USA Today reported that the Washington Nationals intend to lower ticket prices for the 2009 season:
"WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals lowered individual-sale ticket prices on 14,000 seats for 2009 on Wednesday after ranking near the bottom of the National League in attendance during their new ballpark's debut season.Thank god. I was honestly starting to get worried. The ticket prices were high in general, much less for a team that didn't field a product anyone wanted to see. I couldn't see the team matching even the poor attendance they had last year with the current economic recession if prices stayed the same. People are going to be cutting back on luxuries, and a $25 upper deck outfield ticket is certainly a luxury.
The team didn't raise prices on any of the 41,888 seats in Nationals Park.
Prices were not changed for the stadium's most expensive seats, including those right behind home plate that cost $300 or more and often were empty when providing a backdrop for TV cameras.
The Nationals, whose record of 59-102 was the worst in baseball, averaged about 29,000 fans per home game in 2008, when they moved from RFK Stadium to their nearly $700 million new home. That put the team 13th in attendance in the 16-team NL, and 19th in the 30-team major leagues.
Individual-sale ticket prices were cut by $10 or more in more than 4,500 seats, including 3,000 in the ballpark's lower bowl."
Aside from not having an established fan base, I feel most Nats fans just had trouble adjusting to Nationals Park. RFK was great in many ways. It was incredibly accessible, incredibly cheap, and had its own charm. Let's not forget that RFK was home to many championship teams of both the Redskins and D.C United.
I think the lowered ticket prices will help the team build the fan base it truly needs. The team wont win this year, but if people can associate Nats Park with a good time, and not a whole in their wallet, they may be more likely to go back.
Now just to fix the problem behind the plate....