Friday, May 2, 2008

More Nationals Park Bashing!

The Nats won their 4th straight last night - their longest winning streak of the season - beating the Pirates at the new ballpark, 3 - 2... This was a real nailbiter - the Nats didn't score the winning run until the bottom of the 8th inning. Hmmm... I wonder how many people were there to see it!

The announced crowd at the park last night was 24,723. Again - this is the number of tickets sold, not the number of butts in seats. By the bottom of the 8th, I'd bet the crowd was at best 10,000 - because fans are already well-known for sneaking out early to avoid the crowds on Metro. My "friend", Randy Bernstein, did just that last week. He and his son Evan went to a game with an announced crowd of about 25,000. Randy tells me there were nowhere near that many people in the stands - and he also confesses to leaving in the 6th inning to beat the rush.

Now, everything I've just told you flies in the face of what Tom Boswell is reporting in his column in today's Washington Post. Boswell is almost desperate to declare Nationals Park a big success, and he's quick to point out that the team's revenue from attendance may double this season. Yeah, Tom... they've boosted the hell out of ticket prices, and the new stadium also brought in more season ticket buyers - of course revenue for the team is going to increase!
But what about revenue for the city, and for the vendors who opened concession stands on the promise of more fans?
The Nats have not had a sellout since opening night, and no matter what happy spin they put on it, they can't be happy with an average attendance of under 30,000 fans - a figure that is boosted by heavier weekend crowds - midweek games have drawn closer to 20,000. The Nats are going to make their money no matter what - DC has to pay for the stadium whether people are going to the games or not.
City residents better hope for more - and longer - winning streaks!

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