Have you ever wanted to be a Capitals season ticket holder? Do you want to be at all of the games, especially the ones that everyone will remember ten, twenty, or more years from now? Imagine games like Ovi’s 500th goal, his 600th goal, his 1,000th point. How about the Banner Raising game, the Stanley Cup Finals games, the outdoor games in 2015 and 2018, and (my personal favorite) Game 6 against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Finals to get the Caps back into that series?
The best way to guarantee that is with season tickets, but is it worth it? I became a season ticket holder not long after I moved to the DMV and for me it has been worth it. It was even worth it in the 2013-14 season when the Adam Oates experiment failed and failed miserably in the second half of that season.
When I first moved to the DMV in 2009, after 19 years of living far away from live NHL games, getting season tickets was something that I wanted to do, but never imagined that I would actually be able to do. I knew that I could get into a lot of games cheaply by buying last minute tickets on the secondary market, but I also knew that it wasn’t an option for the really good games and especially playoff games. I remembered watching the three overtime playoff game between the Caps and the Rangers in 2012 in a sports bar with friends and I wished that I could have been there (despite the outcome).
When I first called the Caps about season tickets, I was told that there was a long waiting list. I joined the list, put in my seat deposit and was able to get two season tickets in the summer of 2012. The seats were behind the net where the Cap shot twice, in the second to last row and I happily took them. I bought two additional tickets the following season, moved to one of the corner sections the year after and we have remained in those seats for the past five years. I don’t have any regrets about becoming a season ticket holder or renewing my seats every season since.
While having season tickets is not something for everyone, nearly everyone that I know renews their tickets each year. The benefits go beyond being able to go to the games and watch arguably the NHL’s greatest goal scorer ever. One of the benefits least spoken about is getting to sit in a section where you get to know a lot of the people around you. I tell people that it is like going to Cheers (“where everyone knows your name”) to watch the game, but you are actually at the arena, not just a sports bar. You can go by yourself to the game, but most of the time you are still surrounded by people that you know. Many season ticket holders develop friendships with the people that sit around them and keep in contact once the season is over. After the Capitals lost Game 2 in the first round last season against Columbus, a group of us stuck around to talk, because we didn’t know if there was going to be a Game 5 and if we would see each other until the preseason games in September.
There are other great advantages to being a season ticket holder, including the annual meet the team party (the best ones are at Six Flags); the Chalk Talks where different people involved with the Caps or the NHL come to speak and answer questions (John Walton, Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin are always good); summer skating sessions at MedStar Capitals Iceplex; a designated representative to keep you informed about upcoming events or to help when you have questions or if want to buy extra tickets for games (which you can buy for most games at the season ticket holder cost); annual gifts that are not available to the public; and much more.
Two of my most memorable season ticket holder experiences were being able to skate on the 2015 Winter Classic rink at Nationals Park a few days after the game and being selected to participate in the Jerseys Off Our Backs ceremony after the last regular season home game of the 2017 season. While the odds of being selected for Jerseys Off Our Backs are long, nearly all of the participants are season tickets holders that are randomly selected.
Another advantage to season tickets is the lower prices that season ticket holders are charged. When there is an important or high-demand game, the season ticket holder price will almost certainly be lower (in many cases far lower) than the cost that non-season ticket holders are paying. Think about the cost of second round playoff games against Pittsburgh for the past three seasons, the Eastern Conference Finals games against Tampa Bay, the Banner Raising Night game against Boston, the 2015 Winter Classic at Nationals Park, and, most notably, the two home games in the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals against Vegas. There were a lot of complaints about the secondary market ticket prices and how average fans were being priced out. Full season ticket holders were paying a fraction of the cost for their tickets compared to what non-season ticket holders were paying for tickets on the secondary market.
All of that being said, being a full season ticket holder is not necessarily for everyone. You really need to enjoy going to games (and a lot of them). You will see some duds, but you will also be there for some really memorable ones.
If you don’t like going to most or all of the games, there is always the option to find other people to share your tickets with. If neither of those is a good option, you will need to be comfortable with selling tickets for a decent number of games to friends or on the secondary market. Season ticket holders do have the option to list their tickets on the Caps’ website through TicketExchange and there is discounted commission of five percent of the sales price if they sell. Selling through TicketExchange is a relatively easy and hands off process and you don’t need to do anything other than post your tickets through their system.
Even though I rarely miss home games, I do have four season tickets so that my entire family can go whenever they want. Since they do not go to most of the games, I need to sell a large number of tickets each year. Even though selling the extra tickets does require extra time, and effort to make sure that they do not go to waste, it is something that I continue to be willing to do in order to keep all four of my tickets. I sell my extra tickets through a combination of friends and past ticket buyers, Craigslist and TicketExchange. I rarely have tickets that go unsold, other than tickets for preseason games.
It is important to keep in mind, that even though there are going to be games where you are going to be able to sell your extra tickets for more than what you paid (games on weekends, during the holidays, and against rivals like Pittsburgh), there are also going to be games, especially preseason and early season mid-week games against non-conference opponents, where you will likely be selling them below your cost. When you buy your tickets, you will be paying the same price for each of regular season games. A Saturday night Pittsburgh game during the holidays will cost you the same amount as a Monday evening game against Arizona in the third week of October and I can promise you that no one is going to be willing to pay you the same for the Arizona game as they will for the Pittsburgh game.
As would be expected, the ticket prices for the upcoming 2019-20 season have increased over the prices for this season. Below is a link to the Capitals website which shows the pricing for all of the different sections in Capital One Arena for the 2019-20 season. You may be surprised to know that in the upper deck, the prices for tickets in the sections behind the nets are more expensive than the prices for the seats in the corners. The seats in the center sections are the most expensive and the prices are also tiered by how high up your row is in your section.
Each seat does come with at least $100 in Monumental Money, which can be used for concessions and to purchase additional tickets. There is also a 12-month interest-free payment plan for those season tickets holders that choose the auto-renewal option for their season tickets.
For the playoffs, you have the right to purchase the playoff tickets for your seats and you only get charged after each playoff round for the games that were played. The playoff ticket prices are also generally well below the face value of the tickets that the Capitals sell directly to the public.
I hope that this has been helpful. Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions or you are welcome to reach out to me on Twitter at @BGant19.