StubHub before and after Jayson Werth’s Game 4 walk-off home run

Around the time the Washington Nationals’ Jayson Werth was rounding the bases after depositing a Game 4, 9th inning, walk-off home run into the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen, I checked StubHub for tickets to Game 5, which will decide who moves on to face the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series. That StubHub search showed there were 7,258 tickets available through the “fan-to-fan ticket marketplace” with Standing Room Only tickets starting at $50, as shown in the first screen capture below.

Just over 40 minutes later, there were nearly 2,000 fewer tickets available on StubHub and, as the screen capture below shows, the lowest priced Standing Room Only ticket was going for $83. With one swing of the bat, Werth has stimulated the DC economy, on StubHub and beyond.

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On BLY: 90.7% increase in price of these Caps season tickets over five years

With the new season ticket prices the Caps have announced for next season, two 400 level Caps season tickets that went for $1713 total in 2008-09 will now go for $3266 next season. That’s a 90.7% increase in 5 years.

It’s a business and the team needs to capitalize while they are hot, but raising the prices every year for five years and to this extent feels like a little much. Meanwhile, the Ravens announced their ticket prices will remain the same for the third straight year, with their president saying, “We know that our fans are continuing to be stretched financially to pay for season tickets. While the economy is improving, it’s still not strong.”

Why aren’t the Caps rewarding their plan holders a bit for their loyalty? Maybe take a year off with the price hikes? The Ravens have taken three.

Read more about it here: BrooksLaichyear.com: “Looking at the bigger picture and the dollars of the Caps continued season ticket price increases

On BLY: Looking at Caps tickets prices

Over on BrooksLaichyear.com, the Caps blog that my brother and I just started, I took a look at Caps ticket prices on StubHub and some upcoming games that might end up being fairly inexpensive. I got five tickets in the 400 level to last Thursday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets for $8.99 each late that afternoon on StubHub. Looking at the schedule and the StubHub prices and inventory, there could be some more opportunities for Caps ticket bargains coming up.

In other Caps news, for those who followed this blog for CSN/CSN+ related information, check out this post over on the DC Sports Bog, which explains that DirecTV has added CSN+ in HD. That took awhile—it’s only been 17 months since CSNWashington announced they’d start broadcasting all Caps and Wizards games in HD.

Supporting my local brewer

I made my first trip to DC Brau headquarters today, after reading a @dcbrau tweet that they had the FWR Imperial Pumpkin Porter on tap—I’m a sucker for any pumpkin beer and it’s usually tough to find them outside the fall season.

I’d had DC Brau’s The Public two or three times at some local bars, but had never visited their brewery. I sampled a couple of beers and got a growler of the FWR and a six pack of The Corruption to go, and the whole process was easy. There was a good crowd there too.

DC Brau

Kickball in DC on NBC

NBC 4 in Washington DC put together a very nice piece on WAKA’s kickball leagues in DC . Check it out at that link and you can visit WAKA’s DC area kickball page if you’d like to find a league to play in — we’re in DC, where it all started in 1998, and also have leagues in over 35 states.

Thanks to NBC 4 and to all the WAKA players that made us look good in this video. It talks about WAKA as a way to meet new people and touches on the charity fundraising our players do. There’s even a mention in there for World Kickball Championship Weekend.

Delivering the ‘Please do not lean forward’ message better

"Be considerate, do not lean forward"

Photo by Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22)

Corey Masisak with NHL.com tweeted the picture above from Vancouver’s Rogers Center tonight, pointing out that this Boston Bruins fan might be “in for an interesting evening” as an away fan at Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

What jumps out at me in the photo, as a Washington Capitals fan, are all the postings on the railings there in Vancouver that read: “Be considerate, do not lean forward.”

Though the set-up is different and doesn’t feature a railing between each row, people leaning forward in their seats and blocking the views of others is an issue during Caps games at Verizon Center (I’m guessing it’s a problem in many other arenas too and not only for hockey). Someone actually started a website called Verizon Center Leaners a little while back and people would send in pictures of fans leaning forward at Caps games and obstructing their view.

A video is shown before Caps games, where players go through some guidelines for fans, and it includes a request for people to not lean forward in their seats. The only problem is, many fans aren’t in their seats yet to see this message. I’ve heard the message is now shown between periods too—if so, you still have a lot of people not in their seats at that time.

I’d love to see the Caps add some sort of signage like the Canucks have encouraging fans not to lean forward. Perhaps they could place them on the back of the seats, on the floor or on the armrests. Or there might be some other creative way to get more people on the same page about it. The message isn’t getting through to some fans and I’ve seen some really awkward (and in some cases ugly) situations when one fan asks another to sit back in their seat so they can see.

I think the Caps do a great job at keeping people from returning to their seats when a puck is in play, with the ushers holding up “Stop” signs and not letting people through until a break in the action. If the team could do something equally as effective with the ‘please don’t lean’ communication, I know I’m not the only one who’d appreciate it.

Nats should leverage demand for a Teddy win to get something they need

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Ro...

Photo by Scott Ableman via Wikipedia

It’s been almost exactly a year since I suggested the Washington Nationals should let Teddy win their Presidents Race on June 4, 2010, as a consolation prize to all the fans who’d bought tickets  to that game thinking it might be Stephen Strasburg’s major league debut. But Teddy came up short in that race, leaving me to assume the Nats front office had simply not yet discovered mikeholden.com as a source for brilliant sports marketing ideas—it’s the only logical conclusion.

There was some speculation this past weekend that Teddy might win the Presidents Race on Memorial Day. Alas, Teddy did not win that one either. He remains defeated, the only one of the four racing presidents to have not won the race since it began back in 2006.

I’ve heard more than one Nats fans say that a Teddy win is being saved until the team does something like makes the playoffs or wins the World Series. But I have to agree with Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog that having Teddy win around one of those events might not be ideal.

Here’s what Steinberg wrote this past weekend:

It’s customarily been assumed by Nats fans that Teddy would win on the day of some sort of milestone: the day after the first clinched playoff berth, the day of the first home playoff game, the day of the first All-Star game at Nats Park, and so on. But if you think about it, from a marketing standpoint, that doesn’t make much sense. If Teddy wins on the day of a playoff game, it’s a note on page D7. If Teddy wins on some random day in May, it might be A1 in The Post.

Steinberg is right. Events such as a playoff berth are marketing wins all by themselves. So why not save the Teddy win for its own special random date and have it be a marketing win all by itself?

Better yet, why not use that Teddy win to get something the team really needs…more season ticket holders.

It’s no secret that the Nats could do better at the box office. And the just-completed series with Philadelphia drew attention to the fact that Phillies fans still enjoy invading Nats Park, making things miserable for the home fans…and Thomas Boswell. Even Steinberg is ready to throw journalistic standards out the window and start rooting for the Nats.

So, why not bring all of this together and create a situation in which everyone (except Philadelphia!) wins, including Teddy? Set a goal, Nats. Tell the fans that if the team reaches a season ticket holder base of xx,000, Teddy will win a race during the very next home game. This approach still leaves some element of surprise. Fans might know the team is close to its goal, but it won’t be until Teddy wins that they’ll know it’s been reached.

The Nats can break out the confetti cannons, maybe launch a few fireworks and have the xx,000 season ticket holder waiting to maul Teddy when he crosses that finish line. And immediately following that, people can go back to wondering when Teddy will win again.

So who’s with me on this? Set the goal, Nats. Make it season ticket related or use it to get something else you need (if he continues to underperform, building a package around Teddy for a proven #1 starter or a center fielder who can bat lead-off might not be a bad idea, even if that thought is tough to swallow. Or send him to Syracuse until he’s truly ready—Rizzo took his time with Strasburg and is doing the same with Bryce Harper, but Teddy got thrown right into the show). Just tell the fans what they must to do to get a Teddy win, Nats. It’s been five years. Let’s move this thing to Phase 2.