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Nats embrace political fundraisers

(By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

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.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 7, 2010; 10:53 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Nats  
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Next: McNabb causes Fletcher to talk Super Bowl


How unbelievably backwards.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | April 7, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Kasten really is just "winging it" at this point.

Kasten minus Schuerholz=Nationals

Posted by: SavedByZero | April 7, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I would love to rent out the red porch during an off day for a fundraiser. To me the team should get behind some issues in DC. Statehood for one would be a surefire winner.

Posted by: alex35332 | April 7, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

hahahaha the Nats are SO pathetic. These stories are just so much fun to read, because I truly don't care. As a Caps fan who suffered through decades of this crap, though, I really feel for those who DO give a darn. I'm sorry Nats fans. I wish that I could see a silver lining in all of this. I really, really do. At least we're not talking about steroids?

Posted by: MarylanDChris | April 7, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Fire Stan Kasten. To quote Stan: "it's just that simple." He's a complete disgrace. Really enjoyed the busloads of drunk, profane Philly fans--great fan experience there, Stan. Tell Smiley Gonzalez, or whoever he is, we said hi.

Posted by: beacon22 | April 8, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

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