Capitals fans weren’t happy about the new white netting at Verizon Center on Monday night. By Tuesday afternoon, the team heard those complaints, evaluated the situation and decided to return to the black netting that had been in place since 2002.
“We decided to go down and look at it like we said we would,” said Kurt Kehl, Monumental Sports & Entertainment spokesman. “Comcast SportsNet and the fans both agreed – it wasn’t acceptable.”
Fans complained of headaches and generally not being able to see the game through the white netting, which was supposed to make it easier to see the puck. Owner Ted Leonsis, who told Drew Bray of Annapolis in an email sent at 5:58 a.m. Tuesday that he was “on it,” admitted the mistake on his blog.
“We took a closer look at the Verizon Center protective netting today, and it clearly isn’t what we had anticipated. It hinders the fan experience and it is not an asset to our local rights holder, Comcast SportsNet,” Leonsis wrote. “We were attempting to improve the arena and television viewing experience, but we fell short of that mark.”
The collaborative choice to go back to black was also made by CSN.
“After seeing the white netting in place at Verizon Center, the network feels that it obstructs with end-zone camera positions more than the previous material,” CSN spokesman Brian Potter said via email. “Our goal is to provide the clearest picture possible from all angles, so we will work with the team to identify the best material for spectators and viewers.”
Friday when the Caps return to face the Sabres, the black nets will be back in place.
“We’ll chalk it up as a preseason experiment gone awry,” Kehl said.
This move is going over well among Caps fans, especially those season-ticket-holders adversely affected by the white netting.
“I said last night that if this was just a ‘preseason experiment’ then I have little issue with it, but if those nets were left up all season I’d have a real problem with it,” said Tom Mowbray, 34, of Alexandria. “They obviously didn’t work, and I’m glad the Caps are willing to accept that and end the white net experiment.”
Said Glenn Dayoan, 51, of Manassas: “It’s great to see that the Capitals organization listens to it’s fans and takes seriously the comments that were made about the white netting. What’s more important, is the quick action taken by the team in dealing with the issue at hand. This is why I am a Capitals fan.”