Nats embrace political fundraisers
While scanning the Internet for reactions to the Nats crowd on Opening Day, I stumbled upon this CNN report on the franchise's enthusiastic courting of political fundraising events.
Federal candidates, parties and PACS have spent at least $432,000 at Nats games or in Nats facilities over the past five years, with $264,000 of that coming in 2009, when Nats Park hosted more than 40 events. That's more than the Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles or Cubs have brought in all the years since 2003.
Since Nationals Park first opened in March 2008, Kasten has actively encouraged political operatives of all ideological stripes to hold their fundraisers and receptions at the ballpark, as opposed to more conventional venues such as restaurants or hotel ballrooms.
"I am absolutely bipartisan when it comes to business, or even multi-partisan," said Kasten in an interview with CNN. "We welcome all, and we've had all come to the ballpark. Republicans, Democrats, and I'm sure other parties as well."
Kasten also referred to a ballpark as "a controversy-free zone" in the CNN piece, which came out yesterday. Poor timing, there.
However, since no D.C. sports story can be written in 2010 without invoking the Caps, there is this caveat. Some fundraisers like wins better, which has led to puck events. Frontrunners.
"The allure of doing events at their games has worn off, since the home team isn't good. We usually struggle to sell tickets for Nationals games," said one Republican fundraiser, who asked not to be identified. "We generally advise our clients to have other types of fundraising events that are cheaper and more successful. [Washington Capitals hockey] games sell very well right now."
On that point, Kasten, who has also headed up professional hockey and basketball franchises, says that baseball is the most conducive sport for political fundraisers.
"The pace is a little slower," he said. "It gives people more of a chance to sit and think and talk typically than there is at a basketball or hockey game."
Come see our sport! It's slower-paced, and less distracting! Anyhow, Kasten told CNN that the ballpark is a place "where everyone can unify behind the idea of just having fun." Wednesday night is your next chance. Unity, people.
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