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SB Nation NBA Reacts Week 2: Wizards fan confidence increases, want improved concessions and merchandise options at Capital One Arena

Here is the second week of survey results from our Wizards survey which includes your opinions on what will get you to spend more at Capital One Arena.

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards
Things are going well for the Washington Wizards at the moment!
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Thank you for your input in our weekly SB Nation NBA Reacts survey results. The link to the national results is below, and you can also find a link to sign up below if you haven’t already!

Wizards results: Nearly 90 percent of fans are confident in the team

SB Nation

Our survey this week ran from last Monday to Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, when the Wizards had a 2-1 record. I anticipated seeing fan confidence stay flat from 72 percent last week.

But I was wrong, at least on the surface. We had around 150 total responses (sorry bosses, the PEOPLE DEMAND ME TO GIVE CONTEXT!) to our survey, a much smaller sample size than the over 300 we had last week. That’s a 50 percent drop off, more or less.

Still, that is a good size, and the response is clear, at least among the 89 PERCENT OF FANS WHO WERE CONFIDENT in the Wizards’ direction.

Here’s why fans were confident. And it’s for two reasons:

  • DEPTH. DEPTH! DEPTH!!! We asked people to give a response as to why they feel confident or not. The word “depth” showed up close to 50 times, “deep” another nine times, and there were multiple other keywords to the likes of “helping Beal.” This was the number one reason why fans are confident in the team right now based on the data.
  • Head Coach Wes Unseld, Jr.’s strategy is working so far. After roster depth, fans were quick to note that coaching strategy and execution is why they are more confident. There were about 30 responses mentioning Unseld by name, OR the word “coach” or “coaching” as a reason for feeling confident.

These tweets of mine came up AFTER the survey ended. But in post-game media sessions, Unseld has been quick to mention that this team has a “Next man up” mentality. Even if someone is injured, someone has to be ready to fill in. And since replacements for Rui Hachimura or Daniel Gafford have worked out well in the last couple days, it is a testament not just to the Wizards’ will to have a “next man up” philosophy, their depth is also willing them to wins they wouldn’t have earned a year ago.

While 89 percent of fans were confident in team direction, there is still 11 percent of fans who weren’t confident. Here are the top reasons:

  • Skepticism about Bradley Beal as a true NBA franchise player. This is not the same thing as his coronavirus vaccination status, which we went over last week. But there were multiple respondents thinking that they are delaying the inevitable Beal trade. One respondent wrote “In the end, at best this team is a first round exit even if we can escape the play-in round. With that said, I ultimately see Brad leaving, which makes me not confident since I know the departure will be ugly for us in what we get back, with either him on the Supermax or him on the expiring at the trade deadline.”
  • It’s too early to swing the other way — The Wizards were 2-1 at the end of the survey and it’s after one week of play. They’re 4-1 now, but again, we’re just entering the third week of play.

So you know, I voted that I was NOT CONFIDENT in the Wizards’ direction and I will continue to vote that way for at least another two weeks. The primary reason is that it’s early though the record is encouraging. It is always good to see the Wizards racing off to a great start. And the second reason why I’m not confident is because of what I wrote about in last week’s survey analysis, so I’ll leave it at that.

Wes Unseld earns a median grade of A in Wizards fans’ books!

SB Nation

Fifty-six percent of the respondents gave the head coach an “A” after just three games on the job. That percentage may have been higher if the survey ended at 12 p.m. earlier today, on Friday.

It’s notable that NO ONE gave Unseld a “D” or “F”, whether to be a contrarian or to make a point.

MVP for October 20-25: Spencer Dinwiddie

SB Nation

In three games played, Dinwiddie averaged 19 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds per game. His best performance was against the Indiana Pacers on Oct. 22 when he scored 34 points and dished 9 assists in an overtime victory. Dinwiddie also made 8-of-15 three-pointers in that timeframe.

The runner-up for MVP was Montrezl Harrell with 22 percent, followed by Kyle Kuzma with 12 percent.

Montrezl Harrell was the Wizards’ “DAWG” of the Week!”

SB Nation

I asked our editors Kevin Broom and Diamond Holton to suggest some questions for this week’s and future surveys. Diamond suggested this award, which will be given to the player who shows the most grit. We didn’t define what “DAWG” meant in a basketball fan sense, but it often means the player who shows the most tenacity on both ends of the floor, often on defense, even if he (or she of this were a Mystics award_ wasn’t the MVP. Of the choices listed, it was clear that Harrell was the runaway winner with 70 percent of the vote.

The reserve post averaged 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in the Wizards’ first three games. Dinwiddie was second with 12 percent, followed Daniel Gafford and Kyle Kuzma with 7 percent each.

This video of Harrell’s highlights against the Toronto Raptors in his season debut shows more than enough of his hustle on both ends of the floor.

More results: Cheaper prices, new designs will get fans to buy more merchandise at Capital One Arena

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal’s jersey hasn’t changed very much in aesthetics since he started playing.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Last weekend, I shared the results of a survey showing findings that Wizards fans were among the NBA’s cheapest when they were in the arena. Okay, I know the survey’s PR team would rather say that Wizards fans are “frugal,” but I’m willing to be blunter on it.

I wrote some possible anecdotes on why fans could be “cheap,” but perhaps I could get you, the PEOPLE, to give some suggestions on what could be done to increase fan spending at Capital One Arena. There were three choices in the survey, and here were your responses:

  • 60 percent of you would buy more merchandise if there was cheaper apparel that matches prices online. This is a good point. The Team Store is “fueled by Fanatics.” And from looking at Fanatics, it seems to have a near monopoly on ALL official merchandise (The NBA and WNBA Store AND the Monumental Sports fan shop is just a white-labeled Fanatics shop) unless I buy from DICK’s Sporting Goods or Nike. Wouldn’t it make sense to buy a Wizards jersey or shirt from the team store fueled by Fanatics for the SAME PRICE as Fanatics online?
  • 56 percent of you want new designs of Wizards jerseys/apparel. The jerseys are good-looking in my opinion. But Beal is the only player available and his jersey was only available in the same design for the last decade, except for a Nike Swoosh or a Jumpman mark on the right shoulder in recent season, or a GEICO patch on the left shoulder from 2018-21. You would think Nike would want EVERY team to have an ever-changing alternate jersey to fuel jersey sales annually, whether it’s the Wizards, the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks, or the bally-hooed Los Angeles Lakers, right?
  • 20 percent of you want more variety of players on jerseys — It isn’t terribly difficult to find Wizards merchandise in retail stores. But the only player available is Beal (or in some cases, heavily discounted John Wall ones). Fans don’t want to spend $130 for a Beal jersey that they already bought a decade ago (or five years ago if they want a Nike jersey) OR $140 for a jersey for ANY player they want while waiting several weeks! I was able to buy a Tomas Satoransky Nike jersey at ESA in 2019 during the Mystics’ championship season, so maybe they should offer more jerseys for a wide variety of role players all season long, both at the arena and local retail stores.

Cheaper alcoholic beverages and more locally based vendors at Capital One Arena could help increase concession sales

New York Knicks v Washington Wizards
Let’s hope fans don’t spend $10 for a cup of Bud Light, right?
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Wizards fans aren’t just cheap with their merchandise purchases. They’re also just as stingy at the concession stand compared to the rest of the NBA’s fanbases. I don’t blame them, because D.C. is a great town for foodies and those who just want a cheap eat before a game. $10 for a Bud Light? $15 for a burger and fries that came out of a Costco multipack that cost $8 at the warehouse? Come on now!

We didn’t get a runaway winner on what would increase BF readers’ food buying habits at the arenas, but there was significant traction at a number of areas:

  • 39 percent want cheaper alcoholic beverages — Happy hours to make that $10 Bud Light can or cup $8 won’t change most fans, since we’ve seen it before. Maybe it’s better to drop it by half! After all, the Belgian bosses of ABInBev can foot the bill for these discounts, right?
  • 38 percent want more local vendors at the concession stands — Concession stands are often cookie-cutter processed food that we can buy at Giant for 25 percent of the price. If prices aren’t going down much, maybe they could at least give local food vendors a shot across an entire level, like the 100s, since EVERYONE has to be there at some point. I think fans would be more willing to spend $13 for a local taco stand’s tacos at the arena than a random knock-off, assuming that’s what ended up in Matt Modderno’s tummy last night.
  • 32 percent want more variety of food across the arena — We don’t all want hot dogs broiled from water (I’ve done that myself so I wouldn’t fry them) or hamburgers from a microwave (I’ve done that with the multi-pack I bought from Costco) at a Wizards game. If fans want some Korean bibimbap bowls, let the people have them! Same with Indian dosas or Central American pupusas, all staples among various communities in the DMV. This plays into the last point about having local vendors being at a concession stand. I get it if a corporate food giant like Aramark doesn’t think that it can make good, authentic bibimbaps, dosas or pupusas by the internal staff. That’s fine. The DMV is as diverse of an area as any, so let the locals do it and get their fair share of profits along the way! As for me broiling hotdogs or microwaving hamburgers, well, I did it to save time once or twice!
  • 32 percent want more all-you-can-eat seats — There are more seats at Capital One Arena that offer all-inclusive food and drink. However, they are often at premium price points. Perhaps there should be a general 100 section (and a 400 section which I think was done before) area offering a similar option. You don’t have to offer the aforementioned bibimbaps, dosas and pupusas, in my opinion. But that’s just me.
  • 15 percent want more big-name brand vendors — I haven’t been to a game since the pandemic, but before there was a Chick-Fil-A vendor walking across the hall. People are a bit overly enthusiastic to get a chicken sandwich from him or her. Papa John’s has historically had a stand. Why not add McDonald’s, or Taco Bell to the mix? People like familiarity when it comes to food.

That’s all I have from this week’s survey. We’ll have a post next week so you can fill in your answers for NEXT WEEK’s SB NATION NBA REACTS SURVEY, JUST FOR WASHINGTON WIZARDS FANS!

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