March 17, 2018

Back For Season 19

Last week I made the decision to renew all four of my Wizards season tickets for the 2018-2019 season. I handed over my credit card at the Renewal Suite (aka Suite 124) before the most recent game we shouldn't have lost at home (against the Timberwolves) and had $11,560 added to my credit card. That's a lot of money and it took a lot of thought but I decided ultimately that I've had some pretty cheap seasons over the years with the Wizards, I can afford one more really expensive one. I'm sure next year they will ask for more.

I'm also sure next year's decision will be harder. I made this year's decision knowing that the price might be too rich for my friend Mike to participate as he has these last 15 years. I might have to make a different decision next year if he's out and I have to bear the entire cost of these seats myself. I wanted to get to at least 20 years but if the cost is just too high, I might be stopping at 19.

All that means I'll be back at 601 F Street for an unspecified number of home games next season. It will not likely be anywhere close to all 41. I'll likely be replaced by Golden State Warriors fans, Cleveland Cavaliers fans, Houston Rockets fans and Boston Celtics fans for between four and six games and I may have to give up a few more. It sucks that I will likely miss most of the big regular season games next year and it sucks more that there may be road team fans in my seats in those games but all of that sucks way less than the cost of season tickets going up (for me) over 19%. I offered some suggestions in 2016 to get more season ticket holders to every game. I guess nobody at Monumental Sports is listening to my suggestions if they are even hearing them.

At this point, I guess I can give up seeing the Wizards win a big regular season game. What I really need is the Wizards to win a big game in the Eastern Conference Finals or the NBA Finals. Winning games in the regular season or the first or second rounds of the playoffs is no longer good enough at this price point. We need some better results.

So for all my hard earned and spent cash, I've got 41 sets of tickets to home games next year plus three preseason games. Why preseason games aren't free for season ticket holders is beyond me. I get that the arena needs to pay staff during these games and it costs money to open up the building, but preseason games in the NBA are a complete joke. When the Cavaliers visited the Wizards last October 8, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose all sat out. Thank God some poor schmo bought my ticket for that "contest." The team should give these tickets to season ticket holders for free. They could make them all electronic and non-re-sellable / non-transferable so we couldn't profit off them if they wanted. But they absolutely should be free.

By renewing early (before March 16) I get $25 per seat of food and beverage credit that I have to use sometime during the rest of this season (regular season only; no playoffs). Hey, $100 is $100. It's not like I'm not going to spend $100 on beers during the remaining seven home games. I also get the standard array of Wizards benefits like tickets to the Meet The Team Party, open skating at Kettler Ice Arena and the like in addition to a brand new seat next year at Capital One Arena. Of all the advertised benefits for season ticket holders, I'm looking forward to the advertised VIP access at Wizards SummerFest the most. I'm not sure that even has been held since about 2014. If they don't have it, do I get some of my money back? I'm guessing no.

I love being a Wizards season ticket holder. Yes, I know we have one of the worst track records of success among the 30 NBA teams in the 18 years I've been doing it so far but I still love showing up for games, participating in season ticket holder events and just being proud to be a Wizards fan. I promise this post is the last time I will complain about the price of season tickets for a while. I just needed to put it down that the rising costs are making this long time ticket holder think twice or three times about the value I get out of this experience. I know someone will take my place if I quit; well, maybe not during the down times I've seen since 2000.

For Wizards season ticket holders still thinking about it, you have six more days to renew. If you decide you are in, don't renew online. Get yourself to the Renewal Suite at Capital One Arena next Friday and renew there. If you do that, you'll get the chance to select an envelope off the renewal board which will give you an extra prize. We got VIP lower level wristbands in our envelope this year. Just saying you may as well get everything out of your renewal costs that you can. See you next season if you are in.

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