"The site, nationals.com/2011, was created with the aid of MLB Advanced Media and the team’s advertising and branding agency of record, Forty Forty. The intent is to create a more streamlined ticketing environment than what exists within the club’s primary online destination, nationals.com.
“The feedback that we got from fans was that the ticketing section within nationals.com wasn’t as easy to use, as simple to navigate, as they wanted,” said Andy Feffer, Nationals' chief operating officer. “That experience needed to be improved.”
A quick click over to the new site leads you to a pretty neat flash intro video showing the highlights of the 2010 season. Set to a sound track that makes you feel you're about to go battle, the video shows snippits of packed crowds and enthused fans, something we all know hasn't exactly been commonplace at Nats games. Familiar stars like Josh Willingham, Ryan Zimmerman, Ivan Rodriguez and Drew Storen play a center role in the two minute clip. Surprisingly though, Stephen Strasburg is nowhere to be found in the video. This is obviously no accident, as the hurler is set to miss most, if not all of the 2011 season. But even so, he is the face of the franchise regardless of whether or not he will pitch this season. Did the Nats just think that fans seeing him would remind them that he wont be pitching this year, causing them to not buy tickets? Or were they worried about false advertising?
Strange. I would think seeing his highlights would make me want to get out to the park more, even if he's not pitching.
The site is pretty basic, laying out the ways fans can buy tickets in a clear and concise manor. While it may seem like a simple move to install a new microsite, the Nationals need to find SOME way to boost not only ticket sales but attendance. If you recall, the Nationals finished 2010 with a whimper. While the club played poorly on the field, the fans showed up in record low numbers. The Nats set single-game record for low attendance three separate times in 2010, quite a feat considering the excitement around Stephen Strasburg's debut.
It's interesting to look at how much transformation has happened since former team president Stan Kasten stepped down in late September. At the time, his departure was thought to be a result of the stubbornness of owner Ted Lerner to spend money and make dynamic changes. However, since Kasten has left, the Nationals signed by far their biggest contract in franchise history, redesigned the clubs uniform and marketing strategy, and now have launched a dynamic new site aimed at boosting the fan base.