Redskins still say multi-year season ticket waitlist was real

Brian Tinsman
September 13, 2018 - 11:08 pm
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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason, the Washington Redskins turned to NFL executive Brian Lafemina to handle day-to-day operations of the organization. Giving him instant credibility was his willingness to sell single-game tickets and do away with the infamous season ticket waitlist.

A legitimate, multi-year waitlist was put in place years ago to manage rabid fan interest in the aftermath of three Super Bowls.

Under team owner Dan Snyder, the team used the waitlist to market a scarcity of tickets, grow its marketing capacity (by using it to acquire fan contact information), and encouraging fans to sign up years before they actually expected to get tickets.

The multi-year waitlist became a media punchline when evidence mounted against it.

To better understand the discussion, consider this: when an NFL team talks about attendance, they don't count gate totals, they count tickets sold. Therefore, a ticket sold to a season-ticket holder counts as a game day tally, regardless of what happens to that ticket (used, sold, lost, stolen, etc.).

Looking more closely at FedExField, the Redskins have removed seats at least three times since 2010, dropping capacity from 92,000 down to around 82,000. Over that same span, home games have looked increasingly sparse, or filled with opposing fans. Perhaps most telling: tickets were being sold for pennies on the dollar on second-hand markets.

So the ticket waitlist is dead, and Lafemina helped kill it. But even today, he still claimed on 106.7 The Fan with Grant and Danny that the multi-year waitlist was real when the team killed it (emphasis added).

"Basically, what we want to make sure that we do is get as many Redskins fans into the game as possible," he explained. "Over the last 10-15 years with the advent of the secondary market, you've had more and more people buying tickets with the express desire to go resell them. 

"The tickets were sold. There was a waiting list. We wouldn't let people buy tickets unless they had been on that waiting list for three years. So people had to be on that waiting list before we would end up selling you tickets. I didn't think that was a best practice."

Indeed, arbitrarily waiting three years to sell anything would not be a best practice.

Last November, Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post Sports Bog went through the motions of signing up for season tickets. After getting an immediate email back, Steinberg found that the true waiting time of the wait list was several seconds--not years.

Maybe he just got lucky.

In The Fan studios, Grant Paulsen pressed Lafemina: "So, the waiting list was real?"

"Yeah," Lafemina asserted. "We would not let someone call up and just buy a season ticket or buy an individual game ticket. But when we took a look at who was buying the tickets and what they were doing with the tickets, we didn't think that was in the best interests of our fans."

Listen to his full interview here:

 

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