- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2000

The $100 million Washington Redskins have been reduced to a $15 ticket.
Typically the NFL's most expensive team to see, the Redskins are finishing a disastrous season that has resulted in a ticket fire sale for the team's final home game unprecedented since the 1997 move to the former Jack Kent Cooke Stadium
Seats with a face-value cost of $40 to $75 each can be found for less than $30 through area ticket brokers and on-line auction site EBay. Not only is the Redskins' 7-8 record severely depressing sales, but the game is Christmas Eve day against the 3-12 Arizona Cardinals, Washington's least-popular divisional foe.
Washington's toughest ticket to get is now so tough to unload that some brokers are selling seats two-for-one, with $15 a common price.
"It's pretty much what you'd expect as this point. There are definitely some real bargains out there," said Karl Roes, president of Stagefront Tickets.com, a Laurel brokerage. "It's a game that just doesn't really count [in the playoff picture]."
Early in the season, tickets to marquee Redskins games were selling as high as $850 each, more than 10 times the top face-value cost.
Conversely, interest in the secondary ticket market in the Baltimore Ravens is reaching record levels. The Ravens, playing at home Sunday against the New York Jets, are fighting for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. One playoff game at PSINet Stadium is assured. Because the team posted its best season since the 1996 move from Cleveland, prices for some prime playoff seats have topped $700.
"Interest in the Ravens is definitely building," Mr. Roes said. "The problem now is that we still don't know if they'll be playing the first week [of the playoffs] or getting a bye."
While ticket brokers are now forced to make Redskins sales below face value, many of the best deals for Sunday's game can be found on line. More than 70 Redskins ticket auctions were active yesterday on EBay, some starting as low as $1 for two tickets. One auction for four upper deck seats and parking closed yesterday at $71. Face value for such a package is $230.
"This Arizona game was never good at all when the schedule came out in March. The Cardinals just never sell well," said Ricky Rae, president of Ticket Inlet, a Falls Church brokerage that is among the two-for-one sellers. "The way this team has played, the season just can't be over fast enough for me."
Redskins officials said they expect nearly a full house for the game Sunday, assuming thousands of season-ticket holders will give their seats away to friends and family who don't typically attend games. But weather likely will play a major role in the final turnout. Nasty snowstorms in Cincinnati and Buffalo on Sunday depressed announced crowds for the Bengals and Bills by more than 20 percent from normal levels.
The smallest crowd at what is now FedEx Field was Dec. 19, 1998, against Tampa Bay, when 66,309 came to see Washington get their sixth win of the year after a season-killing 0-7 start. After owner Dan Snyder purchased the team last year, he boosted stadium seating capacity to 85,407. Since the expansion, actual turnstile counts have routinely topped 80,000.
RFK Stadium's smallest crowd since the George Allen era began in 1971 was Dec. 31, 1993, the final game of a horrific 4-12 season. Just 42,836 saw a 14-9 loss to Minnesota. Tickets to the game were sold in the stadium parking lot that day for as little as $5 each.

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