- The Washington Times - Friday, February 11, 2005

The Washington Nationals yesterday sold more than 107,000 tickets in the first day of partial-season sales but not without some early technical difficulties.

Soon after sales began at 12:01 a.m., throngs of fans searching for seats jammed up Ticketmaster’s online ordering system for about two hours. At times the system showed large blocks of seats at RFK Stadium unavailable for purchase.

The issue stemmed primarily from users holding as many as 16 seats in their online shopping carts while searching for other seating options and then ultimately buying far fewer seats. The additional demand prevented some fans from being able to complete their ticket orders.

Nationals executives are now working with Ticketmaster to establish smaller limits on the number of tickets fans can hold while still shopping or decrease the amount of time seats can be held without paying for them. With the initial wave over, however, the team does not expect system overloads to be a continuing issue.

“This was not unlike any major sporting event or concert where that first burst of demand is very intense,” said David Cope, Nationals vice president of sales and marketing. “You also have some people who have grown very savvy in using the ticketing system and doing things like partial-pays to extend the time they can hold onto seats. We’re now working with our tech people to make this as equitable as possible.”

The 107,000 tickets sold yesterday equates to more than 1,300 full-season equivalents, which pushes the Nationals’ total in that category to more than 19,000.

But the team expects the season-ticket sales total to dip slightly as some outstanding balances on full-season tickets will go unpaid because of fans who opt to shift back down to a partial-season commitment. Such a situation is common in sports ticketing.

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