SBD/Issue 16/Franchises

Inauguration: Nationals’ First Season In DC A Success

Nationals Conclude Successful
First Season In DC
After the team’s inaugural season in DC, Nationals President Tony Tavares discussed the state of the franchise with Thom Loverro of the WASHINGTON TIMES. While the Nationals drew around 2.7 million fans this year, Tavares said no-shows were “a huge issue. We are going to try to address that in a resale policy in our ticketing agreement going forward. What we would be looking to do is to put our season-ticket holder in a position that if he is not using his tickets, this would give him an electronic secondary outlet to sell his tickets on.” Tavares added, “I am looking at doing more day games during the week next season, because those have been well received.” Tavares said the team’s “TV situation is one of the biggest corrections that must take place during the offseason. You need broader distribution of MASN.” More Tavares, on the playing field at RFK Stadium: “I have seen cow pastures that look better than that. It is deplorable. That is a condition that must be corrected for next season” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/1).

WELCOME BACK: In DC, George Solomon wrote the 2.7 million attendance figure is “remarkable when you consider the club did not become operational until February and renovations to [RFK Stadium] continued through this weekend.” Also, the dispute between Comcast and MASN “greatly restricted television viewing of the games so necessary in the marketing of any sports team” (WASHINGTON POST, 10/2). In Baltimore, Jeff Barker notes the Nationals this season were among “baseball’s elite in sales of caps and other merchandise” (Baltimore SUN, 10/3). In a front-page piece in Sunday’s WASHINGTON POST, Barry Svrluga looked back upon the Nationals’ ’05 season. Nationals CF Brad Wilkerson said of MLB’s sale of the team, “I hope they get off their butts and start moving (on ownership), because I think [DC] ... could be one of the top four or five places to play in the whole major leagues. But I think having [MLB] owning this team, there’s still a cloud over the team’s head, where a lot of things can’t move in the right direction to make it the best it can possibly be” (WASHINGTON POST, 10/2). A WASHINGTON TIMES editorial states that while “off-the-field uncertainty looms” concerning a new ballpark and new owner, “We’ll address those problems moving forward. For now, it’s time to savor a season well played and a banner year for baseball’s return to Washington” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/1).

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