The Crowd is Thinning Faster than Your Hair

The first game sold out of course, but the second game in the new stadium was not so crowded. There have been people a little worried by this. It’s a new stadium, and in towns like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, the new stadiums (for cellar dwelling teams) all had more fans on day 2 than Washington. In fact, according to Capital Punishment, we set a record for lack of attendance. I am not big on the despair for this problem, for two reasons. First of all, the Reds, Indians, and Pirates have all resided in their respective cities for at least 90 years each. The Nats are working on their 4th. This is a big difference, in that fans are much more interested in seeing the new stadium for a team they have followed for generations than for a new team who also got a new stadium. For alot of fans, the team is the new thing, the stadium is just nice. Another reason I’m not concerned is that cold April weekday games don’t really have a big draw. Games at Yankee Stadium this time of year don’t look too crowded mid-week either (except for this season, when it is the last chance people will have to go to the stadium). Also, playing the Marlins doesn’t help with ticket sales either. People aren’t quite lining up to get a glimpse of Hanley Ramirez. Not yet, at least.

But What Can They Do?

Which brings me to a possible solution for the mid-week doldrums. When I wanted to buy a ticket package for the Nationals this year, I saw the minimum size was 20 games. 20 games! That’s a quarter of the home games. If you wanted Yankees tickets this season, you could have bought 15, 13, 12, 11, and even 8 game packages. The Nats would be smart to do something like this for several reasons. First of all, not many people are going to want to buy a 20 game package to a team that isn’t going to sell out many games this season. So the smaller deals adds incentive to people on the fence to buy games. They think “Oh, I only have to buy 12? Well, if I can’t go to all of them, I only have to try to sell off tickets to 2 games. That shouldn’t be too bad.” I wasn’t about to buy 20 games myself, for fear of my schedule not allowing me to go to more than half. Good luck trying to get my money back by selling the tickets I can’t use for a team that isn’t going to win.

The other nice thing about the small ticket packages is that if more people buy ticket packages, in any size, more people will go to mid-week games. That’s because if someone buys a ticket package, they’re much more likely to go to a mid-week game when a few of those tickets are forced upon them as part of the package. If they are only buying individual tickets, they’ll go when they want, which evidence suggests is the weekend. So with the smaller packages, there would be more people buying the packages, and consequently more people going to mid-week games.

Speaking of Giving Fans Incentive to Attend…

There I was, watching the Royals-Yankees game last week on my beloved MLB Extra Innings package, when I saw a local KC commercial that got me really excited. No, not the one for the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library Museum, North of Route 70. Actually, I’m talking about the commercial for the Royals game on April 12th where they GAVE AWAY JERSEYS to the first 20,000 fans. Look at those suckers!

I’m sure those weren’t the $80 replica jerseys, but still, this is an awesome giveaway. Could you imagine showing up to the stadium and getting a jersey? Well if you lived in Kansas City, it’s a reality. I scoured the Nats promotional giveaway schedule and the closest thing I could find to anything being as cool as a jersey giveaway was… nothing. Bobbleheads are nice, but they aren’t the same at this. T-shirt Tuesdays are too ambiguous for me to know, alhough I am assuming they will be smattered with corporate sponsors on the back. Nothing like a shirt that says EASTERNS MOTORS bigger than ZIMMERMAN. The Nats really don’t have anything that compares to this. Unless they are giving away laser-rocket arms on Roberto Clemente day.

By Charlie