- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

The Washington Redskins announced yesterday that they will not increase prices on general admission tickets, new club seat contracts, concessions or parking for the 2003 season.

General admission tickets will remain priced from $44 to $79. Prices on club seats were set in 2000 and, except for annual increases called for in the contract, have not changed.

The announcement came less than a week after long-term club seat holders were asked to forgo the final four seasons of their 10-year contracts and accept an immediate price increase of 38 percent. Those who decline face a 113 percent increase when their contracts expire in 2007.

Seat holders who agree to new contracts now would face a 3 percent increase in each year of the deal. Those who choose to renew contracts in 2007 would face a 5 percent increase each year.

Those increases, first reported by The Washington Times, upset season ticket holders in the club's loyal fan base and followed a steady string of increases.

Since Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999, he has increased the average ticket price 29 percent to $68.06, more than doubled the prices of luxury suites and club seats, raised parking fees from $10 or $15 a car to $20 or $25, raised the cost of food and drink across the board at FedEx Field and increased the price of a game program from $3 to $9.95.

The average price of a Redskins ticket ranks as the second-highest in the NFL, behind that of the New England Patriots. The Patriots opened a new stadium this season, which typically produces large increases in prices for fans.

However, the price increases by the Redskins are unprecedented in sports for a team without a recent championship or a new stadium and make attending a game at FedEx Field one of the most expensive propositions in sports for fans.

The Redskins raised the prices of general admission tickets for the 2002 season from $75 to $79, an increase of only 5 percent. However, the club already had increased the price of those tickets substantially in March 2000, raising the top price by 25 percent from $60 to $75.

In 2000, the Redskins also raised prices in the 16,381-club seat section by as much as 140 percent.

The Redskins said yesterday in a written statement that contracts for club seats are sold in 5-, 7- and 10-year blocks. However, the team's Web site lists the contracts for sale in 6-, 8-, 10- and 15-year blocks. The seats range in price from $2,000 to $3,400 and include a 3 percent increase each year of the contract.

The club also announced plans for cash parking lots to replace the spaces lost to construction at the former Capital Centre site.

Redskins spokesman Karl Swanson could not be reached for comment.

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