Nationals Instituting "Ultimate Ballpark Access" Card For Season-Ticket Holders
The Nationals on Friday will "send details of their new 'Ultimate Ballpark Access' card to season ticket holders" after running a similar pilot program last season, according to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST. The team said that the cards will "eliminate around 10 seconds from each person-to-person interaction with a ticket-taker." The same card within a few months will "serve as an 'e-Cash' debit card at Nationals Park retail and concession stands." Nationals COO Andy Feffer said the program represents a "monumental change" in the ticketholder-franchise relationship. The team will be "instituting the switch for all 20-game, 41- and 81-game plan holders this season." Sports execs believe that the Nationals could be "leading the way" for U.S. franchises. The Red Sox are "launching a similar pilot program for approximately 700 season ticket account holders this spring and hope to expand the program in 2014." But the Nationals have "gone further by combining every system in a single card, linking ticketing with concessions with retail with loyalty rewards that can be used for seat upgrades as well as such real-time offers as discounted popcorn and jersey specials." The team will "allow fans to buy 3-by-7-inch commemorative tickets on premium stock, both at the stadium and online" Ticket plan holders who "share seats can each register and receive their own cards; tickets can be instantly transferred from one card holder to another" on the team’s website. Feffer added, "This is an investment in your fans. How do you engage your fans in a way that provides better value for being a season plan holder?" He added, "Tickets were a transactional thing; you pay, and you come into the ballpark. Now, you’re engaging with your fans in a much different way that goes far beyond a transaction" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/1).