Friday, December 15, 2006
Is The Gouge On?
For the second time in 10 Days, The Lerner's have surprised me with little moves, never announced, that, in the long run--not only take extra cash out of my pocket, but yours as well.
Last week, I commented that when I checked online at Nationals.com and My Account, it came to my attention that The Washington Nationals are forcing ALL FULL SEASON TICKET HOLDERS to buy the upcoming March 31st Exhibition Game against the Baltimore Orioles at RFK Stadium. Yes, its a Charity Game, and I have gone in the past, but I should not be TOLD to buy that game, or anyone else for that matter, when its a game that does not count in the standings--its meaningless. So, why take a chance of pissing off your MOST LOYAL CUSTOMERS. 40 Game and 20 Game Plans were not told to buy this game. Quite a few fans read that post and some made comments.
Yesterday, I received my 2007 Season Ticket Renewal Package in the mail, with complete details. During the Inaugural Season of 2005, Parking for both Season Ticket Holders and Drive Up Daily Game Parking was $10 for everyone--no difference. Which for Season Ticket Holders, was a total waste of time purchasing the Parking Plan in advance. If you missed a game, The Nationals will not let you use a parking pass for any other game. They are game specific.
So--to help alleviate this problem in 2006, and put a few extra dollars in MLB's hands and the New Owners, after the sale of the team--Parking for Season Ticket Holders remained at $10 per game--Drive Up Daily Game Parking went up $2 to $12. Fine. It wasn't much of a difference. An odd price though, but I lived with it. The African Queen and I tend to take Metro mostly on the Workdays and Drive In from Alexandria for all other games.
Last fall, I asked Management whether it would be possible to buy a Partial Parking Plan, good for "X" number of games, not DATE EXCLUSIVE, that Sohna and I could use on any game where we may want to drive to RFK. Or, if we so desired, gave Multiple Parking Passes to friends attending any one game. We were told that the team would look into a "Partial Plan" but the Date Exclusivity must remain in place, because there is only so many parking spots at RFK (8,000 the last time I checked). The Nationals fearing that more folks might drive in on a certain date, with the generic parking passes, and overload the lots--thus turning people away from the gates.
Although I find that reasoning a little short sighted, I appreciated the fact that The Nationals would consider a "Partial Parking Plan" for Season Ticket Holders. Never in 2 seasons have I seen the entire parking lots at RFK SOLD OUT. Not once.
My Season Ticket Information Packet stated that for 2007, Season Ticket Parking will now be $12 per game, but no mention what the Daily Drive Up Cost might be. Or, whether there will be a Partial Plan. MickNats and I exchanged Phone Messages and Emails over this--wanting to know all the costs.
So-I emailed my ticket rep and asked what the daily rate would be, and what happened to the possible partial plans. This was the reply:
"We did raise the parking to $12 per game for season ticket holders. The game day price will be $15 per game. Unfortunately we will not have partial parking plans available."
$15!!! $15!!! I actually had to read that twice, then get the African Queen to read it again, for clarification. I was stunned!! All at a time, I thought the parking cost would just remain the same, just like most other ticket costs. I thought the Lerners were trying to attract fans, build a fan base--not make it more costly to attend. And, once again, Season Ticket Holders, those that are the most faithful and attend the most reguarly, are being singled out to PAY MORE--no matter whether you take The Season Parking Plan or do it Ad Hoc.
If Our Washington Nationals can't offer a Partial Plan, fine--but $15 to park at RFK is getting a little greedy. At a time when the team is dumping salary to rebuild for the future, lowering ticket prices to all but the most expensive seats, and flat out stating we will not compete, in all likelihood in 2007--The Nationals raise Parking at RFK to count up some additional cash. I would have to be completely shortsighted if I didn't expect some drastic price changes beginning in 2008 on South Capitol Street, not only for parking, but ticket prices as well. But, really, is this necessary, right now?
DC UNITED, still today, charges just $10 for the very same lots. Since its obvious The Washington Nationals will not control virtually any of the Parking Lots on South Capitol Street--is this a last stab to get as much as possible? What about the floated rumor that Fans can park at RFK in 2008 and take a free shuttle bus to the New Stadium? Does anyone think this will endear them to the idea? Not me. Its a very troubling sign.
Shades of Danny Boy in Landover.
Is The Gouge On??