penny-wise, brand foolish
Posted by Abe Sauer on September 3, 2009 05:19 PM
The Washington Redskins — along with baseball's Cleveland Indians, one of the last two teams in US pro sports to cling to an archaic, racially tinged brand — are playing an aggressive game against their cash-strapped fans. Long-suffering season ticketholder (since 1962!) Pat Hill, 72, is only now learning what it means to be an NFL fan.
Hill's real estate business hasn't fared well during the crash. In danger of going broke, the diehard fan requested a few years' waiver on her 10-year season contract, until she could again secure the funds needed to watch New England crush her beloved team, live and in the stadium. No dice.
The Redskins took Hill to court for backing out of her agreement, demanding and winning payment through 2017. The Washington Post reports that the team's suit drove Hill into bankruptcy:
Hill couldn't afford a lawyer. She did not fight the lawsuit or even respond to it because, she said, she believes that the Bible says that it is morally wrong not to pay your debts. The team won a default judgment of $66,364.
"It really breaks my heart," Hill said, her voice cracking as the tears well and spill. "I don't even believe in bankruptcy.
"We are supposed to pay our bills. I ain't trying to get out of anything."
Though well within their legal rights, suing Grandma is a reliable way to win a blitz of bad publicity for the brand. The Washington Post pictured Hill weeping on her Redskins-junk-festooned couch, and exposed the team's regular practice of suing ticketholders in similar situations. Their defense? Dave Donovan, Redskins general counsel, claims other teams do the same thing.
Classy. Almost as classy as selling tickets directly to scalpers, um, "brokers," as the Post also reported. Look out, Jerry Jones, you and your Cowboys have competition!