Friday, May 02, 2008

Boz Fails Economics

For fark's sake, Boz. Get your head out of your ass!

First, when is this guy going to stop writing about the goddamn stadium? We get it. We've seen it. We've read the same farkin' column for the last fourteen weeks.

But here he is, swallowing the Stan Kasten Kool Aid. Kasten's at the funnel, pouring gallon after gallon of Purplesaurus Rex, while the tube is shoved so far down Boz' gullet that it almost comes out his backside.
The Nats have 3,100 seats (including 1,200 in suites) that average about $180 a game. The impact of such seats is enormous. For $180, a normal fan could buy five good seats: one each in the box seats, the club level, the mezzanine, the gallery and the terrace -- all the basic sections of Nationals Park.

When you see someone in a Presidential Seat -- like Treasury Secretary Henry J. Paulson last week, sitting with friends in an otherwise empty section -- remember that every such seat generates the same cash as five seats at RFK. That's one reason more than 10,000 upper deck tickets at Nationals Park are reasonably priced.


Those seats aren't priced $300 so that the Nats can have a few sections of $5 seats. and the Nats don't have $5 seats because they have $300 seats.

It's supply and farkin demand!

If Kasten (mistakenly, as it turned out) didn't think he could get $300 for those seats, he wouldn't have charged it. And we'll see them readjust prices in the next year or two to better reflect the demand for seats. Although the team probably has some ultimate seat revenue goals in mind, they don't jigger around the prices to meet those, they jigger around the prices to get our fat asses in the seats.

Boz even has the answer earlier in his column:
"The Presidential and Diamond seats will get filled over time. Supply and demand will fix it. Maybe prices come down. Maybe we win and those are the hot seats," one Nats executive said. But it doesn't look good, does it? "Not now."

If the prices for the Prez' seats come down, by Boz' logic, the cheap seats will have to go up (substantially even). They wont -- at least for that reason. Kasten will charge what the market will give him. (Insert your own pocketing the revenues joke here)


  • For several years Boswell's one-note columns criticizing Angelos were amusing, although derivative and unoriginal. Boswell did crystalize and give voice to the rage many of us felt, but I even then I had to admit it was the same story over and over.

    Now he's doing the same for the Nationals.

    I wonder if Boswell has been down to the clubhouse, watched BP, studied the stats, interviewed players and done the basic reporter's legwork. How about a column on the emergence of Wil Nieves and what this means for LoDuca, Estrada and Flores? What about something on all the young farmhand pitchers? Maybe he could give us some new insight into the struggles of Zimmerman, Johnson and Kearns.

    He's been covering baseball for almost 40 years, you'd think he could come up with something unique.

    A piece on NatsPark? Geez, next time just post a link to Nats320 and be done with it. SBF has better insights than Boz these days.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2008 9:59 AM  

  • Stanley the manley seems to have made two big pricing miscalculations - the Prez seats and the ridiculously overpriced outfield seats. For the Prez seats, the team overestimated how much rich people want to be pampered. Maybe they just want to spend 150 bucks and watch a game, not spend 300 and sit in a lay-z-boy and get unlimited hot dogs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2008 10:01 AM  

  • As someone who sat in the Diamond Club Seats at RFK, I know that the Nationals got this one waaaaayyyy wrong. First, why would anyone pay $150/ seat to sit behind the fancy section when $60 seat is closer to the field and is a better seat. Add in the food credit and free parking, and the value of 4 PNC Seats is $420 (4 x $60, plus 4 x $35 food credit, plus $40 Parking). And, for that value, they expect fans to pay $600. Absolutely ridiculous.

    Second, I really do like the bar area in centerfield. But, if Kasten thinks: "...they'd rather stand in center field above the bleachers?" Kasten said. "That's when you know you have a hot spot. We're going to have to expand it.", why does he close it down for private groups only during Premium Games? Does he plan to expand it only so he can charge groups more to reserve it?

    The park is nice. The seat pricing is ridiculous. And as soon as the seats behind homeplate are 20% full for a single game, I'll believe that it might be worth 5 seats at RFK. Until they reach the 20% threshold, the Nationals are bleeding cash they could have received.

    By Blogger Natsfan74, at 5/02/2008 10:20 AM  

  • A note from a cheapskate who will never sit in the $300 seats:
    A pal and I have now sat in the $5 seats and the $10 seats. We both agreed that the prices should be reversed. You are farther away from the action in the right field $10 seats, and many of them cut parts of right field from view.
    The $5 seats allow fans to see the whole field and you seem to be a bit closer.
    On the other hand, you're closer to Five Guys in the $10 seats.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2008 10:25 AM  

  • "Every day I wait for the e-mails from fans who don't like this or that. But they don't come," said Bowden, who gets plenty of flak when fans don't like his trades.

    OK people, who's got that dickhead's email address???

    Let's crash the email address of this drunk-driving, 9/11-slandering, girlfriend-beating, LOOGY-loving, crappy pitcher-drafting, 14-year loser of an excuse for a bum of a loser of a GM.

    By Blogger Steven, at 5/02/2008 10:34 AM  

  • Chris,

    What I don't understand is this: are those $300 seats sold and the rich a-holes just never show? Or did Uncle Teddy get to greedy with his pricing structure? If it is the former I say we should mimick the Oscars. Use seat fillers! I'd volunteer. You might even get some fans back there that know a fracking thing about baseball.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2008 10:38 AM  

  • When they had the open house, someone (can't remember where I saw it) counted the open seats. they were only like half full.

    For the suites, I think they've only sold about 2/3 of them.

    If you go online, you can buy individual games in those sections. There are always plenty of tickets available.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/02/2008 10:39 AM  

  • The President's Club and Diamond Club seats are both less than 50% sold. So it isn't even an issue where people have them and just don't go (like the Club seats are).

    I tried to convince the Nationals to sell me the Diamond Club seats like a club seat (since those are sold out). Give me the same amenities -- which is really just take away the food credit and the parking. I would willingly pay the club seat price for a deal like that and would still switch today for the rest of the season.

    By Blogger Natsfan74, at 5/02/2008 10:52 AM  

  • It is quite obvious that Kasten has grossly overpriced most of the seats in the stadium, especially in view of the inferior product being presented on the field. We keep reading about how fan friendly the Lerners are, but that only applies to the well heeled who are willing to spend lots of money.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2008 10:57 AM  

  • You can also buy individual games (at least some games, may not be true for every game) in the sold-out Infield Club section. So if you really want to meet SBF before a game and get the guided tour of the Nats320 braintrust, there is a way.

    Steven, JimBo may be a loser, but at least he's smart enough not to sign one of your Internet petitions so you could harvest his e-mail address. Gotta give him credit for that. Hmmm. Maybe there's a local Segway geeks organization you could worm your way into, and dig up his e-mail address from that. Just a thought.

    And I predict that rather than lower prices for the Presidential seats, they will instead increase the amenities there. Coming next: In addition to the window into the Nats' batting cage, there will be a second window into the Meat Hook Massage Parlor. Say the secret word and they'll let you know when the Nat Pack girls will be coming in for their massages. (Installation of this amenity will be delayed until after the All Star Break, though. Re-routing of the GM Box's spy periscope from the old Nat Pack Massage Closet to the Meat Hook Massage Parlor has been held up due to backordered mirror mounting screws.)

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 5/02/2008 10:58 AM  

  • Boz is wrong about the cross-subsidization between sections. It's standard price descrimination The nats will certainly adjust prices and modify the size of the different price tiers. The game I attended recently, the 4:35 Braves game, seemed like a pretty good crowd. The Infield Gallery all the way up to the top was packed, those prices will go up. The lower rows of Sec. 135 and 136 and 108 and 109 (the right and left field lines) were pretty sparse. Those prices should go down. A row and or an aisle separates a $45ticket from a $30 ticket. Seems sort of silly. I think the president and diamond club sections will shrink while leaving the price where it is. The point, however, would not be to have sellout every night. That would mean the team has set the prices too low, leaving money in the pockets of fans (or scalpers). Can't have that. Maximize revenue, not attendance.

    By Blogger flippin, at 5/02/2008 11:04 AM  

  • It is quite obvious that Kasten has grossly overpriced most of the seats in the stadium, especially in view of the inferior product being presented on the field. We keep reading about how fan friendly the Lerners are, but that only applies to the well heeled who are willing to spend lots of money.

    Not really true. Look at how full the Upper and Lower Gallery and RF Terrace sections are at every game. Typically, the fan density there is higher than the fan density in the lower bowl, which was offered only to full season plan buyers until well after the season started. Those upper deck seats, the Infield Club, and the Dugout/Baseline Box seats are fairly priced, because they are the seats that people actually are buying. You could even make a case that some of the outfield seats aren't grossly overpriced, because people are buying them at least in part. The parts of the park that are grossly overpriced are obvious, because they are the sections that are always mostly or completely empty. That would be the Presidential and Diamond Club seats and those three to five godforsaken sections in the RF Mezzanine.

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 5/02/2008 11:10 AM  

  • Before attending the recent Nats @ Marlins game I checked the Marlins' web site to discover, to my surprise, that Dolphin Stadium also has $300 seats right behind home plate. The "Batter's Box" MVP seats which are essentially where the RADAR guns and whatnot are up against the screen. That's pretty pompous considering it's that tank called Dolphin Stadium.

    I can only wonder what the prices will be when they open up Orange Bowl II in downtown Miami. Will Stan Kasten get stadium envy?

    Even the Founder's Club seats right behind home plate are "only" $115 complete with waiters carrying your junk food to you, and they were reasonably well-attended considering it was the faltering Nats in town.

    According to Chris N. the Nats Presidential Seats are in a cordoned-off section, so they don't have any flexibility in re-arranging the section layout, only price or amenities offered.

    By Blogger Bote Man, at 5/02/2008 11:55 AM  

  • Steven Biel, I must compliment you on your description of Bozo Bowden. I have been wanting to say that for three years. Where else can you completely destroy a team and totally escape accountability?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2008 12:10 PM  

  • THE RED PORCH IS A DISASTER. what were they thinking with that set up?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2008 12:18 PM  

  • I thought I heard part of the problem with the Presidential Seats and the PNC People Not Coming Diamond Seats is that they are priced way above what a congressman can accept from a lobbyist. You work on the Hill, Chris, can you shed any light on this?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2008 3:04 PM  

  • That first season, they were ~90, which a resourceful office could break down as 45/45 for dinner/game to stay under the threshold.

    since then, they've tightened things a lot more and many office don't let staffers (those are often the real target) take any benefits like this. Once the restrictions became tougher, the price of those tickets shot up. what were they last year? $120+?

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/02/2008 3:06 PM  

  • Why, exactly, should I give a fark whether some GS 1.5 or some congressman's most junior staffer gets a free night at the ballpark? We're getting as bad as Boz, one note all the time. Just like the naming rights which are still deliciously unsold, Kasten and Lerners Inc. obviously badly overestimated this market's deep pockets in the teeth of a recession. They goofed, the seats stay empty until next year's "sale," let's get over it. Now, how long can this winning streak go?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2008 4:14 PM  

  • Is there another team in baseball that values the seats FURTHEST away from home plate (The Red Porch) greater than 75% of the rest of the stadium?

    If anything, they should be cheaper than the right and left field seats.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2008 4:54 PM  

  • So far, your chances of catching a home run ball seem to be much better in the Red Porch than in the other OF sections. Maybe that's factored into the price of the seats. Them balls ain't cheap, y'know.

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 5/02/2008 5:06 PM  

  • In case anyone wants to see pictures of the "lights out intermission" from tonight.

    By Blogger Joe Webster, at 5/03/2008 12:04 AM  

  • Growing up, there was a phrase repeated on many a Sunday morning while passing around the sports section.

    "Tom Boswell: Often Wrong, Never In Doubt"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/06/2008 9:27 AM  

  • We can thank our "gold glove" right fielder for blowing that lead. Very impressive range. Telling ya folks, he is very average defensively.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/06/2008 11:12 PM  

  • Or, better yet, send the Nationals back HOME to Montreal!!! First, we'd fill the stadium welcoming them back. Second, Montreal has better fans than Washington regarding baseball (let's not even talk hockey, 'cause you'd lose that argument in 1.3 seconds). Third, better hotdogs. Fourth, a better city. Geez, I could go on and on and on...

    By Blogger Jim Kraykorn, at 9/28/2008 4:18 PM  

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