Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sure, but . . .

The headline "Stadium less than half-full for Game 2 at Nationals Park" tries to make it sound like the Nats' new home is some kind of flop, but here's the tale of the tape:

Opponent: The Florida Marlins, perhaps the most faceless team since the post-trade 1993 Padres;
Game time weather: a generously-reported 50 degrees, following a day of rain;
Competition: NCAA Men's basketball Final

Don't the Nats get a little benefit of the doubt?

UPDATE: They don't, at least not from Chris Needham. I've learned, however, that Needham knows more about Washington baseball than anyone, so maybe I need to rethink my soft touch on this issue. There's some interesting analysis from Chris and Pete Toms in the comments below, by the way, so feel free to click through and check it out.


Chris Needham said...

Man, angling for a job with Stan Kasten or something? ;)

1) Yep Marlins blow.

2) The weather hurt the walk-up, but they count tickets sold in advance that were no-shows. Shouldn't there have been more than 20K interested in only the second game at the park (and the first that most 'real' fans had access to?)

3) If you can find ONE Nats fan who stayed home solely to watch the NCAA game, I'll buy you a beer (and pull some strings to ensure that Mike Bacsik never pitches for you in Columbus). If it were Georgetown, sure. But Memphis? Not too many Tigers running around DC, it seems.

Pete Toms said...

Washington remains an inferior baseball market. Yes attendance and more importantly revenues will increase this season due to the new stadium but season ticket sales / equivelants are not what they should be with a new stadium.

There are 2 fundamental problems that aren't going away. The market lacks a big corporate presence. There is a large African American community and they aren't avid ball fans.

Craig Calcaterra said...

As a rule, I've learned to defer to Chris on all things Nats and to Pete on all things business, so maybe I need to rethink this.

Chris Needham said...

I'm not sure I'd call it an inferior baseball market. It's just a market that's not going to support losing teams (save the Redskins).

I'm not sure the racial composition had a whole lot to do with it. Yankee Stadium isn't exactly in the Hamptons, and it seems to draw well. DC proper might be mostly African American, but the surrounding areas, especially in VA (where I'd guess close to half their fans come from) aren't.

Chris Needham said...

Nah... those excuses are a part of it, no doubt.

It's just kind of stinking embarrassing, really.

Those $300 seats behind the plate are mostly unsold, and the ones that aren't, aren't going to show up -- or they'll be huddling in the tastefully appointed bar inside leaving the huge empty section right where the camera is pointed all game.

And the OF seats in the HR porches are insanely priced -- $30 and up. The red seats in the LCF gap are over $45 for a game. No wonder the OF is empty!

Pete Toms said...

Unrelated to attendance but still significant problems for the Nats.

Angelos gets most of their RSN revenue via MASN.

The naming rights are still unsold and there is a lot of speculation that this is part of a larger trend. Yes Wasserman will sell the rights eventually but probably not for what the Nats had budgeted.

Having said all that, it's gotta be better than Montreal.

Chris Needham said...

They'll only make $50 million in profit instead of $80 million then! :'(

Chipmaker said...

...which, by O'Malleynomics, will be reported as a $30M loss.

Anonymous said...


They better hope they can maintain 25k attendance. That works out to 2M this year. Considering where they are likely to finish, that would be a good effort. Oakland would be thrilled with that.

Their real problem is the revenue to MASN (ie Angelos) for the TV rights. That's such a handicap. If I still lived in the DC metro area, I'd be boycotting all things Orioles: no games, no TV, no jerseys.

Crawdaddy said...

Ugh, come on. The MASN deal was agreed to in order to allow the Nats into the market. It wasn't like Angelos sprung it on them. He was anti-DC expansion for a long time. It is like complaining about your mother-in-law . . . you knew the territory before you stepped into the situation.