City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Redskins Drop the Fictional 200,000-Name Waiting List, But Not Ticket Prices?

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The lead sentence of yesterday's press release from the Washington Redskins, dated Jan. 13, 2010, announcing the team won't raise ticket prices: "The Redskins have announced that general admission ticket prices for the 2010 season will be unchanged, remaining at the same price for the fifth season in a row.

The lead sentence of last year's press release from the Washington Redskins, dated Jan. 14, 2009, announcing the team won't raise ticket prices: "The Washington Redskins announced Jan. 14 that general admission ticket prices for the 2009 season would remain unchanged for the third straight year."

One year passes, two years are gained! The new math?

But wait! In fairness to Karl Swanson and the beleaguered Skins marketing machine, I think those statements are both accurate. Then again, I got a D in algebra.

But: A 2006 story in the Washington Post said Snyder raised general admission prices in the lower bowl that year by 39 percent, and the price of parking 40 percent. Since that massive hike — 39 percent in one season? What the heck? — Dan Snyder has learned that demand ain't what he expected it to be, and has gone to desperate measures to keep those ticketholders he has. That means suing 'em. And, much as it surely hurts him, not raising ticket prices.

So, the general admission tickets for the 2010 season will indeed have the same prices as the 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 seasons. Fifth season in a row!

But if you use years, as the 2009 release did, then the prices that were changed in 2006 went unchanged in 2007, 2008, and 2009, so last year was only the third year they were unchanged.

Hence: One = Two!

'Course, the Redskins love to play funny with numbers in these releases. Last year's announcement also had CEO Mitch Gershman saying the Redskins have "more than 200,000 people on our waiting list for season tickets." This year, it's got Gershman's replacement, Dave Donovan, saying: "The Redskins have the largest season ticket waiting list in the NFL." Surely that's hokum, but it' still an improvement from 2008's bogusness.

(AFTER THE JUMP: The Skins are still claiming a sellout streak? The Skins charge the ninth highest ticket prices for the 29th best team? How great was Steve Kolbe's Caps' call? How depressing was Dave Johnson's Wiz call? Shouldn't the Wizards be the ones offering all-you-can-drink tickets? D.C. United gives away some future to get some past? Tim Riggins splits Dillon? How's Lyla taking it? John Riggins is on "One Tree Hill"? Really?)

Both this year's and last year's release both claim the Redskins have a sellout streak that's been running "since 1966." That's totally true...in Opposite Land! Even allowing the team to ignore the strike year's small crowds, Snyder was unloading tickets to last month's Dallas game as Christmas packages to all takers. And Snyder's now got more than 20,000 premium seats that he doesn't count here, even though there hasn't been a single year since he bought the team that those seats have all sold. So stop with the sellout talk.

The recent press release has an odd boast: "The Redskins average general admission ticket prices are below those of nine other NFL teams." (True, according to Team Marketing Report, the prime surveyor of pro sports pricing, with figured that a family of four spent $431 and change per Redskins game this season.) Snyder's release didn't mention, however, that the Redskins record was below that of 28 other NFL teams.

A high draft pick, Bruce Allen, Mike Shanahan and no price increase still ain't gonna be enough to bring everybody back to FedExField.

For starters: The people want a real Jumbotron, Dan Snyder!

***

A Tale of Two of the City's Teams: Steve Kolbe's call on WFED-AM of Tomas Fleischmann's shootout goal, which completed the first-place Caps' comeback last night from two goals down in the third period to beat Florida, was so ecstatic and over-the-top, it was as if he was practicing a Stanley Cup call — which, what the heck, isn't that crazy a thing for this team's play-by-play man to do even this early in the season.

Meanwhile, over at WJFK, Glenn Consor and Dave Johnson were desperate to say something positive about the last-place Wizards, as they fell 22 points back in the first half and lost by 12. The announcers described Antawn Jamison in Herculean terms as he tried keeping the Wiz within reach of a single-digit deficit. The desperation and overall plight of the team made it really hard to listen to.

Also last night, the Caps' radio ads were pushing premium ticket packages that include an all-you-can-eat buffet and even "Unlimited Beer, Wine and Soda." The Snyderesque tickets, called the Dewar's 12 Club, are "starting at $99" apiece. I tried getting tickets for tomorrow night's game with Toronto through Ticketmaster, and, as usual, no pairs were for for sale. The best available was a single seat in the corner for $229.45. Best of times for the Caps.

The announcers' desperation carries over to Wizards marketing campaign. The team is now running high-budget TV commercials starring Caron Butler on local TV — I'd never noticed this sort of advertising before — and, during radio game broadcasts, hawking cheap family packages for $49 for four seats and four hot dogs. Worst of times for the Wiz.

Throw in the off-court troubles, and, if the Verizon Center weren't thrown in, you gotta figure Ted Leonsis would seriously be considering to go for the "refusal" portion of his right-of-first-refusal deal to buy the Wizards from Abe Pollin's estate.

***

Guess you really don't know what you've got til it's gone.

D.C. United gave up a whole lot to bring back former goalie Troy Perkins, who left town in 2007 to play in Norway. Perkins was with United from 2004-2007, and stands as the second-winningest goalie in franchise history. The team sent midfielder Fred, who never lived up to one-name status, as well as a 2010 first round SuperDraft pick (seventh overall) and some cash to the Philadelphia Union just to take the expansion squad's place in the allocation line in time to nab Perkins. United really must've missed him.

And Perkins gives a quote that shows he missed United right back.  "It’s more than just a feeling," Perkins said about the return. "It’s something deep in the heart and the soul."

Awesome Trivia about "More than a feeling": Even Kurt Cobain accepted that his riff for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" transcended from Boston's 1976 smash "More Than a Feeling."

That makes Tom Scholz the Karl Marx of the alternative rock revolution!

***

One of my favorite football players of all-time, Tim Riggins of the Dillon Panthers, is moving on. TV Guide reports the star fullback from NBC/DirectTV's "Friday Night Lights" is leaving Dillon so Taylor Kitsch, the actor who's played him so gloriously for four seasons, can make a play for the big screen.

I always figured Riggins, a troubled, wild-and-crazy-but-lovable fullback, was modeled after John Riggins of the Redskins. And he was just one of many seeming Washington references on FNL. There was Coach McGregor, the hotshot coach who was hired as Coach Taylor's replacement at Dillon when he, you know, took a brief sabbatical to give college coaching a try — DeMatha's Bill McGregor, whose squad always makes USA Today's Top 20 national polls, has long been among the most touted high school coaches in the country. And when Riggins and his buddies watch the highlights package he was going to send to recruiters for the University of Oklahoma, as a clip of him bowling over an opposing safety was shown, the guys all agree he looks like "Brandon Jacobs running over Laron Landry."

Why the D.C. nods? Well, turns out "Friday Night Lights" executive producer Peter Berg is pals with Dan Snyder. He's sat in Snyder's box on game days for years, and privately screened his Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx movie "The Kingdom" for the team and its owner. Berg's team's a whole lot more successful on the field than Snyder's.

Meanwhile, the real life Riggins, as in John Riggins, was reportedly taking a role on "One Tree Hill" this season. I see that his alleged character, Ken Arthur, has appeared in three episodes, but I've missed 'em all and read nothing about his acting. Anybody see #44's TV work this year?

***

Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com

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  • http://thedcuniverse.blogspot.com/ Scotus

    I watched OTH just to see Riggins, and honestly? He was pretty good. The role didn't require much heavy lifting, and it's not like he was in danger of being upstaged by the master thespians on the CW. But if he ever gets bored of YouTube, he could probably find success in Hollywood as a Dick Butkus-like character actor.

  • Lemonaid Into Lemons

    For curiosity and funsies, I went ahead and signed up for the Redskins(tm) Waiting List. Reports as they happen.
    -
    LiL

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    Nicely done, my undercover brother of the yellow lemon-lime persuasion.

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