The Washington Times - March 4, 2009, 12:04PM

Teams everywhere are getting more creative than ever when it comes to selling tickets. All over sports, we’re seeing deep discounts, creative packages and some fairly impressive giveaways.

How about this one from the Wizards? For $99, you get two seats on The Hill to the upcoming games against the Magic, Cavaliers and Heat, PLUS a Gilbert Arenas throwback Zephyrs jersey like the one worn by the team a couple weeks ago. For $199, you get the jersey plus two tickets to games against the Hornets, Kings and Cavaliers.

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Is this a good deal? Well, let’s do some math. Not including fees, tickets on “The Hill” are usually $20 a piece, so it would cost $120 to attend those three games. Jersey prices at NBA.com start at about $45. So the $99 deal saves you a good bit of money, and even if you’re not interested in the jersey you’re saving about $20. It’s worth pointing out, however, that if you don’t mind sitting waaaay up top, you can get a ticket for $11. That comes out to $66 for the tickets, which is less than the deal. If you’re not interested in the jersey, you’re better off buying tickets separate from the package.

If you go with the $199 package, you’re saving quite a bit of money. The cheapest face value ticket for club or lower level is $88, so for 6 tickets you’d be spending $528. If you really want to attend those three games, the package seems like the way to go.

To the Wizards credit, all of the games in the two packages are against good teams, except for the one game versus the lowly Kings. But to really know if you’re “saving” money, it’s worth asking yourself whether you’d consider attending all three of these games if the team hadn’t presented a package deal. The average fan, for instance, might have looked at the Cavs game to see LeBron, but never would have considered attending all three. So while these tickets are being discounted in price, its worth it for the team because they might have otherwise gone unsold.

Getting a fan in for more than one game is a strategy that teams often employ to translate single-game sales into season tickets. The belief is that the more a team can get a person into the building to experience a game, the more likely that person is to consider buying more tickets down the road.

- Tim Lemke