up for Stephen Strasburg.

Yeah, especially the Strasburg column! Please!

Good thing it's football season!


*Don't really bet the mortgages, dumbass....Unless you really really need the money!

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  • nivin

    Last I checked, people don't go to games or concerts alone. So at least 50% of any included parking is unearned. Isn't it illegal to charge for something you have no intention of providing? Or even can provide. I don't believe there are 60,000 parking spots at Fed-Ex. I think this is a matter for the Maryland Attorney General or Maryland's consumer protection agencies. Could you check with them for us???????

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    Skins next trip to the Super Bowl: SB CIX - 2076, the tri-centennial year. Snyder's bad karma keeps team in basement or wandering in the wilderness for forty years - times two. So about 80 years after Little Danny bought the team, it'll make it to the Super Bowl again.

    Snyder is a pig. Yes, please see what the MD officials say - they have a democracy up there, maybe the people can agitate toward ending Snyder's fraudulent practices.

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    Boswell is a Curse. Next up: Lerners too cheap to sign # 1 pick - again! Then: instant karma's gonna get you - Ryan Zim goes down with season-ending, career-threatening injury. All Nats # 1 picks are cursed, forevermore.

    Nationals never make it to the World Serious. After forty years of frustrating, mediocre to stinky baseball, the Nats move to London & become the British Redcoats, & the Lobsterbacks win seven straight world series titles, before karma strikes yet again ...

  • Dave McKenna

    Nivin: i would argue that what snyder is doing is illegal. if you would have checked out this week's cheap seats column, you, like both my readers, would know that i went over the dubious legality of "bundling" parking with the concert or sporting event. local governments have always let snyder flaut rules and regulations that the rest of us follow -- just look at the trees that are no longer in his backyard -- so he has no motivation to do anything but what he wants.

  • DR

    You should write a book about the Arrows and your old neighborhod thugs.....going to a game in uniforms looking to fight??? Was it the dreaded Caterpillar gang?

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  • doug marcus

    i loved the old nll and i especially loved who was the best lacrosse player ever - arrows' paul suggate. it was a crazy league - they played box with wood sticks - but it was talented as hell. the lacrosse skills were off the chart and made this long time field fan a box lacrosse loving season ticketholder for the philadelphia wings for over 20-years.
    paul suggate was part bobby orr, part wayne gretzky and part mike tyson :)

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