Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Consider Me, Vindicated

Oh, sometime around the miserable Steve Spurrier years, I began warning anybody who would listen, that home blackouts in the Redskins future were not just conceivable, but perhaps even likely given the trend of horrible mismanagement of the franchise in the hands of Dan Snyder.

Now, this.

When you are yanking out 6,000 seats while simulataneously claiming a "waiting list" of somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 wanna-be season ticket holders, then just about every bullshit meter, siren, and flashing red strobe light starts going off in your brain.

As Dave McKenna puts it succinctly in his lead at the Washington City Paper - "Supply is kicking demand's ass at FedEx Field."

Yes, that's the same McKenna and same City Paper being sued by Dan Snyder for defamation.

Hmm. Seems like the lawsuit is failing to silence either one of them, just like a fake waiting list is failing to fill Snyder's cavernous acropolis of FAIL.

As you can expect, there WILL BE spin. The team is saying many things, most of which sound like that guy "Baghdad Bob" during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Washington Times reports:
The team source said the project was about “enhancing the fan experience” and unrelated to any possible decrease in demand for tickets.
Of course.
But I have some nagging little questions.

1. How long does it take to complete a project like this? You would think Jan 1 to Sep 1 with a motivated contractor would do the job. Last year's jumbotron installation and smaller "party decks" were completed easily in time for the pre-season. On this one, the Redskins admit the party decks won't be operational until 2012.

2. How come the team STILL, won't comment on the plans for these decks? If it's a "good thing" as Martha Stewart would say, then come out and trumpet this "good thing." Show us the architectural plans. Put out a glossy brochure.

3. What about fans who actually LIKED those seats? Do they get a full refund? If they are moved into other "better" seats, are they required to pay the difference in the cost? Were there really 6,000 unsold seats sprinkled throughout the rest of the stadium that can accommodate everyone?

4. How can you justify a major cost for a project like this, when you are almost sure to bring in less money? Let's run some crude math. The party decks will cost $10 million, I'm guessing. Last year's jumbotron's + "stomp decks" cost $20 million. I'll knock off half that cost, assuming the TV's cost a mint. This figure could be revised upwards, though, depending on how elaborate these "party decks" are. Will they be covered? Partially enclosed? Climate controlled?

So you now have upwards of 6,000 seats that will be gone in 2011 (assuming there's a season) at a loss of conservatively $2.5 million because you couldn't perform this upgrade in one off-season. Then you spend $10 million or more, to reduce all future earning of those 6,000 seats from $75 per game (estimate) to something like $30 per game (estimate).

And this makes business sense? Can extra $9 beers make up the difference?

Again, I premise all of this on the good faith assumption that 200,000 people are desperately trying to get into the building.

Which, ahem, may not be the case.

So if this move to trim the FedEx Field sails prevents future blackouts, then hey, bravo Mr. Snyder! Thank you, as a fan who almost never goes to the stadium, and watches Mike Shanahan botch end-of-game timeout usage from the comfort of my basement.

On the other hand, if the party decks prove to be an unpopular failure, then this might just be a temporary bump on a long fall of attendance at Redskins games.

Can the NFL look the other way in 3 years at a FedEx Field with creepy party decks full of drunken out of town fans, with 10,000 unsold seats in the upper deck?

As McKenna reminds everyone with a short memory: "It wasn’t so long ago (2005, actually) that the team was so cocky about general admission ticket demand that it forced customers to use a Redskins Extra Points MasterCard to buy season tickets."

Those heady days are gone. Dark days are here. And getting darker.


  1. I know several people who were in the 50,000-75,00 range on the New York Football Giants' waiting list for almost a decade, and literally overnight with the announcement of the seat licences (I believe in 2008 or 09) these folks were able to get tickets for the next season. And the Giants have been good. There's no way there's a waiting list with that many people on for the Humpskins.

  2. Czabe -- stop trying to apply logic to buisness. :)

  3. Dear Mr. Snyder,

    Thank you for building us a place to drink, mingle with our fellow fans, and cheer our team on to victory. You are a true genius! We hope that the Nats will follow in your footsteps.

    Philly Fans

  4. Mr. Czaban, the Washington Redskins were a high-end franchise in the National Football League, and their burgandy and gold uniforms were a mark of gridiron greatness before Dan Snyder latched his hands on your beloved team.

    Those three Lombardis are getting caked with dust as his fiddling continues. Once again, I want to see the Skins bitch slap the Cowboys all over the field in front of Jerry's melting face.

    Too bad that the NFL Owner cartel is just as unassailable as the BCS Cartel.


  5. Umm....GO PACK!!!
    You are welcome in the fold of Green and Gold...just don't mention the hard days of the 70's and 80's.


  6. Steve Czaben = Cynical Bastard.....with fans like you, who needs enemies or opponents. Nothing quite like having a National Radio host who CLAIMS to be a Redskins fan, but constantly bashes his so called favorite team. Czabe, why don't you do me and every other Redskins fan a favor, and go root/bash another your boyfriend Scott's team the Eagles. They have a nice classless group of fans, and have won a lot of nothing over the last 30 years, so you ought to be able to find plenty to whine and cry about. Good luck, and good riddance you fake azz mack!