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Ticket Sales Stronger; HiDef On the Way

We all know the Caps have struggled to fill Verizon Center in recent seasons (they ranked 27th in attendance a year ago), but club officials are encouraged by better ticket sales this summer. Perhaps boosted by the flurry of free agent signings, Clark's extension and the new unis, July was the team's strongest month of 2007.

I'm told the team sold 118 new full season plans and about 300 new full season equivalents. The 118 full season plans are nearly triple the number of full season plans they sold last July.

The Caps have got a long way to go to reach Ted Leonsis's goal of 12,000 season tickets. But it seems like they're inching in the right direction.

Speaking of Verizon Center, details about upgrades are beginning to trickle out. The arena is definitely getting four high definition screens that will hang over center ice, with circular high definition message boards on top and below the jumbotron. It's going to look a lot like Boston's.

New high-def televisions are also going to be installed in suites and on the concourse.

Construction is set to begin when the Mystics' season ends.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  August 7, 2007; 10:30 AM ET
 
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Comments

Great to hear the ticket base is increasing, now once we put a winner on the ice, it will increase even more. Also its good to hear the improvements to the arena, for anybody who wants to see what Tarik was talking about in terms of Boston's arena you can go here and click on the view button to see their arena.

http://www.tdbanknorthgarden.com/business_advertising.asp

Posted by: Joe | August 7, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, I guess that's a bit better than some of the other examples that I've seen of LED scoreboards. I hope they hold onto the slightly older-fashioned numbers board that they had bellow the screens. A score board just doesn't look right to me without the boards.

Posted by: EricS | August 7, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

when are the local broadcasts going to go HD?

Posted by: JR | August 7, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

JR: Comcast goes HD routinely. They aired 56 games in HD last season.

Posted by: James | August 7, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Sweet. I cant wait to see how this new scoreboard looks on opening night.

Posted by: DuggerWV | August 7, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

For the '06-'07 season, single-game lower-section seats cost $75-90. So, a family of four was in for a minimum of $300-360. I understand that Leonsis wants the wealthy demographic, but it's really pretty sad.

Posted by: Ticket Prices | August 7, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Concerning Ticket Prices- yes, if you sit in the lower bowl it will cost you a good bit of money, however, I can attest, as a season ticket holder, you can actually see more of the game from the upper level. And the ticket prices are resonable. You don't have to sit on the ice to have a good time.

Posted by: keydet | August 7, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"...and the new unis"
That is it! You hit the nail on the head! That's exactly what they should do every year to sell another 118 season tickets next year.

Posted by: Finn | August 7, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Any news on upgrading the PA/soundsystem? The current system is awful, hence why all promo spots, etc. have to be sub-titled....

Thanks!

Posted by: smorourke | August 7, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

All the subtitling is probably an ADA thing, not a sound system issue. And I also find it easier to watch the game from the upper deck. Maybe you don't get to hear the bodychecks, but you have a better view of the ice.

Posted by: tallbear | August 7, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I have sat in the upper sections of the Phone Booth, and there is no comparison between that, and the lower section, where I sat last February, in Columbus. I was 7-8 rows back from the glass behind the net and I couldn't see anything at the other end of the ice. Those tickets are NOT worth the higher cost. I'd prefer to sit in the Eagles Nest, where I can see the whole ice and get a better feel for the flow of the game.

Posted by: lordthrog | August 7, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey, speaking of HiDef, does anyone kow why we do not get road games in HD on Comcast? I have written to Comcast (as well as Ted, who tells me to ask Comcast) numerous times to ask this question and they have yet to grace me with a reply. They haven't even bothered to tell that they don't care. Any thoughts?

Posted by: tim | August 7, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

They are Comcast. They don't care about their customers. But that will (should) change with the stiffer competition from Verizon. Until then, they won't care that much about the consumer, especially the hockey fan

Posted by: Finn | August 7, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Cox Cable doesn't carry CSNHD either so if you me you have to wait for a upconverted game on CW, ugh.

Posted by: usiel | August 7, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

What's the world coming to when you can get bass fishing in HiDef but not your home team's road games?

Posted by: tim | August 7, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

anyone who says the upper bowl is better than the lower is insane. If you sit in the first few rows of course its tough to see all the way down the ice (just like at football or basketball or anything). But if you sit just over the glass level, the lower is unbeatable. The top level is like 2 miles away.

Posted by: upper bowl is terrible | August 7, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I loathe Comcast. I live in Frederick County, VA, and our Comcast franchise doesn't carry MASN or News Channel 8. So I get 0 baseball, either the Nats or the Borioles, and once BBall season kicks in I miss all the Caps games on NC8. When I asked about it, Comcast replied that there was no interest in these channels in the area, which I know is BS.

Posted by: lordthrog | August 7, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Road HD, I would guess it depends on the truck sending back the local arena's broadcast.

I also noticed that on the road, for some bizarre reason CSN doesn't always have the clock or penalty times! It's like if they can't get a camera trained on the scoreboard clock, they're totally lost.

Posted by: tallbear | August 7, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

tim, that's because comcast stinks. i don't have an answer b/c i dropped them years ago.

Posted by: jim | August 7, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, Boston's scoreboard sucks if you're in the lower level and trying to read the score and time left in the period. It's above the screens, and it's circular, so it makes it really hard to read if you're in the lower level. I'm sure it's great for the people upstairs, but my seats aren't there.

As for the season ticket packages, I just bought a weekend package, my first time being a plan holder of any sort.

Posted by: KP | August 7, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

when do single game tickets go on sale

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"when do single game tickets go on sale"

I know Atlanta's go on sale on Aug 25, so that's probably the date that all other NHL teams go on sale as well. And I know that TB has their presale on the 22nd of Aug, with the regular date being the 25th.

Posted by: KP | August 7, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I wish Comcast would hurry up and get HD hooked up in Stafford before the drop of the puck on opening night. I have about 12 HD channels through Comcast now....with the last one being the retarded GOLF channel....What the hell?!?!?! HD does not help me see the golf ball better while it's in flight!!!!

As for ticket sales, I'm glad to hear they are up!!! The Caps need the support of the fans to make it to the playoffs this year.

I'm glad to hear the arena is getting a semi-face lift. But, when you really think about it....do you go to the games to watch the scoreboard or what is happening on the ice? I tend to watch the ice a bit more!

Posted by: Mitch | August 7, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Yea, I'm stuck without CSNHD as well, due to being on Cox Cable. FiOS is coming to area soon, but even they don't have CSNHD yet. Whoever gets it first, gets my business. But at least I have 19 home dates that I'll be there for, probably more, and a few on the road as well.

Posted by: KP | August 7, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

what are the Mystics

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The Mystics are a team of women that do layups and dribble a ball. They think it's basketball, but it's not. Basketball players can actually shoot 3 pointers and dunk at least once in a while, while the Mystic type players use their All Star game to *try* to dunk, and fail miserably.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Of course the lower bowl is better. Why do you think Leonsis keeps the lower bowl in lockdown with the ushers keeping out anybody who doesn't have a lower bowl ticket? Because many people want to sit there (particularly when the lower bowl is half empty which is often the case), but they can't afford to.

Posted by: lower bowl vs. upper bowl | August 7, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I sit in the upper seats, section 417 and the view is great. It's nice to be up against the boards every once in a while, but only if somebody else is paying; for the most part I prefer being able to see the entire game develop across the full ice sheet. If you can't afford $27 X 41 games X the number of family members, try some of the (legal) resale ticket websites. One even partners with the Capitals. Lots of us season ticket holders sell extras for a decent price.

Posted by: TheCapitalist | August 7, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Why do you think Leonsis keeps the lower bowl in lockdown with the ushers keeping out anybody who doesn't have a lower bowl ticket? Because many people want to sit there (particularly when the lower bowl is half empty which is often the case), but they can't afford to.

Yeah, he should lower ticket prices
...and let anybody sit where they want
...and have blue and pink cotton candy shoot out of the new hi-def screens
...and he should contact all the employers of season ticket holders and beg them to give us raises so we can all sit in the lower bowl
...and get rid of the Mystics because VC should be empty and quiet when its not hockey season-the idea of people watching girls play sports in the off season is creepy
...and he should resign Peter Bondra 'cause the Caps can't win without him
...and he should trade Semin 'cause his kneecap is snapped in two - I heard it happened at Six Flags on the Batman roller coaster.

He's a really bad owner if he doesn't.

Posted by: slappy | August 7, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

directv gets comcast in HD...

Posted by: drv | August 8, 2007 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Chuckle o' the day goes to Slappy - thaw was some funny stuff.

Posted by: Shaggy | August 8, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Smorourke -- i haven't heard anything (no pun intended) about thed crappy sound system. but i'm hoping that's on the upgrade list.

Posted by: Tarik | August 8, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

So Kris Beech signed with Columbus, but for only one year. I'm sure many of you are happy.

Posted by: E | August 8, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

i agree with all of slappys sarcastic comments except the one about the mystics, there REALLY shouldnt be a girls bball team, or even the wnba for that matter, its offensive garbage

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

at Dish Network for not carrying Comcast in HD. SD hockey looks terrible on a 65" screen.

I've written to Dish several times, but they say the problem with reaching a Deal with Comcast for HD is a problem at Comcast's end.

I wish they'd compromise.

Posted by: Angry ... | August 8, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

All Ted needs to do to fill seats is bring back Bondra. He may not be the best hockey decision, but he's defenetly the best buisness decision.
(sorry for spelling)

Posted by: dcfury | August 8, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"All Ted needs to do to fill seats is bring back Bondra. He may not be the best hockey decision, but he's defenetly the best buisness decision."

Why? So when he's cut at the end of training camp everyone will be up in arms that they didn't just put him on the team. He's not coming back to the Caps, where does he fit? Show me where you fit a 39 year old goal scorer that doesn't score goals anymore. Or would you rather the Caps never give one of the guys they drafted a chance to crack the roster. Bondra is done, washed up, so get over it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I think I'm gonna dump Cox for DirectTV if they don't get ComcastHD before the season starts.

Posted by: capsfan22 | August 9, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Aren't poor people such a drag?!

Posted by: Hey Slappy! | August 9, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Caps Hockey. It's Comcastic!

Posted by: Chris in SS | August 13, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The sound system apparently got worked on towards the end of last season when part of the system was found to be blown out which may have caused a lot of the problems, but remember at the old place, the sound system stunk there too so it must be something about the company who put it in.

It also doesn't help they put that Verizon screen under the scoreboard, there were speakers under there that you can't hear as well in the lower bowl or the scoreboard buzzer for that matter.

Don't rag on the Mystics. They play ball better than most of you any way. Think a girl can't play ball? Play against her and find out.

As for Comcast, if it's not the Flyers they don't care. Bring back HTS. I think it's a shame they have all the brains that made HTS the technologically advanced channel it was (they did things before everyone else, including ESPN, remember the goal cam, four years before anyone else) and put those people behind idiots who look at a button and say, "oooooh, pretty!" Look at the people who ran their baseball teams into the ground.

Cox, well they're Cox. Do you really expect a large, nationwide conglomerate like Cox to care about customers in the DC area when they need to worry about New York, LA and Chicago? Come on, what do you think the DC area is, a large metropolitan area???

Posted by: Harrison | August 15, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

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