"We're open for business," he said.
Ticket relocation progresses: The long process of relocating Nationals season-ticket holders to
the team's new ballpark is nearing an end.
On Friday, the Nationals will be mailing out seat assignments to
anybody who has been a season-ticket holder for at least one year
and has elected to purchase seats in the new stadium.
"We've relocated every seat by hand," Kasten
said. "This stadium is just so different from RFK in a number of ways
-- all of them good."
He estimated that of the initial group of season-ticket holders from
2005, about 80 percent will purchase a plan in 2008. Priority for seating will be given based on how long fans have been season-ticket holders. Fans who have joined for the 2008 season will
not receive their seating for about another four weeks.
Suites a slow sell: One of the reasons the club will enjoy the
new stadium is the revenue it will receive from the sale of premium
seats and suites.
Kasten told reporters that the suites were not sold out, though he
expects they will be by Opening Day. Approximately 50 percent of the available suites are sold at this point.
The team has hired additional sales people that will begin working next week to fill the park to capacity.
Purchasing a suite requires a minimum three-year commitment.
Parking and Metro update: D.C. officials continue to work with
the Nationals to establish adequate parking for the stadium. Currently, on-site parking is only guaranteed to season-ticket holders.
One solution that has been discussed is to open the parking lots at
RFK Stadium and shuttle fans to the new park. Kasten said those talks
continued to be productive, and the groups discussed using what he
called "directional assistance" to make sure the shuttles could run
without interference from rush-hour traffic.
All fans are being encouraged to take the Metro to the stadium, and
the new Navy Yard platform is expected to be ready for Opening Day.
Metro officials say that when it is fully operational, a soldout
stadium can be cleared out in 42 minutes.
More Nationals Park tidbits: Among other things, Kasten said
the new facility will have more bars and restaurants than any other
stadium he is aware of. Many of the luxury suites will feature
complimentary food and drink.
One last-minute change to the seating was made last week. The team
planned to offer a "batter's eye" box in center field that would
allow fans to look over the pitcher's shoulder. After visiting the
site, the team decided that the seats did not offer as good a view as
they hoped, and they will be moved further into left field.
Single-game tickets will go on sale in mid-February, after all the
season-ticket holders have had the opportunity to claim their seats.
The outfield walls will be 8 1/2 feet high, except for a 14-foot
wall in right-center field.
Naming rights for the new stadium have not been sold yet, though
Kasten did not rule out that happening before Opening Day. Until then,
the stadium will be referred to as Nationals Park.
Foul territory will be extremely limited in the stadium, allowing
fans to be closer to the action. Kasten chalked that up as a win for
"It's going to be a good thing for them, because they don't want
their foul balls caught," he said.