The House Oversight Committee received information that the Washington Commanders have retained ticket revenue to be shared with other NFL teams, sources told Front Office Sports.
Under NFL statutes, all teams are required to give 40% of ticket sales from each home game — minus ticket processing fees and taxes — to the league, which then distributes the funds to visiting teams. At least one person gave information to congressional investigators in recent weeks claiming the commanders did not turn over the full 40%, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told FOS.
It is not clear how long this alleged scheme ran or who authorized it.
The Commanders and the NFL have been learning about the allegations in recent weeks, a source told FOS.
An NFL spokesman declined to comment when reached by FOS. Commanders did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
FOS reported On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee broadened its investigation beyond claims the commanders encouraged a hostile work environment to include an investigation into the finances of the team and owner Dan Snyder.
Sources told FOS that the person who leaked the information to the Democrat-led Oversight Committee was who is referenced in the following statement by GOP Oversight Committee spokesman Austin Hacker:
“The leak of unilateral, unverified, unsupported allegations from a disgruntled ex-employee with an ax to grind is just further evidence that the Democrat investigation is a waste of Congressional time. Nothing the Committee has heard from credible witnesses indicates financial irregularities; In fact, the only credible witness capable of knowing the facts Democrats have heard has denied such improprieties.”
Sources with knowledge of the information given to the Oversight Committee staff told FOS that this went beyond a first-person testimony.
Ticket sales are the only portion of local revenue that must be shared among NFL owners. The teams do not share any other revenue – from parking to local sponsorship deals – with the other teams.
Ticket sales not only impact other teams, but players as well, as ticket revenue feeds into the league’s total revenue, which is used to determine the annual salary cap.
The salary cap for the 2022 season is $208.2 million, up $25.7 million. The cap was lowered last season for the first time since its inception in 1994, largely due to the pandemic limiting fan participation during the 2020 season.
The Green Bay Packers, the only publicly owned team in the NFL, attended $77 million in ticket sales in 2019, the latest available data for a season unaffected by the pandemic.
The Commanders reported the second-lowest viewership last season.
“To my knowledge, early ticketing proceeds are doing very well in Washington,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters at Tuesday’s owner meetings. “They are making great progress. We are going into the season very optimistically.”