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Stogie Exclusive: Nats Rebuff Cigar Night Proposal

30 Jun 2006

On June 8, Patrick and I sent a proposal to Carleen Martin, director of marketing and promotions for the Washington Nationals, outlining a plan to designate a number of seats in the upper level of RFK Stadium for an upcoming home game as “cigar friendly”. Specifically, we propositioned the Nats to sell premium-priced tickets for an established cigar section where patrons would be able to enjoy stogies while watching a live baseball game.

Ms. Martin informed us yesterday that while the proposal – which can be read in its entirety by clicking here – may be reconsidered next year, the Nationals are going to take a pass on a Cigar Night this season.

Rebuffing a sure-fire, win-win marketing strategy like our proposed cigar event provides some insight into why Ms. Martin’s department is having such a hard time getting butts in RFK seats since the franchise moved from Montreal. According to ESPN, this year the Nats rank a lowly 17th in home attendance, despite playing in one of the biggest facilities – and one of the largest markets – in the majors. And just take a look at all the empty seats in the picture above, which was snapped by yours truly at a Saturday night game this year (perfect weather, plus it was free hat night).

The fact is, our unique and creative marketing technique would undoubtedly (1) boost attendance in the sparsely-populated upper-level of RFK, (2) increase revenue for the team via higher-priced tickets that otherwise would not be purchased, and (3) improve Nationals fans’ experience at the ballpark.

As our proposal outlines, there is an indisputable demand for cigar friendly sections at major league ballparks. The expansion of the stogie lifestyle into mainstream facilities, despite the advance of smoking bans across the nation, is evident in the highly-popular cigar sections at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park, the Tampa Bay Devil Ray’s Tropicana Field, and the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park.

Additionally, Patrick and I graciously offered to use our website and extensive DC cigar contacts to help promote the potential event. Specifically, John Sullivan – manager of the JR Cigar store at 17th and L Streets, NW – kindly agreed to provide patrons who purchase tickets to the section through the Nats box office with free cigars from his store, as well as a humidor and subscriptions of Cigar Magazine to raffle during the game. (Next time you pay JR a visit, be sure to thank John.)

And we even discussed in the proposal how, if the proper section were chosen, cigar smoke wouldn’t be a “bother” to other fans.

But, at least for now, the Nationals have declined to implement what would certainly be a successful marketing tool. Looks like team management would rather have no fans in their upper deck than a section of enthusiastic, courteous, and contented Stogie Guys.

Note to our readers: If you’re interested in making Cigar Night at RFK Memorial Stadium for a Nationals home game possible, please consider signing this online petition. Thanks in advance.

-Patrick A


10 Responses to “Stogie Exclusive: Nats Rebuff Cigar Night Proposal”

  1. Todd Friday, June 30, 2006 at 10:34 am #

    This is a great idea. Everyone really should sign the petition.

  2. Jeffrey Friday, June 30, 2006 at 2:24 pm #

    Hey guys,

    Great job you did on putting this together. Sorry that it didn't come off.

    I've posted an article about you effort with a link back and a link to your online petition over at Cigar Envy. I hope that you can convince the Nats management to see the error of their ways.

    Keep me posted. If the Nats put something together next season I'll make a special trip to Washington to enjoy a celebratory cigar with you.

  3. Jerry Friday, June 30, 2006 at 3:13 pm #

    Lets face it…the novelty of the Nats is over until their new stadium is built and thats when attendence will spike only to come down the following season. What the Nats need to do is WIN.

    Great idea though…as a season ticket holder I’ll be happy to sign the petition and the will help in anyway it can.

  4. Patrick A Friday, June 30, 2006 at 9:38 pm #

    Thanks for all your support, guys. We promise to keep on keepin’ on…

  5. Test Friday, March 30, 2007 at 2:32 am #



Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. The Stogie Guys » Blog Archive » Stogie News: More Baseball and Cigars - Monday, December 18, 2006

    […] And while you may be tired of our rantings about baseball, cigars, and the Washington Nationals’ apparent indifference to having half their stadiums’ seats remain empty (even though a plan to put paying customers in some of those seats already exists), I am going to harp on this issue some more with the promise that – barring something extraordinary – it will be the last time for a while. […]

  2. The Stogie Guys » Blog Archive » Stogie News: Cigar Bars at MLB Parks Successful - Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    […] In my June 30 post announcing the Washington Nationals rebuffed our proposal to create a temporary cigar section at RFK Stadium, I argued there is an “indisputable demand for cigar friendly sections at major league ballparks.” […]

  3. The Stogie Guys » Blog Archive » Stogie Guys Friday Sampler XIII - Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    […] 4) The Pittsburgh Pirates just announced they are promoting to vice president the man responsible for creating and marketing the Montecristo Club at PNC Ballpark. Cigars and baseball…Why didn’t we think of that? […]

  4. The Stogie Guys » Blog Archive » Stogie News: PNC Park’s Montecristo Club Closes - Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    […] We’ve praised the Montecristo Club at PNC Park – the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates – in previous articles and even mentioned it in our proposal to the Washington Nationals for a cigar night at RFK stadium. (That proposal subsequently was shot down by the Nationals promotions office despite the tens of thousands of empty seats most nights at RFK. Maybe that lackluster mentality explains their lack of a winning team.) […]

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