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SBD/May 9, 2013/Franchises
Double Switch: Nats Reverse Rainout Ticket Exchange Policy Following Fan Backlash
Published May 9, 2013
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ROLLING BACK THE RED CARPET: In DC, Thomas Heath notes until the Nationals "started winning last year, the team’s Red Carpet Rewards program was one of the few bright spots for its season ticket holders." Those fans "earned thousands of points that could be redeemed for seats all around the ballpark, or even access to the Lexus President’s Club." But with "no preseason notice, the Nationals front office for the 2013 season significantly diluted the Red Carpet Rewards program, and the number of points needed to buy extra benefits increased dramatically." A game against the Phillies on May 25, for example, "costs 1,000 Red Carpet points for a field MVP or club seat, which is 10 times what it cost last year." The Nationals also "shortened the window in which tickets can be redeemed ahead of time to one month; last year points could be used to buy a ticket for any game in the season." Nationals fans are "crying foul." The program was "particularly loved by fans who would buy tickets for a full season and use points to buy extras for friends and family or better seats to watch some games up close." The outcry is "a problem that many teams in baseball would envy." Feffer said that the team has "expanded the options available to rewards members to include autographed merchandise, meeting players, viewing batting practice -- even throwing out the first pitch -- as a way to create value for season ticket holders." He added, "It’s not like we said, ‘Okay, you can’t buy President’s Club seats or Diamond Club seats or dugout box.' Those are still available. They just cost more points to get because there are fewer of them" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/9).