Monday, September 08, 2008

Are You Renewing Your Season Tickets?


Polls usually don't give justice to the real meaning of any question. Yes, No, or Maybe just doesn't do it for me. There are always varying degrees of thoughts to be expressed.

So, with Our Washington Nationals announcing their 2009 Season Ticket Prices last week, where does that leave you in your thinking about renewing your Season Tickets for The 2nd Year Of New Nationals Park? We really want to know.

Sohna and I are re-upping, obviously. We love our seats in Section 218 and we are in this for the long term, not just for one season. 20 Years from now, health allowing, we still hope to be attending games on South Capitol Street. These are Our Washington Nationals, in Our Own Ballpark, in Our Own City--The Nation's Capital. We love those facts.

Understanding there are going to be up years--and there are going to be down years--we are supporting The Franchise. The African Queen and I expect to be there for the entire journey.

How about you? Why? Why Not? If not, how can the team make your experience better? Let's hear from you.

PS: And I will remind everyone--we are looking for your personal opinion about your ticket renewal or even relocation, not your insults. That's not what this blog is all about. You can make your informed points without trashing anybody. If you do--The African Queen says you will be deleted promptly. And let me tell you--she means it!!

41 comments:

Steve said...

I'm going to buy the same number of tickets (20 out of 40 in a 20-game plan) that I bought last year, just in a different way. My 20-game partner is not renewing. I'm going to use my 20 of the 40 tickets by taking my family of 5 to four games. This year, we went by 2 and it's more fun when the whole family goes. I'll also go to other games with some friends, about 5 more. Enough to see a lot of baseball, within my budget, enough to make each game special.

I do fear that, overall, renewals will be way down because of the rough season the team had in 2008 and the generally negative or non-existent coverage the team receives in the mainstream media (other than the Washington Times).

MikeHarris said...

I am undecided.
Even though I kvetch a lot, I'm like SBF and I hope to be in this for the long haul. My reasons for being undecided have nothing to do with my dissatisfaction over some aspects of team management.
For me, a 20-game plan is the only one that makes sense given the distance (130 miles to the park) and my job that requires weekend work. This year, I bought tickets in the 400 level. They are fine seats but 400 is a little too far away for my old eyes.
If the 300 level is made available for 20-game plans, I will definitely buy two tickets again. I really like the 300 level. If they are not available, I don't think I will renew and will instead pick and choose my games and buy tickets individually.
We try to buy a game before or after our package games and make a weekend out of it whenever we can. We usually buy those extra tickets in the 300 level. I'd love to be in the 200-level club but that is too pricy for me.

Andrew said...

Great idea for a Post as I was curious what everyone is doing too.

Yes, I'm renewing my Section 104 Row A seats and my Lincoln Suite.

I may also look into adding some "red" seats if Row A ticketholders don't renew.

I will probably sell some of my outfield seats in blocks of 4 seats this year on StubHub or other method like bringing in some partners as too many games went unused this year.

Chris Needham said...

Aren't you locked in to renewing your Suite? Weren't they signing up people for 3-year contracts?

Or have they cut back on that since their initial efforts to sell suites haven't gone as well as they were hoping?

Anonymous said...

We are going to sign up for season tickets again (partial season plan) and we will likely change seats. We sit in 407, but we moved around a bit during games to get a sense of the stadium and other site lines. My general opinion is that there are two distinct fan experiences between the upper deck and the lower. The crowd is generally good (except for Philly fans) but the upper deck has very little interaction with efforts to include the crowd (t-shirt toss, screech visits, even camera shots) and the food fare is very different. All of this is very different than the RFK experience. I guess that is in the price of the ticket, but it is something we will keep in mind as we decide on our new seats.

dcbatgirl said...

I plan to renew my 2 full-season tickets. I've been happy in Section 113, but would love to upgrade by moving closer to the field, closer to home plate, or both.

If by some miracle, 4 great seats (all together) were available in Section 116 or 117, I would probably up my commitment from 2 seats to 4. (So, if you sit in 116 or 117 and are feeling grumpy, feel free to not renew.) The group that shares my season tickets is terrific, and I would love to be able to sit together with them more often.

Like SBF and the AQ, I anticipate being around indefinitely. And like many who have vented in various venues, I have frustrations from time to time (both baseball-related and otherwise). If I were to treaten to not renew, it would be a hollow threat. Instead, I look forward to continuing improvements across the board.

Mike Bowers said...

I will be renewing but I will be moving to cheaper seats. I am in Sec 105 about 12 rows from the field. Many days I could buy scalped tickets or stubhub tickets that were better than mine and CHEAPER! I want to and will remain a season ticket holder, but am moving to a cheaper section (I plan to spend a lot of time at the Red porch) until the better seats market value is equal to the price I pay for them. PS Another reason for the move is that I missed a bunch of games due to work and that is harder to stomach at higher prices.) With all that said I do appreciate the Nats making an effort by droping some ticket prices.

Steven said...

I only do day of game seats because my travel and fam sched is too nutso. However the difference between the 5-block walk to RFK versus the 17 blocks to the soon to be Exxon Mobil Stadium have cut my game attendance from about 20 games to 4-5.

So bottom line, I'll go to about 15 more games if they move back to RFK.

SH said...

As for me, the difference between downgrading to a 20 game plan from my 41 game plan hinges on whether Jim Bowden remains with the franchise.

An Briosca Mor said...

As we all know, seat prices for next year have already been announced. Several days before that e-mail went out, I happened to be in the ticket services office waiting in line to upgrade my seat for that night when I overheard a guy in front of me asking about the possibility of relocating his seats for next year. He was told that in about a month all season ticket holders will be receiving information about how to do that. My guess is that the front office has realized that there is widespread discontent with the whole season ticket process (dissatisfaction with seat locations offered in the original relocation, disgruntlement over having to sit through bad games, etc, etc) and that in order to pre-empt some of the "I'm canceling my tickets in protest" they will be conducting a combined renewal-relocation process at the end of this season. In other words, we will probably be asked either to pledge our allegiance to our current seats for another year by ponying up a deposit, or if we want to upgrade we will be given another questionnaire or priority-selection list and also asked to pony up a deposit on relocated seats. Then once the early deadline hits for those deposits, those who haven't paid up will be removed from their seats and others will be upgraded into them. All of this process will play itself out before they open up sales for new season tickets. (Like there's actually going to be any demand for that, right?) But anyway, what this would do is force people to make their decisions quickly, without dragging it out until they know if there will be a major free agent signing or trade that would drastically change the product on the field for next year, or if Bowden will be fired, or any of that.

As for myself, I'm like Mike Harris in that I took a 20-game plan in 420 because they wouldn't let me into the IF Gallery where I really wanted to be. I actually like my current seats except that they use my section for group seating and the ushers don't control the aisle traffic at all so there's always someone blocking my view. (Except for April and September when my whole section is empty and it's like having my own private skybox.) So for next year I have made tentative plans to instead buy 20 games worth of seats in an existing group in the IF Gallery, as a way of circumventing the prohibition of 20-game plans there. Unless they make it incredibly easy for me to upgrade into my own 20-game plan in the IF Gallery in whatever relocation process they run, I'll follow through with that and they will technically lose a season ticket holder even though I'll still be going to just as many games. (Of course this assumes that the group I'm planning to join makes it through the early-commitment process without disintegrating. I suspect this might be an issue with a lot of season ticket accounts that are actually groups or scalpers/speculators. In years past, these account holders were willing to take some upfront risk figuring that they'd be able to fill their seats for most games. But as we all know, that will not be the case going forward so I suspect there will be fewer people willing to assume that risk. Which of course greatly improves the opportunities for those wanting to relocate.)

Anonymous said...

I sense a lot of uneasiness here, but it seems a lot of people are keeping their plans only because they love baseball.

Anyhow, I will downgrade from my 41 to 20, but they really need to cosnider adding a 13-game weekend plan (either Sat. or Sunday dates).

Also, the organization needs to do more to involve the fans. One post here raised a very good point -- the fans in the upper deck are seemingly left out of fan participation.

Yeah, it's one thing to spend $100 for a ticket rather than $10, but you have to treat every customer like they are important.

I also raised in a previous entry that fans (at least season ticket holders) should be able to see batting practice up close (for autographs/interaction), rather than be sequestered to left field.

The bottom line is the Nationals must improve the product on the field.

Sec314 said...

We're renewing our three full season tickets in Section 314 and may go for four. I am in this for the long haul. The wound to my inner 11 year old boy from 1971 has never healed and I will do everything I can to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Mike-in-131 said...

I'm in a large group that has eight season tickets. I took 40 tickets and went to 20 games with my wife. It will be less next season, probably about 12 games or 24 tickets. My guess is that our group will be down to 6 tickets.

I'm a fan of baseball and will go to see both our Nationals and the other team. Aside from possibly Zimmerman and maybe Guzman, the Nationals do not have a single player at the top half of his position. With the young middle infielders, Guzman may be pressed is he starts off slowly or his defense slips even a small amount. Zimmerman has solid defense but is a bit weak in corner infield power. Naxt season will be a big year for him as the injury was likely a factor. NJ is a good 1B but how many games will he play. His big plus is his defense. Everyone else at 1B is a liability. Dmitri is an AL DH with zero range and bad short hop skills. However the man can still hit but in the NL he is a liability. The Nats have to bite the bullet and get at least one power hitter. No one with 20 HRs is bad.

I don't see any #1 or #2 starters on their roster or in the minors. They need some #2 type guy who will be our #1.

I'm generally happy with the team's disdain towards older stop-gap players but they need to make another one or two Milledge/Dukes trades/pickups and hop they hit on one of them.

Absolutely love the site and hope to stop up where you are at one of my final four games.

An Briosca Mor said...

One post here raised a very good point -- the fans in the upper deck are seemingly left out of fan participation.

Unfortunately, even up there we are still close enough to be annoyed by Clint. And there is one advantage to seats up that high. Two advantages, actually. The noise from the speakers is not as deafening as it is down below (where between innings it's almost impossible to carry on a conversation), and up in the Gallery level there's almost always a bit of breeze. I'll take those two any day over the opportunity to get bazooka-ed with a T shirt.

Andrew said...

Chris Needham said...
Aren't you locked in to renewing your Suite? Weren't they signing up people for 3-year contracts?

Or have they cut back on that since their initial efforts to sell suites haven't gone as well as they were hoping?


They were offering 3, 5 and 10 year options on the Suites when I got mine.

I am not sure what they are doing now but all Suites on the Washington and Lincoln level are sold-out except for 1. By the looks of the upper level Jefferson Suites there looks to be several that are not always occupied.

Anonymous said...

I've had 2 tickets for 20 games as part of a group that has the full season plan in the infield gallery. I won't be rejoining the group, but only for the reason that I usually end up going to the games alone, so I pay for 2 tickets and only use 1. I'll just get better tickets off StubHub for myself for an equal number of games next year.

Anonymous said...

I'm dropping my 81 game plan and joining a group. The group has better seats and I don't particularly feel that the Nats care about me as a STH. That's impression I get anyway.
Now I still love the team and love baseball. I watch - consider me one of the 9,000. Casey.

Eric said...

I am definitely not re-upping my season tickets. I have been to every opening day since the return to DC, have arranged 20 game plans for groups of up to 8 people (depending on the year) and have bought 40+ tickets for single games when I arranged tailgates. However, this year I was promised opening day tickets for the 5 seats in my plan, but was only given 2. I will not rehash the details, as I was attacked back at the beginning of the season by the Nats ticket office and An Briosca for my thoughts on the subject. However, I will respond to the smug response of the Nats by not renewing for next year. I will continue to be a fan, but will get my tickets at a discount off craigslist, stubhub, etc and never again be a season ticket holder.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Yes, I am. If I can upgrade to $25 seats, I'll try, but at the minimum I will get the $20 seats that I have now.

Even if there were no budgetary constraints, time restraints will prevent me from getting more than 20 tickets. Hope to see you both at the ballpark!

Eddie Cunningham

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Mike Harris, let me preface by saying that I am not only a staunt Nationals fan, but (as anyone who has read my comments here or at MLB would know) a kool-aid drinker and defender of the plan.

With that in mind, going to 20 games when you live 130 miles away is insane. No one would blame you for going to a couple of games and seeing the rest on MASN and WDCA-TV. That being said, if you do renew your season tickets, you are a bigger fan than me and I look forward to seeing you next year (and maybe this year, too) at Nationals Park!

Anonymous said...

If I can upgrade to the infield gallery for my partial plan then yes I will renew but if not I will probably buy single game tickets to the games I want to see because most sections had good seats available as game day walkups including your beloved Club level SBF!!!!! then I will probably also cherry pick the good seats on Ebay and Stubhub when no one else wants to go to the games...for example bought 2nd row behind the Nats dugout for $75 a pair.

The Nationals Enquirer said...

Never been a season ticket holder, but try to get out to ~10-15 games per season. However, keeping in mind the 'in it for the long haul sentiment' I'm looking to either start a group or join a group of season ticket holders...

William said...

I was a junior in college when DC got baseball back in 2005. I had gone to several games in Baltimore with my dad before DC got a team, and even remember being at Memorial Stadium in the pre-Camden Yards days. But, I never felt a connection to the Orioles. Even though baseball had left DC 12 years prior to my birth, I still was extremely excited when baseball returned. I scrounged up $170 for two nosebleed seats to Opening Day 2005, and ate nothing but Ramen noodles for a couple weeks to offset the expense of the tickets, and couldn’t have been happier to make the sacrifice. I first became a season ticket holder in 2007 with a 20 game plan, and expanded that to 41 this year, mainly to guarantee myself opening day tickets. I’m still slowly progressing my way through the career ladder, so my outfield gallery seats will have to do for another year or two, but I’m there to watch the game, not for the amenities, so I don’t mind. That being said, I do hate my seats which are smack in the middle of the row in sec. 304, so I’m looking to move to an isle, hopefully in sec 305. I also agree with some of the previous postings which have said the Nationals do little to show their gratitude towards season ticket holders, but I’m still pretending this is due to the team only being 4 years old, and management still getting accustomed to doing their jobs. And, despite my current personal dislike of the manager and ownership of the team, I love the concept of baseball in DC. Being able to relax at a game after work, whether a social outing with my girlfriend or mom, or a spirited discussion about a 6-4-3 double play with my dad, nothing beats ending a day at the park. And, I think few people realize the opportunity that we all had to get in on the ground floor with this team. No Red Sox, Cubs, or Yankees fan alive can say they’ve been there from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to renew my 81-game plan for 2009. I go to the park for the GAME, not the side-show. When the P.A. announcer refers to the Presidents Race as "The Main Event," I have to laugh. What about the remaining 5 innings of the game? Does that mean we have seen everything there is to offer and we can go home?
After last year's better than expected season, I was expecting a little more from this team than we received this year. The devastating rash of injuries couldn't be foreseen, but I lay much of the blame on the general manager who stuck with his former Cincinnati players far too long before making long overdue moves. He also rushed several players back from rehab assignments instead of letting them get on track in the minors. It took them another week to 10 days to get back into a semblance of a groove at the major league level. (see Pena, Lo Duca, Kearns, etc.) Then there's the trades and roster moves. How many young players are now out of options because Jimbo couldn't be patient? What's to guarantee that there won't be more of the same next year, and the year after, and the year after...? After 4 years of watching roster move after roster move, I feel disoriented. I don't know most of these players, and some of the ones I know, I don't like. I will attend on a game-by-game basis. That way, if there are too many immobile, out-of-shape players on the field, I won't be committed to watching them stumble, fumble and bumble their way around South Capitol Street every night. If I get shutout, so be it. I will become one of the few, the proud, the 9,000.

paul said...

I agree that Mike Harris wins the award as the biggest fan outside of SBF and AQ.

We are updating our bare bones season ticket plan and will probably feel this way forever, unless the Nats start operating like Peter Angelos in the mid-late 90's. It's hard to justify spending a lot of money on baseball--let's face it--but I do want to be a supporter.

It's definitely not a rational thought process when you sign up, though. It is an emotional decision, evocative of the first time you went to a major league game (for me, at the old Yankee Stadium) and the first time you did something good in a Little League game.

I like SBF's mock roster except for the fact we don't need three Punch and Judy middle infielders.

I am also curious as to why the Nats don't sell standing room tickets. I would think getting as many fannies into the ballpark would be as important as selling the high rolling seats. We also need a different atmosphere at the ballpark while the game is going on, which would be helped by real fans hanging on every pitch, not a lot of yuppies chatting about whatever.

janet said...

Love baseball, like my seat (upper infield gallery aisle seat, nice breeze).

If the general manager next year is someone other than Jim Bowden, it will be a no-brainer. As it is, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach with every story that includes "Nationals general manager Jim Bowden..."

An Briosca Mor said...

I am also curious as to why the Nats don't sell standing room tickets.

Isn't the sale of standing room tickets something that's only done when a game is a sellout? Does any other team sell standing room tickets when they still have plenty of seats that are unsold?

not about me, who cares who I am said...

Love my seats, love my Nats. 81 games year as long as I am able. GO NATS!

Not about me... said...

correction: at LEAST 81 games a year!

Abby's Dad said...

We love out Nats in good times and bad and want to keep our seats in the club level, but...

We are looking to add someone/group to our season ticket group. Family committments have caused us to miss a few games this year. If you are interested in club level seats for 20-30 games, I'd love to talk with you. Send me an email at bruinxctnf@aol.com.


Mike

***SBF if this kind of post is not ok on your blog, please delete.

Mr.Optimistic said...

I think it is better to have the tickets used than go to waste as most of us can't make anything close to 81 games.

By the looks of it if the Nats make the right off-season moves coupled with the smart move to lower/freeze ticket prices, season ticket sales should only see a small change with more last minute ticket purchases.

The stadium should have some windfall with the schedule based on some of the AL East games which will sell-out all 3 to Boston and if they market it well with TurnBackTheClock for the 3 against the old Canadian rivalry (Expos/Blue Jays).

If the Cubs play here in the Summer rather than early April like they did this year, that should also sell-out.

Same thing for the Cardinals which was during bad weather and a rain-out in early June so if that hits the Summer schedule will do much better in attendence.

I think the biggest determining factors for the season tickets is going to be rewarding the loyalty. There should be a Winter Warm-up for season ticket holders as well as other events that are for season ticket holders like Welcome Home Lunches, and after game meet/greets, etc. When they do these Season Ticket holder parties for 18,000 fans, it is waaaay too big. They need 5 to 6 of these throughout the season in smaller groupings.

NatsNut Maryland said...

Our situation is similar to Mike's. Work, home, and ball bark logistics made it difficult on late week night games even with a 20 game plan. We were also in the 400 level often surrounded by large groups with little interest in the actual game. We bought other tickets in Section 312, not available for the 20 game plan, and enjoyed it there much more. We were hoping the Nats would be ofering weekend packages in 09 but based on early advertising and Stan Kasten's previous comments, this sounds unlikley. We will probably purchase 10-15 weekend games next season and take Stan's advice to create our own mini plan unless options increase. Love the Nats and the disappointing season will have no impact on our decision.

Sam said...

SBF - We will renew for 09. As full Season ticket holders since 05, we too are in it for the long haul. We love our seats in the infield club level - No t-shirt tosses up in 216. I have, however, had to take on two partners in a three-way split this year to offset the cost. I am not sure if one of the partners will renew, all the poor play has taken its toll on their enthusiasm. The investment for me is more than just expecting a winning team on the field, it is about the experience of going to the Park. I still get chills walking down 1/2 street seeing the park lit up and hearing the noise of the crowd heading into the ballgame. I love the thrill of watching batting practice and seeing our team and our opponents warm up on the field. I love walking around the concourse taking in all the sights and smells of the cooking ballpark fare. I just love the whole experience of going to a game and the Nats ownership have been pretty good stewards of that experience. Yes there are some new park hiccups but it will only get better each year. Sure great play and curly W's just would make my experience even better but that will come in time. We are in for 09!

Take me out to the Ballgame!

Sam

Tracy said...

My Nats season ticket group in Section 116 has officially disintegrated. I'm the only one of 4 interested in keeping the tickets. If anyone is looking for partners for seats around the same level ($50/game). Let me know. I'm looking for 20 games or so.

Jumping Jahosafat said...

A 10 game plan would be perfect for me. I have not decided to renew my 4 seats in 113. We have the full monty for all 81 games that we split with a group of coworkers.

Even though the Nats froze the price for '09, the seats are still overpriced.

I think the organization misses a huge economic factor in pricing the seats. If the price is cheap enough whereby they draw 40k a game, they will reap huge concession benefits. More hineys, more spending inside the gates.

Dave said...

I am most definitely in it for the long haul. I have a full season ticket (two seats) in section 311, looking right down the first base line, right underneath the official scorer, and I love it.

I am, however, looking for more plan partners. Two of my partners are not renewing. I'm looking for four people who want to be in for 10 or 11 games out of the season. (So: Mike Harris and ABM, you could go in with my group and have 20 or 21 games in section 311, right behind the plate--and you would be able to select your own dates in our game draft.)

I will say that it is a lot harder to sell membership in my full plan this year than it was last year. I am indeed getting a bit nervous about having way more tickets than I can use myself. But I'm a committed season ticket holder, and like SBF, my wife and I plan to be sitting in those seats watching our Nats in another 20 years.

Jim the old fan! said...

I will definitely re-up. I was there for the last five years of the Senators ... Talk about a smelly team!! If it weren't for Hondo they may have never scored. Old Denny McLain was fresh out of jail! See even back then there were some real "foul balls" around. Ted Williams couldn't manage a lick! Some of the young players got a lot better in Texas. The current crop of Nats are really getting to be fun to watch. They do now hustle, they don't give up and they are showing evidence of starting to fulfill management's plan. They just gotta get healthy. I stayed with the O's as a season ticket holder for all the years after the Senators left until I was insulted by Angelos and our Nats came to town. I have a partial plan and would like a chance to improve my seats into the areas that full season holders have, they should get first choice of course. I don't like to be limited to specific sections. I would like to be in the Club seats or closer to the dug out if the seats were available after the full season folks got their seats. I do not like seeing so many out of town fans making noise down around the 1st and 3rd base. We Nat's fans should be the ones there making the noise.

LetTeddyWin.com said...

Tracy, ping me if you are still looking. We might have an opening to share some in section 128.

carolyn said...

We plan on keeping our two full-season seats, looking forward to the day when seats will be hard to get. We haven't made all the games but friends with kids have enjoyed the seats at other times. We have been disappointed that our section has not developed the camaraderie we had at RFK and that our view of the field is through an often grimy piece of glass. We also hope that the bus service from RFK continues next year so we can avoid the nightmare subway ride.

John R. said...

I won't renew the same seats (Section 231 RF Mezz). If Infield Gallery is offered to me on a 20 game plan, I might consider it.

I have realized that I am less a fan of the Nats than I just enjoy the entertainment of the ballgame. So, the fact that the record is so bad has had zero impact on this decision. I'm still having a great time at Nats park. I just want better seats!

The Green Miles said...

I won't be renewing. I'm tired of begging friends to join me in making the schlep to Southeast to pay $8 for beers and watch our team lose. There are always plenty of tickets available on game day, so why commit yourself financially in advance?