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Caps have nearly 98 percent renewal rate

After the Caps were eliminated early in the playoffs for the third straight year, after a third straight division title, a lot of people wondered whether the depressed fan base would lead to depressed crowds at Verizon Center next season.

I suppose the fervor is yet to be measured, but the seats will be mostly sold, anyhow. According to Ted Leonsis's blog, the Caps enjoyed a season-ticket renewal rate of nearly 98 percent this offseason. Leonsis wrote that fewer than 200 seats were not renewed, and that the team's season-ticket wait list now has nearly 2,000 names.

(NOTE: As several have noted in my inbox and below, the Caps offered a discount to season-ticket holders who renewed in the early Spring, before the playoff flameout.)

Of course, talking about things like season-ticket wait lists is a loaded business in these parts, but there was also wait list news out of Green Bay.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported this weekend that the Packers enjoyed a renewal rate of 99.6 percent, a year after scoring a 99.4 percent renewal. This year, that meant 126 members of the wait list got tickets, leaving 83,881 names on the list.

The Redskins' latest ticket pitch, of course, touts "200,000 fans on the wait list." That's a lot of names.

The Redskins are annually at or near the top of the NFL list in attendance (last year they were second, behind Dallas). That option isn't open to the Caps; the Verizon Center's relatively small capacity will prevent the Caps from ruling the attendance rankings. But Leonsis said they're doing well in another measure, ranking in the top 5 in the NHL in full season-ticket holdings.

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 11, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Stein - for the record Caps STHs renew before the playoffs begin in order to take advantage of discounts in playoff tix. Hence the playoff performance would have little if anything to do with renewals. Not that I believe the renewal rate would be any lower due to a "depressed fan base". That is absurd.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | July 11, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Agree with DisgustedinArlington. Renewals are due before the playoffs and there are big financial incentives to do so. In order to get the payment option to only pay for playoff games actually played and not have to pay upfront for all 16 possible playoff games, one had to renew for next season. By renewing for the deadline, one also got the 12 month payment plan for season tickets. If anything the depressed fan base would lead to more people reselling their season tickets to others for more games. A few people that I know said that they would be attending less games themselves this coming season--some for financial reasons to cover the price increase and others due to the playoff results. I would not be surprised to see more empty seats or more opposing fans at games next season.

Posted by: NovaCath1 | July 11, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

So everybody's supposed to bail if they dont win the Cup? But again,this is a front running town if there ever was one.

Posted by: ridgely1 | July 11, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The renewal rate is about dead on. My buddy used to work in the sales department and when the "select-a-seat" event occurred there literal was around 200 seats available. I was able to move out of what used to be the eagles nest into the corners where the Caps shoot twice. I was extremely lucky to do so because of the rare availability.

Posted by: RockingBurgundy | July 11, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The renewal rate for the Redskins would be a bigger story. Of course, that number is more secret than codes for a missile launch.

Posted by: RojoJohnson | July 11, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record.I renewed. Quite happily.

Posted by: ridgely1 | July 11, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

In spite of the rather hefty price increase, I renewed too. I'll probably go to fewer games as well due to both the economy and the price increase.

Posted by: zyvo23 | July 11, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Only Washingtonians can find a way to turn a benign story about renewal rates into a negative...

Posted by: CapsNut | July 11, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, we got our 10-game plan renewed again (albeit with higher-up seats), so I guess there's something still available.

Posted by: capsfan77 | July 11, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

As one of the nearly 2,000 on that waiting list, I would love to know exactly what number I am on the list. The only info I've been able to get out of my caps salesguy is that I could get full-season tickets if I got the $250/game VIP all-inclusive package. Gee, thanks.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | July 11, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Good for all those folks who renewed. My seat price went up by nearly 150%. Couldn't do it.

Just couldn't quite talk my boss into giving me nearly 150% more salary.

Posted by: writered21 | July 11, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Only Washingtonians can find a way to turn a benign story about renewal rates into a negative...

Posted by: CapsNut | July 11, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

You haven't been following the Redskins much, eh?

Posted by: M__N | July 12, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

To CapsNut. Given how Ted spins everything including renewals, I do not think the Caps announcing such a renewal rate is totally benign as he likes that to trumpet that to those of us that are unhappy with the Caps personnel moves (or lack thereof) in the offseason.
As far as the Redskins go, if they truly have a waiting list, while are they sending out unsolicited mailings to folks like me who have no interest in Redskin tickets.

Posted by: rbluesw | July 12, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

There is no way in hell the Redskins season ticket waiting list is that long.

Posted by: casser | July 12, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Not giving my money to the "fundraiser" that is the NHL regular season, especially with those choking dogs. CSN will do just fine.

Posted by: DCFanatic | July 12, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

The Caps are doing everything right except putting up a banner or two.

The team drafts well, has photogenic stars like Ovechin and Backstrom that don't get into trouble off the ice.

The owner and front office are accesible to fans and create an environment where fans will feel close to the team.

All great.

Except for that 800 pound gorilla that just walked across the table.

The Caps just lost a Game 7 at home for the third straight season.

I don't know if that is an NHL post-season record or not, but it definitely is not the kind of trendline that leads one to smile.

3 years ago you could say the Caps were simply too young and were out-foxed by a more veteran Philly club in Game 7 that included Knuble and Danny Briere.

But seeing Crosby and Toews both lift the Cup at a young age, the excuses for Ovechkin and Co. are fading fast.

Teams with younger cores ARE winning in the playoffs.

Just not in Washington.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | July 12, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Roy Hobbs. The Leonsis happy talk is wearing awfully thin. It will take a couple more years of underachievement before ticket sales fall off though.

Posted by: poguesmahone | July 12, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Roy makes good points.

Unfortunately, what you hear from the organization is that "we are a 121-point team."

That's fine and dandy.

You're also a team that went out in the first round two of the last three seasons, and this group has won just one playoff series in that time (barely).

Think fast ... how many points did the Flyers have last season?

Don't know it, probably. Neither do I. Hate 'em anyway.

Think fast ... how far did the Flyers advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs?

Yeah, you don't need to look that up.

And you wouldn't need a front office to remind you.

Posted by: writered21 | July 12, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

RoyHobbs, The Caps have lost 7 game 7's at home now. Yes, that is an NHL record. I was at all of them. The team with the next most game 7 losses is the Red Wings. They have 6, but they have 16 game 7 wins at home. This is why so many of us think GMGM is not a good general manager. Bruce is also not cup material. Philly and Montreal were very beatable. GMGM has too many guys like Flush, Semin, Green, and Fehr on the roster. No gravel in their guts at all. Ted's act is getting old. This team needs to grow a backbone.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | July 14, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

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