The Wizards are in the bottom 10 of the NBA attendance rankings in the middle of a 16-24 season which has been marked by many losses, injuries to key players, and even locker room unrest.
In February, the Wizards will start sending season ticket renewals to their ticket holders. Since the 2014-15 season, the Wizards have typically raised prices across many locations. And in most of those years, the Wizards have been playoff bound as John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter have developed from young prospects into veterans in their primes.
But this season, Washington is underperforming despite being in a considerably weakened Eastern Conference. The team is also cap-tied under several max level contracts, some of whom are injured like Wall or just ineffective like Ian Mahinmi.
Ticket sales staff understand down years can happen for any franchise. And for the Wizards, they have made moves to freeze or even lower ticket prices in the past. In the 2009-10 season, the team lowered prices in part because of a 19-63 season in 2008-09, but also because of a recession that affected many people. Then from the 2010-11 through 2013-14 seasons, the Wizards guaranteed a three-year price freeze. The point of this freeze was to encourage fans to consider this as an investment into the early Wall years.
For now, the national economy appears to still be strong, but the local economy could soon be affected by the current government shutdown. And unlike the early years of the Wall Era, the Wizards can’t sell a three-year price freeze as an investment in a new era. Wall is going to earn nearly $170 million in the next four years and trading him away will be difficult to say the least. And if the Wizards do start a rebuild this season, it probably won’t be something many fans will take in with good faith if the current front office stays in place.
Capital One Arena had a major renovation this past summer and it could be used as a rationale to increase ticket prices next season, even with the Wizards not performing very well. But considering how poorly this season went, I think it’s best that the Wizards freeze or drop ticket prices for the 2019-2020 season. Even if Washington somehow turns around this season, this team as constructed won’t contend. Barring a franchise level draft pick coming to D.C. next year, there probably isn’t much to sell.
Do you believe the Wizards should drop prices next year? Let us know in the comments below.