We’ve written about the Washington Nationals and their “take back the park” campaign before. Well now, a DC area sports station (106.7 The Fan, which is the Nationals flagship radio station) is starting a contest called “FU Philly”, in which they are encouraging fans to upload videos to Youtube explaining why they hate Philadelphia and tweet them to the station. The first 100 videos will receive a pair of tickets, with the best video receiving four VIP tickets.
Obviously, when you hear the phrase “FU Philly”, you really don’t think “forget you”, which is what the station is billing the contest as. The fact that the Nationals have to resort to ANOTHER program in order to try to keep Philly fans out of their stadium is pretty ridiculous. When you consider the vitriol being spewed in some of these videos, I think this promotion actually has the ability to create a dangerous atmosphere at Nationals Park.
The Nationals organization, and now, their flagship radio station, is portraying the Phillies and their fans as invaders, as enemies. It seems to me that the Nationals are turning this into less of a sporting event, and more of a declaration of war. The Nationals finished 14th out of 16 NL teams in attendance this year, and maybe the team should really start to focus on drawing fans in for more than just games against the Phillies. How pathetic would it look to have 30,000 fans there for each of the three May games against the Phillies, half of which are Phililes fans, and for the next home games a week later against the Padres and Pirates, to have 15,000 people there?
Games like the ones against the Phillies are going to pack the crowd no matter what. By focusing solely on those games, the Nationals are COMPLETELY missing the mark on how to bring fans in to Nationals Park. Even if the Nationals “take back the park” against the Phillies, the park probably won’t be close to being filled for games against less attractive teams. And at the end of the day, isn’t that the goal: a full house every night?
[h/t: DC Sports Bog]