The Tennessee Titans are proud owners of a 16-year sellout streak that has maintained even throughout several straight years of recent disappointment. But it turns out that streak might not be an accurate reflection of interest.
An investigative report from NewsChannel 5 in Nashville reveals that the Titans managed to keep the sellout streak going through an arrangement its executives made with a ticket dealer in Boca Raton, Florida.
The team essentially turned the scalper into the top ticket source for Titans games. In exchange, the Titans used the scalper to gain better control over market prices, preventing low demand from sparking a plummet in secondary market sales prices.
According to the news report, the deal was approved by multiple team executives, none of whom are currently with the team. The executives had hoped that, by working with one scalper and making him the strongest presence in the market, other scalpers would be pushed out, and the value of Titans football tickets would increase.
In exchange for reducing the other competition, the team's main scalper, Cole Rubin, would buy all unsold tickets for Titans home games. He could then use those tickets as inventory, selling them at a premium and turning a huge profit.
In some respects, this relationship is not scandalous or even unheard of. Rubin is a very successful scalper who has working relationships with 22 different NFL teams, according to NewsChannel 5, and teams regularly work with secondary sellers for a variety of purposes.
This might be the first case, though, of using those arrangements to ensure sellouts and generate kickbacks in sales revenue. The report also found that some tickets designated as military donations were given to Rubin to sell, instead of to military personnel.
The Titans have come out pleading their innocence on all counts, and said the military tickets issue is merely an error of attribution.
"The fact that some tickets were falsely designated as military comps on an internal report during a past season can never diminish the esteem in which we hold our servicemen and women, the high regard in which we hold their duty and sacrifice, and the fact that we will continue to provide our military with complimentary tickets throughout each future Titan season," said the team in a statement.
The Titans say they have also hired outside investigators to learn more about the matter, and to audit their ticket sales.