November 23, 2016

DC12 Club Loyalty Milestones

Before we get to the meat of this post, let me say I'm just confused by this Wizards team so far. We are inconsistent (nothing new there); don't seem to try very hard at times (nothing new there either); lose to teams we should beat (again...nothing new) and yet have shown flashes. This is clearly at times not your Randy Wittman coached Wizards team. And yet here we are at 4-9 and fighting for 11th place in the conference. Or maybe we will stay tied for 12th. I'm trying to be patient. We just aren't supposed to be rebuilding that's all. Enough said on that. Let's get to the post.

About a dozen or so years ago, the Washington Wizards introduced an anniversary milestones rewards program for season ticket holders as a way to recognize continued support of the team at the season ticket holder level. It started modestly, rewarding members for every five years of commitment up to (if I'm remembering correctly and it doesn't necessarily matter if I'm wrong here) 25 years. Since that time, the program has expanded to start at five years and end at 50 (!!!) years of membership.

So while it's worth acknowledging that this benefit is better than the nothing that existed before it, I think it's probably also worth looking at the relative value of the rewards against each other. To that end I've done some quick math on the cost of each of the ten milestones. To me, it appears there are some rewards for years and years of paying for Wizards basketball that are less valuable than some of the predecessor awards. As I approach 20 years as a season ticket holder, I'd love to see the team adjust some of these rewards so they make more sense.

My list is below. The descriptions are directly from the Wizards DC12 Club Membership Benefits Webpage and I've clipped the rewards listing from that page and pasted it at the top of this post. Let's start with the least valuable and end up at the most valuable.

1. 10 Years
Member's Name Displayed on the Wizards Wall of Fame (Primary Account Holder's Name Only)

You could argue that some of the rewards on this list have value without having a monetary equivalent. You certainly could make that case here with the 10 Year award. After all, there's no way to (legally) get your name on the wall of Verizon Center without actually buying Wizards season tickets for 10 years. I can agree one can make that argument, but I'm not buying it here. I like that my name is on a list of 10+ year season ticket holders at VC but it's not really worth anything to me.

Value: $0.

2. 25 Years
Participate in the Pre-Game Captain's Meeting at a Pre-Selected Home Game (One Person Per Account)

I'm shocked that the reward for 25 years of sitting in Verizon Center watching Wizards games comes out as the second least valuable on this list but I can't see it any other way. Now I haven't been through this reward yet so there could be some ancillary stuff beyond the description of the reward like access to VIP areas or something else. But going on the surface of things and having seen these folks out at center court before most every game, it appears to me this is about a five minute photo opportunity and that's it. Let's say you get a nicely framed photograph of the occasion to hang on your wall. That's what I've assumed in calculating this experience's value.

Now, you could argue again that this is not something you can just opt to do on your own (like some of the later rewards) and so therefore this is a special event afforded only to 25 year season ticket holders. I mean it's not like you can just stride out to center court and hang out with Marcin Gortat, Tomas Satoransky and whomever the opponent sends out there, right? All that is true and I'd be on board if this same experience weren't available at auction on the Monumental Rewards website. Save your points and bid wisely and you can get the exact same thing as someones who's poured 25 years of cost into the team. The Wizards have to change this, don't they? They make it worse by only allowing one person per account to participate. Ouch!

Value: $50.

3. 5 Years
Private Reception with Wizards Management and Special Guests

The first rewards milestone season ticket holders will receive is at five years. I think if I'm remembering things right the team rolled this out right when I reached the five year mark. My reward? A reception in the (then) Acela Club with free food and beer with Ernie Grunfeld. Gilbert Arenas was supposed to be there but allegedly had a flat tire and couldn't attend. So our "special guests" ended up being nobody. I'm not assigning any value to the special guests part of this event, even though some of these things can offer unique insights into the NBA. I still remember an awesome conversation we had with Josh Howard about diet and fitness a number of years ago at a similar event.

The five year reward is worth it. We got some free food and booze for two people plus a basketball signed by Gilbert Arenas (which I still have). I've calculated the theoretical value here assuming you chow down and you get two spots. Also, I've figured Verizon Center beer prices which might actually make the number low depending on how much you can drink. It doesn't take much to get to a $50 alcohol bill at VC.

Value: $100.

4. 30 Years
Two Tickets to the Owner's Suite for a Pre-Selected Wizards Game

The 30 Year reward is two tickets to a game that you have tickets for anyway. The Owner's Suite (I'm assuming) is the one right around Section 101 with the elevator to allow former owner Abe Pollin to get to his suite without crossing paths with fans. Considering the success of the team, maybe a smart move. I guess the real value of this experience depends on if the owner shows up. Ted usually sits courtside and honestly those seats are probably way more desirable.

I'm assuming a suite ticket on the 100 level costs about $150? Just a guess. Maybe there's some food an a can of beer or two thrown in there which might add $50-75 per person. Sounds good to me.

Value: $450.

5. 20 Years
Trip to an Eastern Conference Away Game (Two Guests Per Account)

The 20 Year reward is the first of three regular season road trips Wizards season ticket holders can cash in on. I'm assuming this particular reward is a trip to Philadelphia because (a) there's no mention of any overnight accommodations so that sort of limits the distance and (b) I know that's where the team has taken folks before. And yes, just like the Pre-Game Captains' Meeting reward, they've had made this item available on the Monumental Rewards site before.

I might actually have this and the 30 Year reward switched. The value is awfully similar. I know the Wizards have in the past bought suites at Wells Fargo Center so let's say tickets are $100 per person. Let's assume they also spring for some food and booze just like we assumed at VC at 30 Years which adds $50-75 per person. Throw in bus fare worth about $30 each way and I get a little more than the 30 Year reward.

Value: $470.

6. 40 Years
Overnight Trip to a Pre-Selected Wizards Away Game, Including Airfare, Hotel, and Game Tickets (Two Guests Per Account)

OK so now we are talking: a real road trip! After 40 years (I mean can you even imagine?) of paying for Wizards games on a season ticket basis, you are off on a real trip with the team. I've done this several times so far as a fan on my own. I'd love for the team to take me away for an overnight trip to watch the Wiz play.

So this one includes airfare (let's ballpark that at $400 figuring it's not a California trip) for two; a hotel room for a night (say $250?) and tickets to the game ($150 each?). Assume there are some incidentals or other sorts of perks in there at maybe $100 per person and you are talking some serious money laid out by the team.

Value: $1,550.

7. 45 Years
On-Court Recognition and Your Choice of Either an Overnight Trip to an Away Game or a Trip to an Eastern Conference Away Game (Two Guests Per Account)

So 45 years in you get either the exact same thing you got at 40 years or the exact same thing you got at 20 years. Let's go glass half full here and say it's another overnight roadie where you get to fly somewhere. I'm going to use the same budget for this reward but since there's an on court acknowledgement which may be similar the much maligned (at least in this post) pre-game captains' meeting, I'll throw in the cost of that also.

Value: $1,600.

8. 15 Years
Complimentary Lexus Level Suite for a Game with Stadium Food for a Group of 18 (One Per Account)

Of all the things I've done as a Wizards fan interacting with this team, being handed an entire Lexus Level suite for a game a couple of years ago was the best. This is a seriously valuable perk. I loved this experience. I wish I could do it again. I especially wish I could od it again for free. And I got to bring 18 of my closest friends. Seriously generous on the part of the franchise.

And this is not a cheap item. I haven't verified the cost this year but I think when I checked last year these started at about $1,200 per game. And that's for the cheapest game on the slowest night. We got a Friday night game against the (then almost good) Brooklyn Nets. And it came with free food, a swag bag for every guest and a couple of six packs of beer (which alone are worth about $35 each and yes that's actually cheaper at $6 or so a beer than elsewhere in Verizon Center). Let's spitball the cost of a suite at about $1,400 and throw in about $200 worth of food and beer and swag. Yes, it's technically tied with the 45 Year reward when you add all that up but since you get it a quarter of a century earlier, I'm ranking it higher.

Value: $1,600.

9. 35 Years
Limo Transportation for You and a Guest to and from a Pre-Selected Wizards Home Game, Plus a Fully Catered Lexus Level Suite for up to 18 Guests

I really want another suite to myself but I have to tell you I can't imagine I'm (a) waiting another 20 years before I do that again or (b) going to be a Wizards season ticket holder when I'm 71. Let's say the limo adds $150 to the cost of this experience and the "Fully Catered" suite costs about $400 more than the "Stadium Food." Good reward. Not sure if I would be more or less fun after 70 than before 50.

Value: $2,150.

10. 50 Years
Trip to Las Vegas to Watch the Wizards Summer League Team in Action (Two Guests Per Account)

I love Summer League. Like genuinely absolutely LOVE it. Gambling, great food, open carry laws (for alcohol that is) and hoops. How can a trip to Vegas get much better than that?

Before this past summer, I'd been to seven consecutive Summer Leagues. My typical stay was just three nights (as much as I love Vegas it seems three nights at a time is about all I can handle) although I took in all five Wizards games in 2010 right after we drafted John Wall. The value of this reward is going to be dependent on the length of the stay of course. Let's give the Wizards some huge credit and assume it's a three night trip. I could be and likely am way off on this one.

I think you can get to Vegas and back for $500 per person. Let's say they put you up somewhere nice (not at Excalibur where I usually stay) that costs $250 per night. Finally let's say they spring for courtside tickets at $100 per seat per person for three days of action. Again, I may be reaching with the perks on this one but you've been a season ticket holder for 50 years. There has to be some big spending going on here. In fact, you know what? Let's just round the whole thing up to the nearest $500.

Value: $2,500. And yes, that may be way off.

Go ahead and nitpick the value of each reward if you want. This is just my semi-informed opinion. And no, I didn't do a whole lot of detailed research. The point of this post is not to get the value of the rewards right to the dollar or penny but to point out that in my opinion the value does not increase with tenure. If I've got the dollar value wrong on any of these (and I'm sure I've actually got it wrong depending on your point of view on ALL of them) so be it; I don't believe I'm far enough off to have one reward swap places with another on the list with the possible exception of 4/5 and 7/8. And I'm OK swapping those. Of all the rewards, I'd be most concerned about the relative lack of value you get after 25 years. It's certainly way less than the 15 and 20 year rewards and you can get it with Monumental Rewards points.

My next reward is 20 years but honestly, I'd rather have the 15 year reward all over again. I think the Wizards should take a look at this list and consider a re-shuffle. It might keep me as a season ticket holder longer. I'm in for 20 because I do want the trip to Philly, even though I've already been there. But I'm not motivated to stay for 25 because of the pre-game captains' meeting. And unless the team's performance improves, the competitiveness ain't going to keep me either.

No comments:

Post a Comment