Hey, The Nationals Did Another Silly Thing to Sell Tickets

Kyle Scott - September 6, 2012

image from mobilwi.typepad.com

We haven’t done this in a while, mostly because the joke has been on the Phillies this year (and it still is), but it’s always fun to point out the hilarity that is often the Washington Nationals, who had 17,000 passionate fans in attendance Tuesday night proudly embodying NATITUDE as the hometown team entered the homestretch for their first postseason appearance ever

Apparently, however, that amount of people just won’t cut it for Nats owners, the Lerner Family. So, next year, they would like to sell more season tickets. How to do that? By creating a false sense of scarcity. 

I, along with probably about a dozen other people who are subscribed to such updates, received an email this morning:

Dear Nationals Fans,

As lifelong baseball fans and fellow Washingtonians, it’s impossible to fully convey how excited we are to see the Nationals success on the field while fans across the region embrace the thrill of a pennant race. With a solid pitching corps, sure-handed defense and a roster full of the best young talent in the game, the 2012 Nationals have generated plenty of excitement and a new attitude – or Natitude – here in the Nation's Capital. Together with you, we are building something special … and the best is yet to come!

Few things in our culture unite family, friends and communities like the game of baseball, and we want to make sure that everyone gets the opportunity to share in this great time-honored tradition. With this goal in mind, we have decided to limit the number of season tickets available for 2013 to 20,000 of our 41,000 available seats. We are committed to ensuring that every fan who wants to see a live game at Nationals Park has the opportunity to do so.

Therefore, with limited season tickets available, those of you who don't want to miss a minute of Nationals baseball should purchase your 2013 season tickets now! Additionally, this is the only way to ensure priority seating for the 2012 Postseason before tickets go on sale to the general public.

We are truly proud to be a part of bringing winning baseball back to Washington, D.C. The national pastime in the Nation's Capital is a special part of our lives and we want all Washingtonians to be able to share in this amazing experience.


The Lerner Family
and the Washington Nationals Baseball Club


Their stated reason for limiting the number of available season tickets? So more families, cultures, species, and empty seats can witness winning Nationals baseball. The real reason? They would be thrilled to sell 20,000 season tickets.

As I started writing this, the folks over at DC Sports Bog posted about the email and linked to this article from Nats insider Mark Zuckerman. He points out that the Nationals didn’t sell anywhere near 20,000 season tickets this season:

Team officials don't give out exact numbers, but it's believed the Nationals have sold the equivalent of about 12,000 full-season ticket packages. We know for certain that number is no greater than 14,520 (the smallest crowd of the season to date).


The Nationals will absolutely sell more season tickets this offseason, since they are all but guaranteed a playoff spot, but limiting them to 20,000, which could be greater than a 50% increase over this season, is nothing but their way of setting a goal for themselves. Reach that number and it’s a successful increase for the Nats. And if they do hit that mark, you can bet that they won’t start turning away season ticket customers 20,001, 20,002 and so on, because, as you know, the Nats have trouble filling those remaining 21,000 seats.


  • Pat September 6, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Amazing. The Nationals and Reds have the best teams in the NL and NOBODY shows up. What a joke.

  • Bob Mork September 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

    beat it Mike

  • Scottsnyder September 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

    It’s just marketing, kids. Nothing to see here.

  • James September 6, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Not really Mike. What I do know is that the Phillies have been below .500 for the better part of this season and will continue to out draw the first place team in the division this year and for years to come.

  • pat September 6, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Does anyone else realize the Eagles are about to start and there hasnt been anything on them at all. Phillies are done and no one and I mean no one cares about the Nationals selling tickets..

  • Ron September 6, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Mike, we can see the irony clearly. Why? Because we snuck down to the front row behind home plate since no one else was sitting there (or anywhere). We’re also keenly aware that your team’s (healthy) Ace, who helped your team make the post-season, will be sitting next to us because your GM and skipper are afraid to play him for fear of injury. Now that’s irony.

  • Evil #2 September 6, 2012 at 11:33 am

    technically, michael, you’re looking at multigenerational feedback. winning in 2008 has brought droves of new fans, but you’re looking at new generations of fans that will come to expect this team to win. you’re looking at the games now, even being five games under .500 on the season, and the seats aren’t what you’d call empty. you’ll continue to see that now, unless you see decades of losing, then you’ll see the same cultural changes sweep the other way. so really, you COULD call them fair weather, but really, i think it’s just the cultural swing in general.

  • Aaron September 6, 2012 at 11:35 am

    middle name COSMO = enough said…… fairy, go to sleep

  • Less is more with Charmin Ultra September 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

    What the hell is a fraud fan? You can be a diehard without going to a game, and being a diehard fan does not mean accepting the mediocrity that your team’s owner claims is supposed to represent your franchise. Booing, or not showing up when a team is atrocious and in a shitty field, is just about the only way the fans can let management know that they expect better.
    that being said, when nobody shows up for a team in 1st place, it just shows there is no fanbase.

  • Nat this September 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

    what part of WASHINGTON is it that you don’t understand
    deception is the name of the game

  • M.Durks September 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Cosmo – As a season ticket holder, we’ve watched our ticket prices rise year after year. Ending our Sell out streak, is a means of people saying that, we didn’t bitch at spending extra cash as long as the product was what we paid for- but now we’re letting Mr. Amaro Jr know that people will not pay that kind of money in 2013, if he assembles a team as stupidly as he did last off season
    Oh and our seats are still at least 85% filled, and average attendance is well over 20,000.

  • ThePhillyFlash September 6, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Man, talk about deceptive! I’d like to think not even gNats fans are THAT naive as to fall for such a blatant con.

  • Brad September 6, 2012 at 11:55 am

    It’s a basic marketing technique, you learn about it in college. If a grocery store has a sale on soup cans but has no limit on how many you can buy, people will buy less than when they put a limit on how many you can buy.

  • Andy (San Diego) September 6, 2012 at 11:57 am

    And they will be lucky to appear in more than 3 or 4 playoff games this postseason.

  • Rich September 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Does anyone else see the irony in a Phillies fan (or blogger, in this case) subtly mocking the Nationals for having fairweather fans?
    Posted by: Michael Cosmo DeNicola | September 06, 2012 at 11:03 AM via Facebook
    – Fair weather fans show up when the team is good.

  • The piece of hay stuck in the horse teeth of Rhea Hughes September 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    i sort of see what cosmo is saying. yes, the phillies have seen tremendous numbers at the gates the last few years and some of it can be attributed to bandwagon jumping. however, referencing the vet of the late 90’s is like comparing apples and oranges. unlike the vet, nats park is a great venue. yet, despite having awesome eateries/amenities and a 1st place team playing on its field, all they can draw is 17k?!? even with the vet being a complete shit hole and having awful phillies teams on the field, it would still draw more than 17k on a random wednesday night! wow, it’ll sure will be fun to watch the gnats crash and burn in the opening round. it’ll be even more fun when the phils bounce back from this fluke year and dominate the gnats once again come next year. then natitude can go back to being a reference for an angry tool!

  • Rob Kardashian September 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    sup ya’ll. Check my sock line, just socks. its crazy cool

  • Walt Lafty September 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    what the F is going on with this site?!?!?!?
    give me something, been weak on here.

  • You got that right! September 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Didn’t the Expos have this same problem in 1994?
    Oh wait…

  • BigMikeySmallz September 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Oh mah gawd… is that Walt Lafty, lead singer of Silvertide and Automatic Fire, commenting on one of Kyle’s stories? Hey Kyle, why don’t you interview Walt about his love of Philly sports. That’s gotta be a better story than anything that’s been on the site in the past two to three weeks. You’re slippin’, bro… and the vacation didn’t help. 😉

  • Walt Lafty September 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I don’t usually comment but had too. Blog is going down worse then the power hour drinks at penny gardens

  • Mm September 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Hey mikey, shaddup brfore i get your ma (cindy) to put a foot up your ass

  • BigMikeySmallz September 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Bring it!

  • Thundergan22 September 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I don’t mind if they have low attendance. As long as they beat us we can’t ridicule them.

  • Eileen September 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    The Phillies fans are hardly fairweather – CBP continues to draw much bigger crowds than the first place Nationals. Washington is not a baseball town and never has been.

  • yo September 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Oh my God! A team trying to sell tickets!? Ya dont say! Pull the dick out of your ass, the Phillies suck

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