LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 11: FedEx Field is shown during ceremonies before the season-opening game between the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants at FedEx Field on September 11, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
I'm a guy that scalps tickets to pretty much every event I attend: concerts, road Caps / Nationals / Redskins / Wizards games, the occasional Skins home game, and even a Super Bowl. The Washington Post just discovered the Redskins are yanking another 4,000 seats out of Fedex:
"They will wind up with 79,000 seats, which is way down from their peak," [director of Prince George's County Department of Environmental Resources] said. "This is actually a net reduction, but it should be a better fan experience."
The total capacity may exceed 79,000 when the tickets sold for the party decks are accounted for, and it's expected that the Redskins will offer between 4,000 and 5,000 standing-room tickets per game.
At first, this sounds good. Less seats means we're closer to how the stadium should have been built - 65K and truer to guaranteeing only Redskins fans own these tickets. The problem is, all of these empty seats make room for more Standing Room Only tickets (SROs), which are a scalper's DREAM if you're an opposing fan. When my girl and I scalped at Dallas two years ago, after hard haggling, I was able to get 3 SROs for the price of one ($25). They're cheap tickets that are throw aways. Tickets like these are the perfect cheap avenue for opposing fans to come in. Why are venues like Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore much tougher to scalp? There's no cheap or easy way to get in.
The Redskins of course paint this as another "Enhancement." I wish I was there in the Redskins marketing office to advise them to tell fans and the media the truth, but in a pro-Redskins manner,
"The Redskins team has not played to the Championship level we expect the last several years and given the current state of the economy, we understand some fans' reluctance to juggle the cost of their tickets with family expenses. A 91,000 seat stadium is not practical for any NFL team, and we're making hard strides to correct that. We plan on removing seats to ensure Fedex Field is a game dominated by our Redskins faithful."
Instead, replacing unsold seats with SROs is another way to to squeeze in more people on the cheap who will spend on average $60 a head in beer and food. Assuming these fans are Redskins fans is laughable. The result?More fights, more frustration, and much poorer of an experience. Of course, winning cures everything, but that doesn't change the fact I go home with no voice from yelling at the 17 opposing fans in the row behind and in front of me.
I think the Club-level SROs were a good addition given their prize and relatively low number available, but adding them to the upper deck is going to backfire. Well, for the fans at least.