- The Washington Times - Monday, March 7, 2005

The Washington Nationals will begin a much-anticipated sale of single-game tickets Saturday at noon, an event team officials project will add more than 100,000 tickets to their burgeoning sales total this weekend alone.

Though Nationals ticket sales for 81-, 41- and 20-game plans have surpassed 20,000 full-season equivalents, catapulting the team into the top third of major league baseball, individual game sales remain the way most fans experience the sport live. That, in turn, has heightened anticipation for the single-game tickets, particularly as most other MLB teams already have begun that portion of their sales efforts. Prices for individual Nationals tickets will range from $7 to $45 a seat.

All Nationals home games at RFK Stadium will be available Saturday with the exception of the April 14 home opener against Arizona. The club is delaying sales of tickets for that historic game until March 26. It will use the additional two weeks to offer additional seats for the game to full and partial-season ticket holders and then will determine the fairest method to distribute to the general public what’s still available after that.

“We’re still working out all the plans [for the home opener], but we want to make this as fair and equitable as possible,” said Kevin Uhlich, Nationals chief operating officer. “There’s just a ton of interest in this game and really the whole season.”

Less than 10,000 tickets to the home opener will be available for purchase after full and partial-season ticket holders make their orders. The favoritism toward fans who make the longest commitment to the team helps ensure a stable base of attendance.

Tickets to the Nationals’ April 3 exhibition charity game against the New York Mets also will go on sale Saturday. Seats will be sold through normal Ticketmaster outlets and the RFK Stadium box office.

With the strong level of full and partial-season ticket sales, nearly all seats in the lower bowl of RFK already are sold out, and the prime Diamond Box seats behind home plate are completely sold out.

Team officials project a total attendance of at least 2.5 million for the 2005 season, a total nearly equal to the Montreal Expos’ combined attendance for 2002 through 2004.

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