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Ticket prices at 'the new ballpark' show major increase over RFK
Published on June 8, 2007 By terpfan1980 In Baseball

So, I get the e-mail that tells me that the relocation guide for season ticket holders (and partial season ticket plan holders like myself and my partners in our own little ticket buying group) for the Washington Nationals is ready for me to check out and do my part on.  My part being filling out a survey that will inquire about my (and my partners in our ticket buying group) seating preferences for the seats in the new ballpark.

The new ballpark that is being built with taxpayer money from taxes on the more successful businesses in D.C. along with the taxes on the tickets that are sold for the new park (as well as the taxes that have been collected on ticket sales at the old park).  Approximately $670 million worth of tax money spent to buy the land, build the stadium, improve the infrastructure in the area, expand the nearby mass transit stop, build the parking garages, etc.  A few million here, a few million there, all from the public coffers.  All building a park that will house a team owned by real estate moguls with a few billion in ca$h back home in their bank accounts.

Admittedly a park that I desperately wanted the city of Washington, D.C. to build because I strongly believe that the park will spur a rejuvenation of the area where the park is being built, very similar to how Baltimore developed its own crown jewel with the Inner Harbor and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  An area of D.C. that was screaming for urban renewal and improvement and which I still hope sees major redevelopment.

But, as it turns out it may be a park that myself and most other fans wind up not being able to afford to attend games at

I am very hopeful that things will work out, but my ticket buying group is looking to be a bit smaller next season.  One of our group members is at retirement age and has been talking about heading West to Phoenix for a while.  Losing him means losing approximately 1/4 of the pool of money that was buying tickets this season.  He is a big fan of the Dodgers and loves to see the West coast teams as he can track the impact on his beloved Dodgers while watching the local boys hopefully beat up on the Dodger's rival teams when they come to visit D.C.

Even without losing him though my group is having second (and third, and fourth) thoughts on buying tickets for next season and future seasons because of the costs of the tickets that have just been announced.  You see, I'm not a rich man, despite being a somewhat conservative voter, and despite what some people believe about somewhat conservative voters.  Far from it (being rich), I'm a paycheck to paycheck living individual for the most part.  Digging into my pocket for $10 for a baseball game means scrimping on meals, or giving up other luxuries that I might enjoy.  This year, participating in this ticket buying group (leading it actually) meant basically giving up summer vacation as my vacation will instead be spent going to games at RFK.

A large part of the reason I led this group into getting season tickets this year was because there was the promise (and/or threat) of having a reserved spot on the season ticket availability list for next year.  Season ticket holders in the current year are guaranteed priority for next year, the first year in the new park.

... continued in the comments area.  Please continue reading there, thanks!


Comments
on Jun 08, 2007

Continued from the main article above, thanks for continuing to read here.

I carefully scoped things out, found decent tickets in the cheaper seats this season, and put together the buy for those tickets at prices that worked out to approximately $9 per ticket per game for a pair of seats.  Not the best seats (actually somewhat crappy seats because there's a railing that is right in front of my seats that you bang your knee into while sitting in the seats), but seats with decent sight lines, fairly convenient access to the restrooms, and right in the front row on the aisle.  Not the cheapest seats in the place, but among the least expensive seats.

Unfortunately seats that apparently won't exist in the new park.  In the new park, the cheapest seats will all be more expensive, and much less plentiful.  For the most part the closest comparable seats will be literally *twice* as expensive as the seats were this season.  That holds true throughout the park.

There are a total of 3,000 'cheap seats' available for season ticket holders.  There are even fewer 'cheapest seats' available but those seats aren't available for season ticket plans of any type, as those will be single day purchase only and by the time fans add the typical Tickets.com fees to the prices for same, they won't be a bargain either.

It seems that the Nationals owners have decided that their team is the most valuable team in all of MLB, at least starting next year.  Ticket prices that were a bargain will all be at least twice as expensive, and many will be 3 times more expensive.

I fear that the fans that are currently disguised as empty seats this season may be even more plentiful next year.  As things stand, there's a bit of a furor over these ticket prices and many people like me are reconsidering how many tickets we can afford next year, and/or how many games we can buy tickets for.  With gas prices that are driving us all crazy, food prices going up because farmers are selling more of their corn to help make Ethanol, and electric prices that are going through the roof thanks to the second most screwed up version of Electric competition ever implemented (second behind California back in the old Enron days!), the available funds for buying tickets for the local baseball team just may not be there.

Many people may wind up staying home and watching the games on TV, or they may wind up rediscovering the team up the interstate, the Orioles.  They may decide that Oriole Park at Camden Yards is just as good as the new ballpark in D.C. only much less expensive to buy tickets at.  If they do, then more talking heads may pop-up to remind us that D.C. doesn't support baseball at all and didn't deserve a team at all, all while ignoring the robber barons that have decided that 100% price increases for tickets are justifiable for a team that has yet to really come close to being competitive for anything other than last place in the league.

on Jun 09, 2007
Good article terp. The owners don't really seem to be clued into DC at all. I don't know what our tickets choices are in the new stadium, but was surprised to see that our tickets (and by "our" I mean the company I work for) jumped from $45 per seat to $50. Even without the lobbying ban, these tickets are useless to us because they exceed the gift limit by one penny. You'd think that the owners would realize that the "business" in DC is politics and that you price the tickets so that the lobbying firms can't use them you will lose business.

I think this is one of the reasons for less attendance this year, and I would bet they are trying to make up the revenue on the backs of everyone else!
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