Friday, October 27, 2006

2007 Season Tickets/Seat Rights Holders

Our Washington Nationals, without much fanfare, began taking deposits for NEW SEASON TICKET SALES for the 2007 season. What is interesting for current season ticket holders are some additional early benefits announced, all new for 2007.

Back on September 18, before the rescheduled home game versus The Atlanta Braves, The African Queen and I were invited to a sitdown, along with about 15 other Season Ticket Holders, with Team President, Stan Kasten, and many of his other right hand men/women involved in the Business side of The Nationals. The gist of the meeting was to gather, as much information as possible, concerning the fan experience at RFK Stadium and beyond. The meeting, turned, at times, into a "SELFISH FAN" Experience chat, most every single person, except the Queen and I, wanted to talk about, one thing and only one thing--"I WANT THE BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE AT THE NEW STADIUM" Whining, moaning and weasling to get something they may not necessarily deserve.

You could tell Kasten and his associates where getting a little tired of the mood in the room. Finally, Sohna and I were able, ever so briefly, to get in some pointed fan experience questions--we felt would help EVERYBODY, not just our wants and needs. Quickly, we asked for cheaper parking, different choices on parking plans for season ticket holders (not just 81 games and nothing else, for those days when you come from work on the Metro--wasting a parking pass). More flexible return policies on unused tickets, the opportunity to see Nationals Batting Practice, Larger Team Store Discount, and for those ticket holders that come to virtually every single game--chances to meet players, Diamond Club Privleges, More Season Ticket Holder events---just to name a few. We, as Season Ticket Holders, have invested in Our Washington Nationals, for the long run-- and deserving of perks for that devotion.

Later, Sohna and I followed up with an email to management, emphasizing our points--adding a few more. And, it was answered-thoughfully, with an honest view and what could and could not be realistic.

On the website under 2007 Season Ticket Deposits, the opening salvo from that meeting and other Fan Focus Groups, The Nats state that there will be a Flexible Ticket Exchange Policy for unused seats, Bonus Coupons for additional seats to game, Pre-Sale Opportunity for Major Events, and, very important to us--Exclusive Season Ticket Holder Events. All of which, we are very pleased to see. I am sure more will follow.

Pubicly, in writing for the first time, the Nationals are beginning to state their policy on seating priority in the New Stadium, answering all those season ticket holders that kept hammering Mr. Kasten this past September. The statement says you must purchase 2007 Season Tickets to have seating priority for 2008 in the new stadium.

The website reads:" Secure your 2007 season tickets and guarantee seating priority for the Nationals new Ballpark opening in 2008! Deposits for 2007 season ticket plans are now being accepted. Coming soon, the Nationals will announce seating relocation process for Washington DC's New Ballpark, which gives priority to existing season ticket holders. This is your chance to lock in your spot today. Don't miss out -- enjoy the best seats and the biggest games at the lowest prices in 2007 and lock in your priority for 2008."

During that Fan Focus Group on September 18, Mr. Kasten stated, in total clarity--(paraphrasing here) Anyone who has been a Full Season Ticket Holder from the very beginning in 2005 and has remained a Full Season Ticket Holder for all 3 years at RFK, you are GUARANTEED to be allowed to sit, in virtually the EXACT SAME LOCATION in the new park. Then, those with 41 Game Plans will choose next, then 20 Game Plans, all by when you originally purchased your plans. 2006 and 2007 Season Ticket Holders and Plans will be added, in order. You also must remember, most of the Rich and Famous, and the Corporations, will now move to the Club Level Suites, freeing up alot of seats now taken in the lower bowl of RFK.

In Section 320, we are 25 rows from the field, behind the 3rd base dugout. Under this announcement, this will allow ALL OF US to stay in the exact same spot on South Capitol Street. Additionally, Mr. Kasten stated that everyone will receive a detailed brochure with a questionnaire asking for our desires in the new stadium--to stay where we basically sit, or move. At the same time, early next year, all of us will have access to a 3D Computer Graphic allowing viewing of exact seat locations/views on South Capitol Street.

I know there has been alot of speculation out there, many negative comments, concerning seating in the Nats New Stadium. From what I have been able to find out, in person, and in follow up commentary--it really looks to me, that The Washington Nationals are doing their best to make it work for everyone-fairly. The Nationals statements over the past few days, falls in line with everything Sohna and I were told personally. Will someone get angry and upset, because they feel they got screwed, you better believe it-its bound to happen. But, they do appear to be trying to work everything out. FOR EVERYONE.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to ask you this question. I've been having a raging argument with "Richmindc" at the MLB board. He lives some distance away from Washington and he does not like to take Metro. He resents any suggestion that the ballpark should be built to encourage fans to come by Metro and that if he can't drive, he won't go. I have tried to tell him that it isn't a question of EITHER parking OR Metro, but that it does make sense for D.C. (which is paying for the stadium) to encourage fans to take Metro and spend their money at new bars, restaurants, hotels, and stores near the stadium. He seems to think that the stadium should have as much---if not more---parking as RFK and that most fans (studies to the contrary) are like him and want to drive to the park rather than take the Metro.

The reason I am posting this is that you have said that you (and the African Queen) drive to the ballpark and I've seen you in 320 most of the games that I have attended. What is the right balance that should be struck for parking? If you have NO parking whatsoever, it's going to hurt the Nats. Lack of parking was one of the problems with Griffith Stadium during the 50's and it is unrealistic to expect everyone to take Metro. On the other hand, if the ballpark ends up surrounded by acres and acres of parking with no place for fans to spend money except at the stadium itself, people are going to wonder why the stadium was not built more cheaply near RFK Stadium...

Anonymous said...

I am one of those who drive to every game I attend. From Waldorf, I don't have convenient access to metro. So I am not looking forward to the move to the new stadium. Coming from Waldorf, Lot 8 at RFK was so easy to get into and out of that I didn't mind the traffic at all. I'm leery of the parking at the new stadium. Walking a mile or taking a shuttle from the parking area doesn't appeal to me. Plus just getting to the parking areas is going to be a pain. For the more casual fan of the Nats, like myself, the parking issue could affect the number of games attended. It is a difficult balance of having enough parking, but not too much. Anyhow, my thoughts.

Screech's Best Friend said...

I actually prefer to drive, when I can. From Alexandria, We can be to the park, even during rush hour in 25 minutes, and home usually 30 minutes after the game. On work days, I take Metro and The African Queen meets me there. Metro is fine, it works and it can be convenient, but I rather have my own choices on when to show up, tailgate, and leave. We are not big fans of the around the ballpark bars, shops and entertainment. We are baseball fans and that's why we go, really. The new stadium will have no where near the number of parking spaces than RFK, much, much less, and what becomes available will, most likely be, by Office Buildings taking the overflow parking. That is going to be more expensive too. I understand the reason for the restaurants, hotels and stores--its to bring in the more casual fan and make the entire area a happening place, and I am sure that will occur, over time. If it didn't The Nats might as well stayed at RFK Stadium. There are 10,000 parking spaces at RFK Stadium, its enormous!! Once everthing has settled down, I am sure that there will be about 5-6,000 spaces available near the New Park--just not right away. Its going to work out. You are never going to get EVERYONE to take Metro, just not going to happen. In San Diego at Petco Park, there are only 2 lots next to the Stadium, everything else is picked up by office buildings. Its worked out. Even, Camden Yards, has office buildings, and the city, taking up alot of parking for O's games. The overall parking bitching by The City, The Lerners and The Media has just gotten silly and overblown, in my opinion. There is no way a good businessman is not going to see dollar signs to find parking around that Stadium on South Capitol Street. Of course, driving on South Capitol Street, getting to a game, during rush hour, is an entirely different story and blog. Don't let that guy from Richmond get to you, I had actually been following the rant the past few days. Let him go.

Troy Stiffer!! Making a Comment, I am HONORED!! Fellow 320!!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Make that Stiffler!! By the way--Troy, Sohna just mentioned that if you don't come to the games because of parking, she's going to be mighty pissed at you. She loves sitting to your left, always. SEE YA!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments, guys! I feel more comfortable talking about this subject here, because "Richmindc" absolutely refuses to understand that I don't think Nat fans should have the option to park. He seems to think that unless parking is as plentiful at the new stadium as it is at RFK Stadium, there is no sense in him going.

Every day I go to the stadium webcam to see what has been added each day. Whenever I see something new I haven't seen before, it gives me hope that not only will the stadium be finished, but that the future for this franchise will also significantly improve.