Monday, January 24, 2005

Talk me off the ledge... or convince me to jump!

Update (10 PM): The lady I talked to in the ticket office insists they did give priority to people who signed up early. I tend to believe her (I probably shouldn't have jumped the gun in reporting this before talking to a human myself). While this has restored my faith in the club, I believe there was still something a bit wrong with the process, though. More info in the comments, and I'll continue to update as I learn more, or as my status changes.

I just saw my season ticket invoice. I am seriously thinking about canceling, and stopping this blog in disgust.

I was one of the people who signed up long, long ago with the Washington Baseball club. I was in the group that was supposed to get priority treatment. According to message boards where people have talked to a human being:
When I talked to the TO they didn't deny that the group 1s and group 2s were simply tossed in together and one drawing was performed.

What does this mean to me? I got about the worst possible seats in my third choice seating area.

My seats are in Row 2 of section 227, which is in the right field corner, pretty much. Click on this morning's picture to see where that is, but it's nowhere near where I wanted to be. If I had to get my third choice, one would expect they'd at least give me a good seat in my third choice, like somewhere in section 126.

Now, I'm sure TicketMaster doesn't know the amount of time and energy that I've spent on this team, nor do they care. But it still pisses me off that they didn't actually give me any priority at all for being long-suffering loyal D.C. baseball fan. I was basically willing to pay whatever price for great seats. I'm not happy about paying $35 a seat for crap, when I was promised priority that I didn't get. Pissing me off even more, I tried calling the ticket office, and it just rang and rang.

Anyway, I'm seriously considering canceling my order, and just moving on with my life. Please let me know your thoughts... what would you do? Talk me into it or out of it, as your opinion may warrant. I'll monitor this discussion, but I may or may not post again, depending on how I feel when I get a bit farther away from this.

15 Comments:

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Basil said...

That's a tough one. I suppose how much you really want season tickets, any season tickets, to the first Nats season. (Are you locked in to less-than-stellar seating from '06 going forward, as well?)

Then again, it's horrible precedent to acquiesce when a business goes back on its word. I don't know anything about the situation other than what you've posted, but I'd be interested to see if mass disapproval develops. This sounds very Angelosian, which is a disturbing thought.

 
At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't bail -- move to the upper deck. Should still be some decent low seats up there that will be cheaper. My (the AL Team up the road that shall not be named) seats are second row upper deck behind the plate, and are great.

 
At 8:48 PM, Blogger Basil said...

Actually, Anonymous, in my rather substantial experience at the ballpark of which we don't speak (ex-girlfriend used to work for Verizon and get tickets all the time), the best seats (for your dollar and maybe overall) are way, way high up above home plate, last row up. Of course, that's my favorite seat at any park. "True baseball fans" prefer that behind the home plate view, my dad taught me when I was a kid, but I like it _really_ high up.

That said, poor John won't be getting those seats, I don't think.

If you stick with it, John, you should still do something about it. Write a letter, call a local TV station for an "on your side" report. Use your new-found fame. ;-)

 
At 9:36 PM, Blogger John said...

I did get ahold of the ticket office on my second call. The nice lady with whom I spoke insisted that there really was preference given to people on the early list, it's just that demand, particularly for the infield box, was great enough that many people in the first group couldn't get their assignment.

The fundamental problem with their system is that, if you don't get your first choice, you don't get priority for your second choice. You get put behind the people who had it as their first choice. So since the baseline box was my third choice, but it was the first thing I could get, I got put in the back of the pack for the baseline box.

That said, there may still be a chance to upgrade. They said that many people won't pay the deposit, so some people will get to move up.

There might have been a snafu with me in particular, so I might end up with happy resolution by the time it's all done.

 
At 7:30 AM, Blogger ExpatriatedNEGuy said...

That system really bites!

IMHO - I'd ditch the season tickets and just try to get the seats you want for the games you really want to see.

There's always a secondary market :)

 
At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I did end up in the $40 seats, I'm not particu;arly happy either, as I'm in the last row. Seems for $10 less a ticket, I'd do just as well in the green seats immediately behind me.
But hey, at least we have a team to worry about tickets for!! And unlike the Redskins, we all did get tickets. Isn't that the bottom line?
So come down off the ledge. Pitchers and catchers report in less than 3 weeks.

 
At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was also bumped from the infield boxes to the baseline boxes (Section 127). I'm somewhat disappointed, but these are pretty good seats (in fact, I think they're better than the 200 level seats behind home plate). I just don't see what else they could have done if, in fact, the infield boxes were requested as the first choice of more than 11,000 of the 16,000 season ticket requests.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Yuda said...

The big mistake they made, I think, was that people with priority status should have had their seats assigned first. This means giving them their second or third choice, if necessary, before giving any choice to the non-priority ticket buyers.

 
At 11:38 AM, Blogger ExpatriatedNEGuy said...

John,

Back away from the ledge...

Who knows, maybe the new ownership will improve this process too. For the future anyway...

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger John said...

Yuda,

I am not sure, but I *think* they did that. It's tough to reverse engineer what the exact rules were, and I don't think the people in the ticket office necessarily know.

If someone was a 1st priority person and didn't get an infield box, I am pretty sure those people were lumped in with the first priority people in their second choice section. If not, that's certainly worse.

But, I think if you'd prefer to get more expensive seats, rather than less expensive seats, you should get priority in your second choice section. Do they really want people who were willing to pay $90 a seat getting crappy seats in their second or third choice section? That's someone they can expect to spend a lot of money as time goes on, and so you'd expect that they'd have a vested interest in keeping them happy.

For anyone unhappy with seats, you can get in line to get better seats when people don't pay their balance due on time, for whatever reason.

All in all, there's still some hope. The lady I talked to in the ticket office yesterday has been extremely helpful so far, and I appreciate that from them no matter how this turns out.

 
At 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in the same boat as you, bumped out to 227 row 7 as my 3rd pick. I plan to toss my seats back and apply my deposit toward one of the partial plans. I also believe the TO may follow up with people that have cancelled and try and get them back into season seats. You have very little leverage once you pay in full.

My thinking going in was exactly like yours - they would give preference to those that were willing to commit more money for season tickets in terms of level of seating and number of seats. In my case IF Box and IF Loge and 4 seats(which I thought would add even more weight). Obviousily not the case. Given that nobody was talking about the Loges I was confident I would get those on the infield - they are vastly underrated. What I didn't count on was that they would give away 99% of the Loges to the corporate slobs.

One thng they could have done was limited the allocation of seats per account. Say up to 2 in IF Box/Loge , 4 baseline, 8 everywhere else. This would have served to allow more fans to get seats and curbed the scalpers from gobbling up big blocks. It still burns me to see that guy with 8 in sec 213 on StubHub. Its even worse in the 300s. Unfortunately these guys will be entrenched forever in those seats. Way to go Nats.

 
At 7:57 AM, Blogger ExpatriatedNEGuy said...

The Post has an article today...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36595-2005Jan25.html

It doesn't say anything about the process for dealing with people that didn't get their first choice...

 
At 10:50 AM, Blogger Yuda said...

Actually, the new park opening up will be an excellent opportunity to jettison the StubHub and other scalpers with entrenched season tickets.

It doesn't mean they will, but it'll be an opportunity.

 
At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why wait till the new stadium to jettison these losers - they can do it right now. Its up to 48 tickets on stubhub now for 6 guys - thats 24 more appreciative fanes that could be pleased.

 
At 6:08 PM, Blogger qzik said...

OK, I have been getting some numbers on this and they aren't pretty. I got OK tix sec 208 (back), but no one else I know seems to have...
1) More than 1000 of the best seats were set aside for VIPs or whatever
2) Another several hundred for players, etc...
3) Over 17,000 people in line. At least 9000 in the opening lottery
4) only about 5,000 total really good seats (at best)

So you take out the (I'm estimating 1,500) that were kept private, and that meant that ony 3,500 of us even got into the 40 or 90 dollar seats. So each of us only had a 33 percent chance to get into the 40 dollar seats (at best), and probably a third of those feel shafted because they are on the end or in the back (best ones not available). Basically, most people got screwed. I'd keep the tix. It won't get any better.

 

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