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Old 05-04-12, 08:32 AM   #1
CRM114
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Washington Nationals are lame

Apparently, since no one will go to a Nationals game, the Nationals decided to ban ticket sales outside of accepted zip and area codes. Why? Because Phillies fans would buy 2/3 of the tickets and put up banners reading "Citizens Bank Park South." The funny part is the Washington brass think this strategy would keep Phillies fans out. It's just made it worse and gave lots of fans a mission.

"The Nationals "should be happy anybody goes to their park," says Ed Rendell."

Quote:
For D.C. Baseball Team, Deluge of Phillies Fans Is National Disgrace
Washington Tries to Keep Out Phanatics With Ticket Rules; Poking 'the Hornet's Nest'

One of Andrew Feffer's jobs is getting Washington Nationals fans to come to the ballpark. But this year, the team's chief operating officer has another goal: keeping Philadelphia Phillies fans out.

Since the baseball franchise left Montreal for Washington, D.C., in 2005, the Nationals pastime has been losing games. They haven't yet had a winning season. Meanwhile, their rivals 125 miles up I-95 have been one of the best teams in the game.

With seats in Philly's Citizens Bank Park hard to come by, Phillies fans have taken to descending on Nationals Park whenever their team pays a visit. Two years ago, Nationals fan Ryan Sullivan spent more than $600 on Opening Day tickets for himself and his father. The park was filled with Philadelphia supporters, whose team routed the Nationals 11-1. One overindulged Phillies fan threw up on Mr. Sullivan's shoes, he says. "They were so obnoxious."

A veteran sports marketer, Mr. Feffer joined the Nationals in 2010. As a Virginia native, he had long been irked by the way Philadelphia fans converged on Washington to cheer for their teams—hockey and football fans also contend with Flyers and Eagles fans from up north.

The last straw came Aug. 20, on what should have been a happy occasion: The Nationals set a single-game attendance record. The problem was that two-thirds of the crowd was rooting for Philadelphia, which won the game 5-0. Phillies fans created a sign across the bleachers that said: "Welcome to Citizens Bank Park South."

Something, Mr. Feffer says, "had to change."

His solution was a curveball: For the first series between the two teams this year, Friday through Sunday, he blocked single-game ticket sales outside the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Doing so required some willingness to sacrifice profit to pride, for unlike Philadelphia's park—which has sold out for 230 consecutive games—the Nationals ranked 14th in attendance among 16 National League teams last year.

In early February, Mr. Feffer launched the "Take Back the Park" campaign, hoping that it would inspire what he calls "Natitude" among the team's fans. The ban lasted through March 8, when tickets were made available to all buyers, but the team restricted the number available for group sales.

The move reverberated in Philadelphia. In December, the staff at IPS, a Lafayette Hill, Pa., engineering firm, had put down a deposit on 100 seats for the May 5 game. "We love our Phillies," says marketing manager Kate McCorriston. "We thought, 'Hey, road trip!' "

But the group later received an email from the Nationals saying that its $200 deposit was being returned and the order canceled. Ms. McCorriston says the move amounts to redlining. "They just picked us out because of our area code and ZIP Code," she says.

Mr. Feffer didn't invent the idea. The Arizona Cardinals football team once restricted ticket sales to state residents in order to prevent an influx of Cheeseheads, as Green Bay Packer fans call themselves. In 2008, the then New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo objected after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tried to keep New York Giants football fans from buying tickets to a playoff game. Mr. Cuomo argued that the move interfered with interstate commerce. The Buccaneers buckled.

Andy Dolich, a former executive for several sports franchises, admits a bit of gamesmanship is part of the business. Seats allocated to rival fans are often sprinkled throughout the crowd, and other support groups can be hidden away. "If they have a spectacular-looking dance team or cheerleaders, I'll put them somewhere near where the burgers are made," Mr. Dolich says.

But he cries foul over the Nationals strategy. It is "un-American" to keep other fans from buying tickets, he says. To his mind, someone loses the right to a seat only if he acts like "a complete, unsociable moron"—not just because he roots for the visiting team.

Philadelphia Phillies "phanatics" are outraged. The Nationals "should be happy anybody goes to their park," says Ed Rendell, the former Philadelphia mayor and Pennsylvania governor, who now writes a local sports column. He calls the Nationals gambit "preposterous" but says he is confident Phillies fans will find a way around it.

Indeed, after a radio station aired a report about IPS having its order canceled, the company received multiple calls from D.C.-area Phillies fans, offering to buy the group tickets using local credit cards. (The company declined and is planning to go to a Phillies minor-league game instead, Ms. McCorriston says.)

Other groups acquired blocks of tickets through secondhand brokers like StubHub. Some printed "Occupy Nationals Park" T-shirts. "All they did was poke the hornet's nest," says Kyle Scott, who runs a Phillies-fan blog and has launched a counterattack he calls "The Takeover," complete with an online map of the stadium pointing out where traveling fans should set up camps.

Mr. Scott put together a group package that has lured more than 180 Phillies fans at a cost of $120 each. It includes transportation and a tailgate buffet with a DJ and unlimited refreshments, plus a seat in right field—chosen as the ideal spot to heckle former Phillies player Jayson Werth. "We're not looking to go down there and be idiots," Mr. Scott says, adding that the city's sports fans get a bad rap for poor behavior.

For the Nationals, this season offers a chance at redemption. The 2012 squad, which boasts talented young players, is improbably in first place after the first month of the season—ahead of the now-vulnerable Phillies. "We're like a young buck who thinks it is his time to shine," says Mr. Sullivan, the Nationals fan, who this year quit his job as a financial adviser to blog full time about the team.

But Mr. Feffer says his campaign also "has become a civic issue" aimed at upending the conventional wisdom that D.C.'s transient population isn't as devoted to its teams as fans in other cities are to theirs.

Such talk has only raised the stakes for the Phillies series. The Sunday night game will be nationally televised, and Mr. Feffer acknowledges it would be a huge embarrassment if the crowd were dominated by Philadelphia supporters. He recently sweetened the pot, offering two free tickets to future games against other teams to anyone who buys two tickets to the Phillies series—a move designed to appeal to locals. Nationals officials said Wednesday the moves appear to be working and that the club's internal numbers show fewer out-of-area ticket sales than in years past.

Should Phillies fans show up in large numbers, however, Mr. Feffer says he has other tricks in mind to drown them out. Without elaborating, he says, "We are not done yet."
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Old 05-04-12, 08:35 AM   #2
starman9000
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

Maybe it's a brilliant bit of reverse psychology to get Phillies' fans to buy tons of tickets.
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Old 05-04-12, 08:38 AM   #3
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

I miss the Expos.
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Old 05-04-12, 08:43 AM   #4
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

I think it's a brilliant stratagy. You either get your fans to show some pride and buy the tickets or you get the other teams fans riled up enough to buy the tickets. Either way they're going to sell more than their season average.
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Old 05-04-12, 08:44 AM   #5
wildcatlh
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

That kind of thing happens a lot in DC. Georgetown tries to stop Syracuse fans from taking over their arena every time we play them. It doesn't work then either.
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Old 05-04-12, 08:46 AM   #6
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

Quote:
Andy Dolich, a former executive for several sports franchises, admits a bit of gamesmanship is part of the business. Seats allocated to rival fans are often sprinkled throughout the crowd, and other support groups can be hidden away. "If they have a spectacular-looking dance team or cheerleaders, I'll put them somewhere near where the burgers are made," Mr. Dolich says.

But he cries foul over the Nationals strategy. It is "un-American" to keep other fans from buying tickets, he says. To his mind, someone loses the right to a seat only if he acts like "a complete, unsociable moron"—not just because he roots for the visiting team.
To be fair, though, most Phillies fans are complete, unsociable morons.
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Old 05-04-12, 09:28 AM   #7
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

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To be fair, though, most Phillies fans are complete, unsociable morons.
As someone who lives in Philadelphia I will agree 100% with this but still not as bad as Eagles fans.
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Old 05-04-12, 09:35 AM   #8
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

That's gay.

The league buying the Expos and moving them there in the first place was even more retarded.
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Old 05-04-12, 09:56 AM   #9
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

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Originally Posted by MWB View Post
To be fair, though, most Phillies fans are complete, unsociable morons.
Most is fair. I say 1 in about 6 is decent. 3 of the remaining 5 are just jackasses. The other 2 shouldn't be allowed to live in society outside of Philadelphia.
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Old 05-04-12, 10:03 AM   #10
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

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Originally Posted by astrochimp View Post
I miss the Expos.
Me too
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Old 05-04-12, 10:11 AM   #11
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

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Originally Posted by MWB View Post
To be fair, though, most Phillies fans are complete, unsociable morons.
What do you expect from a city that gave the world Comcast
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Old 05-04-12, 10:23 AM   #12
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

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Originally Posted by MWB View Post
To be fair, though, most Phillies fans are complete, unsociable morons.
most?
i think you are under estimating a bit
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Old 05-04-12, 10:33 AM   #13
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

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What do you expect from a city that gave the world Comcast
The best is the big sign in Wells Fargo Center proclaiming "This is Comcast Country" as if it's a badge of honor.
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Old 05-04-12, 11:53 AM   #14
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

I thought they were trying to eliminate the Comcast badge. Shouldn't it be XFinity country?
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Old 05-04-12, 12:32 PM   #15
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

Since Rob Dibble got fired-I hardly ever watch their games. There new color man never says anything negative towards the team.
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Old 05-04-12, 01:01 PM   #16
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

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Originally Posted by starman9000 View Post
Maybe it's a brilliant bit of reverse psychology to get Phillies' fans to buy tons of tickets.
They already do buy tons of tickets thus the nonsense.

Washington isn't alone though. A good quarter of the crowd at the Devils-Flyers game were Flyers fans. The cheer after the first Flyers goal sounded like a home cheer.
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Old 05-04-12, 01:04 PM   #17
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

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Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
The best is the big sign in Wells Fargo Center proclaiming "This is Comcast Country" as if it's a badge of honor.
Perhaps because the owner of the Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center is Comcast Spectacor?
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Old 05-04-12, 01:09 PM   #18
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

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Originally Posted by dvd-4-life View Post
Since Rob Dibble got fired-I hardly ever watch their games. There new color man never says anything negative towards the team.
I thought Dibble was fired because he said negative things towards the team.
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Old 05-04-12, 02:34 PM   #19
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

I seem to remember the Cincinnati Bengals trying this for a game against the Steelers a few years back...when the game happened, the Steelers fans still outnumbered the Bengals ones.
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Old 05-04-12, 02:53 PM   #20
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

I agree it's somewhat lame, but it's no uncommon. I know tons of teams restrict ticket sales to people within the home state during playoff series.
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Old 05-04-12, 03:09 PM   #21
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

Yeah, the article references other lame franchises with lame fan bases:

Quote:
The Arizona Cardinals football team once restricted ticket sales to state residents in order to prevent an influx of Cheeseheads, as Green Bay Packer fans call themselves.
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Old 05-06-12, 12:55 PM   #22
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

at attacking Deftones for no reason.

Typical Philly fan.
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Old 05-06-12, 04:25 PM   #23
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

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Originally Posted by Tarantino View Post
at attacking Deftones for no reason.

Typical Philly fan.
At least he didn't intentionally puke on him.....yet.
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Old 05-07-12, 09:17 AM   #24
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

Yeah, that was an attack on DEFTONES. Bwahahahaa.... Don't you need to NOT Tebow somewhere, Tarantino?
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Old 05-07-12, 10:22 AM   #25
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Re: Washington Nationals are lame

no wonder Washington wants your ilk out of their stadium.
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