Thursday, April 06, 2006

Fouled-Off Bunts: Two Tickets To Paradise Edition

Plenty of good seats are left for the Home Opener. The Post is on the story. Apparently there are still 10,000 unsold seats, which is pathetic.

Tony Tavares cites cold weather (huh?) and the offseason turmoil (That one makes sense!) as the chief reasons for the sales difficulty. But the story discusses the other important factor, utter incompetence:
The team's sales staff reserved prime seat locations to be sold in their entirety for an 81-game season ticket plan. However, some of those seats were released to the general public and bought on an individual game basis. Many of those games were against the more popular visiting teams. For example, some fans bought prime seats for only a few games against marquee teams such as the Chicago Cubs or Baltimore Orioles, making it difficult for the Nationals to sell the rest of the games as part of a season ticket plan because the buyer would not be able to use the seats for the five or six best games.

"I can sell you a 81-game season ticket package, but for six or seven of the games you are going to be sitting somewhere else," Tavares said. "It complicates and diminishes our ability to sell season tickets."

In fact, if you go to the Nats website, you can only purchase season tickets in one section -- way up in the 500s and down the line. The system can, apparently, only handle orders for the same seat to every game.

The article also notes that season ticket renewals are only about 85%, and that they're down to 18,000 tickets. Tavares expects to draw 2.6 million -- which could be difficult considering the loss in season sales. It's something we'll have to watch as the season marches ahead.

  • Marc Fisher gets the goods on the team's fan survey, indicating that more DC people bought tickets than assumed: Although the District accounts for about 15 percent of the region's population, the team's survey says D.C. residents bought 34 percent of single-game tickets and 28 percent of season ticket plans.
    I wonder, though, how much of that is 'real fan' and how much of that is Mr. Lobbyist. Fisher does, appropriately, offer a word of caution about the results:
    "Sports franchises are notorious for spinning their numbers to tell the story they prefer. And Angelos and D.C. baseball boosters have argued for years over how much the Orioles rely on Washington-area fans."

    And thats' the problem. Unless we saw the methodology or some results, we can't tell.

    The article also says that the team will try to add even more Thursday day games next year -- a blessing and a curse, I suppose.

    Fisher is chatting about the column right now.

  • Ken Rosenthal says that Frank Robinson is on the hot seat:
    He probably will finish the season but is likely to be replaced after the team is sold. Robinson's relationship with general manager Jim Bowden has turned frosty, and that makes his return unlikely if Bowden survives. Any replacement for Bowden likely would want to hire his own manager.


  • Start-of-season payroll figures are out, and the Nats rank 20th with a $63 million figure. We're sandwiched between Minnesota and Oakland, so I don't want to hear ANY whining about how payroll prohibits this team from winning. Both those teams prove that the competence of the GM has a lot more to do with it.

  • NFA notes that the minor league season begins today and has a good roundup. Dave Sheinin is in New Orleans, and is writing about the experience with the Zephyrs. So is Thom Loverro.

  • Nats Blog's ERV boxscore has a surprising, but not-so surprising winner for yesterday's most valuable play. His comments explain why.

  • Mets Fans are looking at the bright side of life already

  • Spilt Milk Watch:
    Brad Wilkerson, 1-5; 3K; 1 Ladson Smile
    Preston Wilson, 3-4; homer; 2 RBI (No, I still don't miss him)
    Vinny Castilla, 2-4
    Terrmel Sledge, 0-2
    Jamey Carroll, 1-1; walk

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