- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 23, 2002

Technically, the Washington Redskins have been sold out since 1966. But this offseason, the team has made several dozen luxury seats at FedEx Field available to the general public after everyone on the team's club seat waiting list passed on them.
Located in the stadium's club seat, and field-level dream seat sections, the available tickets start at $2,000 each per year and require a minimum commitment of six years. The Redskins also are sweetening the offer by allowing new purchasers to buy tickets to the Rolling Stones' concert at FedEx Field on Oct.4, a provision extended to the team's existing premium ticket holders.
Team officials said the seats became available after fans who signed five-year contracts for them in 1997 declined to renew. Everyone on the team's club seat waiting list, numbering more than 2,000, was offered an exclusive 10-day window to buy the seats. When the seats failed to sell out during that period, the public sale began at the end of last week.
"We turn over roughly 1,000 seats throughout the entire stadium each year," said team spokesman Karl Swanson. "This is all part of that."
The waiting list for seats in the stadium's two primary levels now includes more than 75,000 people, and fans on that list quickly snap up the regular seats that become available each year. A thriving secondary ticket market, however, also continues to serve fans on that list.
The public availability of the luxury seats follows a similar sale in 1999, soon after owner Dan Snyder assumed control of the team, and at various points since then. At 16,381 seats, FedEx Field's club level is by far the largest of its type in the NFL, and that number includes 646 seats installed since late January. The dream and loge sections comprise another 3,147 seats.
Because of that huge inventory of high-cost seating, keeping the sections sold out has proved a challenge for both Snyder and former team president John Kent Cooke. When the stadium opened in 1997, more than 3,000 club seats remained unsold. Snyder's sales team, after a frenetic summertime sales effort, finally sold out the entire club section in September 1999. Some of the original leases began expiring after the 1999 season, requiring a steady resale effort since then.
Some of the current lack of renewal on the club seats owes to hefty price hikes Snyder began implementing last year. Prices were raised from a range of $995 to $1,995 per season, depending on location, to a new range of $1,800 to $3,400. Although Snyder has spent more than $20million to improve amenities and service at the stadium, the increase proved too much for some fans to bear.
Each of the luxury seats, because of the multi-year purchase requirement, do not figure into the NFL's sellout rules that regulate TV blackouts.

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