Nationals Screw Small Plan Ticket Holders on Opening Night

Nationals Beer SignI’m a baseball apologist. There, I said it. I love the game, I love what it means to my family, I love what it means to my baseball playing friends. I’ve come to love the Nationals, our newest sports franchise, despite their abysmal record and the creaky stands and crotchety ushers out at RFK. But I will not apologize for the royal screwing that 20-game season ticket holders just got.

We re-upped our 20-game season tickets plan over the winter, and all six of us were ecstatic about sitting in the new ballpark for the opening night. Though our 20-game plan didn’t include opening night seats, season ticket holders have all been given the chance to buy opening night seats, knowing we’d be sitting somewhere other than our usual seats. We were fine with it.

However, then we found out what the Nationals’ plans were for us. We could buy two seats. Not six. Two.

Okay, tickets are constrained, I get that. But then why are full-season ticketholders allowed to buy two MORE seats than they have tickets for?

Enclosed beneath the cut is the excellent letter that my co-ticket-holder Adam wrote to Stan Kasten. We hope the Nationals choose to honor the allegiance that we have had to their franchise with the option to buy all six of our tickets for Opening Day.

Mr. Kasten,
I have been a loyal season ticket holder since 2005. There are six people in our partial season ticket plan, many of whom have stuck with it for the promise of seats in the new ballpark. Three of the six are my family (myself, my wife, and my son), and three are friends. All of us have been eagerly awaiting the first game at Nationals Park.

So imagine my dismay upon hearing that I am only allowed to purchase two (2) tickets for Opening Night. In previous years, we have been allowed to purchase as many seats for Opening Day at RFK as we had in our season ticket plan. But for this important and historic game, our loyalty is being repaid with a slap in the face. Not only can I not enjoy the game with the friends who have shared the ups and downs of the last three Nationals seasons, but I cannot even bring my entire family. Who am I supposed to tell to stay home on Opening Night – my wife or my son?

To add further insult to injury, I learned upon speaking with your customer service rep this morning (who was courteous and understanding, even though her answers were completely unsatisfying) that full season ticket holders are also being allowed to purchase two (2) tickets for Opening Night. If, as she explained, the rationale behind limiting us to two tickets is so that there are enough tickets for the general public, then why are 81- and 41-game season ticket holders (who already have seats for Opening Night) being allowed to buy even more? Do you only reward the loyalty of those who give you the most money? Are middle-class fans and families with children less important to you than corporate clients?

Here’s how you rectify this situation: Tell the full and half season ticket holders that they will have to live with the tickets they already have for Opening Night. Allow partial season ticket holders to purchase as many seats as they have in their season ticket plan, as you have in the past. The rest will be available to the general public. If there aren’t any seats left for the general public, then tough. As your customer service rep said to me, that’s the benefit of being a season ticket holder. That’s how you treat the loyalty of fans who you yourself have called your bread and butter. We’re not fair-weather fans who are just coming to gawk at the spectacle of Opening Night. We’re the grassroots, the footsoldiers who are there day in and day out. We’ve stood by you as others have decried the cutting of payroll and the loss of fan favorites like Alfonso Soriano. If this is how you’re going to treat us, t hen perhaps our loyalty has been misplaced.

Sincerely,
Adam T. & Tom Bridge
Season Ticket Account #293

6 Comments so far

  1. Don (unregistered) on February 15th, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

    Make no mistake about it: you’re flat-out being punished for not being the big spenders. The management has made the conscious decision that it’s more important for them to reach out to potential new customers than reward the lower tier of bulk buyers.

    Unfortunately you see this kind of thing all over the place. One of the worse offenders tend to be periodicals with teaser rates. I had to call the Wall Street Journal a week ago and tell them there was no way I’d be paying $150 for a subscription that I see advertised to new customers for $99.

    They, happily, backed down and extended me the same deal. It’s still sad that I had to make the call and demand that I get treated at least as well as people who had no previously handed over a dime.

    Here’s hoping the Nationals decide to show you some respect.


  2. Evil Moo (unregistered) on February 15th, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

    Seriously, why do you keep rewarding bad behavior? Isn’t it time to stop giving these guys your money after they treat you so poorly?


  3. Trapper John (unregistered) on February 18th, 2008 @ 3:46 pm

    Tom-

    I’m about to write substantially the same email to Stan. I’d be interested to hear if you heard back from him, and if so, how he explains himself.


  4. Trapper John (unregistered) on February 18th, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

    Tom-

    I’m about to write substantially the same email to Stan. I’d be interested to hear if you heard back from him, and if so, how he explains himself.


  5. Eric (unregistered) on February 18th, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

    I have the same issue with 5 tickets that I bought for our group. I kind of thought this might happen when they did something similar with parking (I don’t need parking, so I just didn’t worry too much). Well, this is a big deal. I bought my 20 game plan specifically to get the opportunity to buy opening day tickets before the general public. Before I put my deposit down in August I checked with the ticket office about this, and I got the following response:

    "Dear Eric,

    All of our season ticket holders will have an opportunity to purchase individual game tickets, including Opening Day, prior to the tickets going on sale to the general public. As soon as we determine when those tickets will become available, we will forward that information to you.

    Sincerely,

    Washington Nationals Ticket Sales & Service Department

    Pledge Your Allegiance"

    Each of the 5 in our group is a season ticket holder, as they will each hold a ticket for each of the 20 games. I bought my 20 game plan based on that email dated August 24th. Is this the definition of bait and switch, or just flat out fraud? I plan to talk to my rep tomorrow about this, and if I do not get the 5 tickets for opening day, I will follow up with the Better Business Bureau to resolve the issue with copies to Stan Kasten, Mayor Fenty and Councilman Evans (Ward 2, my ward).

    I have overlooked a lot of poor treatment by the ownership group, but this could really hurt my relationship with the team. Have they not considered the families who bought 4-5 tickets? Are they supposed to choose their favorite child to go to opening night? I am going to hold off on planning my spring training trip until I see what happens. Good luck all.


  6. Eric (unregistered) on February 18th, 2008 @ 6:21 pm

    I have the same issue with 5 tickets that I bought for our group. I kind of thought this might happen when they did something similar with parking (I don’t need parking, so I just didn’t worry too much). Well, this is a big deal. I bought my 20 game plan specifically to get the opportunity to buy opening day tickets before the general public. Before I put my deposit down in August I checked with the ticket office about this, and I got the following response:

    "Dear Eric,

    All of our season ticket holders will have an opportunity to purchase individual game tickets, including Opening Day, prior to the tickets going on sale to the general public. As soon as we determine when those tickets will become available, we will forward that information to you.

    Sincerely,

    Washington Nationals Ticket Sales & Service Department

    Pledge Your Allegiance"

    Each of the 5 in our group is a season ticket holder, as they will each hold a ticket for each of the 20 games. I bought my 20 game plan based on that email dated August 24th. Is this the definition of bait and switch, or just flat out fraud? I plan to talk to my rep tomorrow about this, and if I do not get the 5 tickets for opening day, I will follow up with the Better Business Bureau to resolve the issue with copies to Stan Kasten, Mayor Fenty and Councilman Evans (Ward 2, my ward).

    I have overlooked a lot of poor treatment by the ownership group, but this could really hurt my relationship with the team. Have they not considered the families who bought 4-5 tickets? Are they supposed to choose their favorite child to go to opening night? I am going to hold off on planning my spring training trip until I see what happens. Good luck all.



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